Story by: Jack Foley
GROUND-breaking Christmas tale, The Polar Express, failed to
take the top spot at the US Box Office at the weekend, following
the continued success of the latest Disney/Pixar adventure, The
The animated super-hero tale took $51m (£27.4m) over the
weekend (from November 12-14, 2004), compared to the Express'
The impressive Incredibles haul means that Pixar's two-week total
has now risen to $144m (£77.5m).
The Polar Express is Warner Bros multi-million entry into the
Christmas genre, which boasts state-of-the-art animation, known
as performance capture.
It features Tom Hanks in five roles, and is based on the beloved
children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.
The opening will come as a disappointment to Warner Bros execs,
who splashed out in excess of $150 million on the children's adventure.
The film did, however, win over the majority of the critics,
who found plenty to praise.
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The Hollywood Reporter,
for instance, wrote that 'the film is not sheer wizardry; it also
While the Chicago Sun-Times opined that 'there's
a deeper, shivery tone, instead of the mindless jolliness of the
usual Christmas movie'.
And the Globe and Mail wrote that 'I loved watching
this movie; I loved even more watching children hugging mothers
watching this movie'.
On a more negative note, Newsday wrote that
'watching the dead-eyed population of Polar Express and their
supposedly 'natural' movements made me think more of Gollum in
The Lord of the Rings than
anything associated with Christmas.
While Village Voice noted that 'unnervingly smooth, mouths moving
in strange, even frightening formations, the Polar people are
the least convincing things on-screen, glaring impostors amid
the otherwise painstakingly rendered scenery'.
But returning to the positives, the New York Post
stated that 'devoid of 21st-century irony, this visually stunning,
action-packed yuletide treat is sweet and, yes, magical in a way
that will enchant kids and give older viewers a twinge of nostalgia'.
While the San Francisco Chronicle noted that
it is 'an enchanting, beautiful and brilliantly imagined film
that constitutes a technological breakthrough'.
And the New York Daily News concludes this round-up
with the following praise: "It's a sensation - both a milestone
in computer-animation and a likely Christmas classic."