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Polar Express - Wow, what a stinker!

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Polar Express - Wow, what a stinker!

Old 11-21-05, 05:40 PM
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Polar Express - Wow, what a stinker!

I have to say right off that I'm a big fan of sappy Christmas movies (and so are my kids). We were watching it together late last week and, boy does it stink!

My kids practically had nightmares over the look of the characters - they look like zombie mannequins on prozac! The main boy's voice is fine, but you has no appeal, the elves are creepy (REALLY creepy), and the nerdy kid's voice (although he's voiced by a very funny character actor that I always enjoy) was obviously not a child's. And would it be too much to ask for more than one adult voice (Tom Hanks)? How many voices did he do? At least three (Santa, Homeless Ghost, and Dad).

But I have to be honest, for only the second time ever, I missed part of the movie when I fell asleep for about 20 minutes. I fell asleep with a full room of kids and a wife watching it, and woke up to one daughter left, looking in horror at the screen.

Santa isn't a "warm" character, the kids are robots, and the whole thing was just plain scary (not in a good way). Oh, and the story is obviously based on a 10 page book, stretched to 90 minutes. The movie might have been watchable if it had real actors, but I have to say, I haven't seen many worse movies...
Old 11-21-05, 05:46 PM
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Yo mama.
Old 11-21-05, 06:03 PM
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ok, then!
Old 11-21-05, 06:13 PM
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Got to say I have zero interest in seeing this. The previews just made it look creepy and synthetic, like a Thomas Kincaid painting come to life. Which is my worst nightmare.
Old 11-21-05, 06:24 PM
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I honestly had high hopes (however, that's different than "it looked good to me") for it. But you're exactly right - it's like watching the President Lincoln animatronic at Disneyland on acid. If anyone has seen the old Dreamcast game Ready to Rumble, and can remember, the had that "Let's get ready to rummmmblllle!" guy - his eyes rolling back into his head and looking like your worst nightmare come true. It reminded me of that, but scarier. There was really nothing endearing or cute about this movie - not even my 11 year old thought so. I wonder if any real small kids enjoyed it...

And Filmmaker, I just talked to my mama and she hated it too...
Old 11-21-05, 06:28 PM
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I got precisely the same feeling from the trailer. I haven't seen the film, but everything about it seems horrendously misplaced. It looks like Martians attempting to emulate the spirit of Christmas.
Old 11-21-05, 06:33 PM
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It's all the eyes - the animation is good, and state of the art, but BECAUSE it is so good, the eyes are really lifeless.
Old 11-21-05, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by modfather
I have to say right off that I'm a big fan of sappy Christmas movies....

Santa isn't a "warm" character, the kids are robots, and the whole thing was just plain scary (not in a good way).

Same exact opinion. Most good classic children's stories and fairytales have a dark edge to them that lends some weight to the whole thing, but the "dark edge" in this one was just cold and odd and incredibly un-Christmas-y. The hobo on the roof of the train gave off the vibe (to me, at least) of a truly creepy pedophile. And then these weird scenes were often followed by very schmaltzy, sugary-sweet scenes. Just an odd movie that I would never have any desire to revisit, ESPECIALLY around Christmastime.
Old 11-21-05, 07:09 PM
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I saw this in 3d so that may have helped, but I absolutely loved it when I saw it. And I don't even care for Christmas schmaltz.
Old 11-21-05, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ky-Fi
Same exact opinion. Most good classic children's stories and fairytales have a dark edge to them that lends some weight to the whole thing, but the "dark edge" in this one was just cold and odd and incredibly un-Christmas-y. The hobo on the roof of the train gave off the vibe (to me, at least) of a truly creepy pedophile. And then these weird scenes were often followed by very schmaltzy, sugary-sweet scenes. Just an odd movie that I would never have any desire to revisit, ESPECIALLY around Christmastime.
Y'know what? I forgot all about the just spine-tingling creepies thing in the film: this movie reeked of pedophile-like undertones. Again, everyone thought it was weird that the conductor was picking up kids and "talking them into" getting on the train. Then there's a scene where he takes one girl away from all the other kids. I can just hear the characters now: "Mommy, Daddy, I went on a train with a stranger who asked me to - he even punched my ticket! Then Santa gave me a BIG present!" How does a movie this bad get made?

Last edited by modfather; 11-21-05 at 07:21 PM.
Old 11-21-05, 07:37 PM
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Gotta agree with the OP. I haven't seen this, but *all* the ads just look horribly creepy. I can't fathom watching even a minute of this.

I'll watch the (original) Grinch and the Charlie Brown Christmas every year, but, this, *shudder*
Old 11-21-05, 07:45 PM
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Do any of you notice that the characters in much better CGI films such as Toy Stoy series or Shrek series have alot more reassuring warmth and personnality to them, even though they are CGI creations?

For some reason the more "realistic" a CGI face is, the more creepy and unnatural it looks. I guess it's all down to how a person's brain processes the image of a human face; when we see the more abstract faces of characters in Shrek , our brain breaks down the image much more easily since we are less worried about the more cartoony looking faces.

But when we see photo realistic images of CGI faces modelled much more closely on real people's faces, it's alot more unnerving and uncomfortable. The brain finds it harder to relate to a photo-realistic CGI face and it's much more harder to register any warmth or humanity in the glassy, lifeless eyes and such.

Last edited by Cancer Man; 11-21-05 at 07:54 PM.
Old 11-21-05, 08:08 PM
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I had no interest in seeing the movie until now.
Old 11-21-05, 08:27 PM
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I thought it was pretty good.
Old 11-21-05, 08:41 PM
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I liked it, but I saw it in IMAX 3-D and really failed to see the appeal of it in any other format. In short, had I seen it the same way as the OP, I might have a similar opinion.
Old 11-21-05, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra Disc
Got to say I have zero interest in seeing this. The previews just made it look creepy and synthetic, like a Thomas Kincaid painting come to life. Which is my worst nightmare.
Old 11-21-05, 09:52 PM
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If they had filmed it live-action I would definitely check it out.
Old 11-21-05, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra Disc
like a Thomas Kincaid painting come to life. Which is my worst nightmare.
Just turn on every light in the house. That's what Kincaid would do.
Old 11-22-05, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by modfather
My kids practically had nightmares over the look of the characters - they look like zombie mannequins on prozac! The main boy's voice is fine, but you has no appeal, the elves are creepy (REALLY creepy), and the nerdy kid's voice (although he's voiced by a very funny character actor that I always enjoy) was obviously not a child's. And would it be too much to ask for more than one adult voice (Tom Hanks)? How many voices did he do? At least three (Santa, Homeless Ghost, and Dad).
All the kids were voiced by adults. Even the main boy was yet another character voiced by Tom Hanks.

Admit it, you're creeped out even more now, aren't you?
Old 11-22-05, 12:34 AM
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I've never wanted to see this either. Not just that it looks creepy, but the whole premise didn't strike me as being very good.

I may rent this next halloween, though.
Old 11-22-05, 12:36 AM
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Wasn't the style of the movie made to emulate the paintings in teh original book? That might explain it.
Old 11-22-05, 01:09 AM
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Wow you guys are actually making me want to check this out now, I'm all for an unintentionally creepy mainstreamy X-mas movie.
Old 11-22-05, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Cancer Man
Do any of you notice that the characters in much better CGI films such as Toy Stoy series or Shrek series have alot more reassuring warmth and personnality to them, even though they are CGI creations?

For some reason the more "realistic" a CGI face is, the more creepy and unnatural it looks. I guess it's all down to how a person's brain processes the image of a human face; when we see the more abstract faces of characters in Shrek , our brain breaks down the image much more easily since we are less worried about the more cartoony looking faces.

But when we see photo realistic images of CGI faces modelled much more closely on real people's faces, it's alot more unnerving and uncomfortable. The brain finds it harder to relate to a photo-realistic CGI face and it's much more harder to register any warmth or humanity in the glassy, lifeless eyes and such.

I think its because CGI isn't quite as realistic as movie studios would like you to believe. It's much easier to believe in a CGI ogre than it is to believe in CGI fire. Throw people into the mix and you're just asking for it. We're still a good 20 years away from good CGI people.
Old 11-22-05, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Artman
If they had filmed it live-action I would definitely check it out.
Well, the problem with that is that there are some sequences that couldn't be done in live-action.

I want to see the manic-depressive sequel where they also go to the South Pole. All aboard the Bi-Polar Express!
Old 11-22-05, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Drexl
Well, the problem with that is that there are some sequences that couldn't be done in live-action.

I want to see the manic-depressive sequel where they also go to the South Pole. All aboard the Bi-Polar Express!

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