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Moriarty Takes A Ride On THE POLAR EXPRESS In IMAX 3-D!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

This was one of the most mixed experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater.

On the one hand, I thought the film was a marvel technically. I went to the Universal Citywalk theaters where they have a massive IMAX screen. I knew that I wanted to see the film presented in 3-D. I’ve read about how they decided a year and a half ago to do a release this way, and much of the film was directed with that in mind. I can’t imagine going to see the regular flat 2-D theatrical print. It’s like the difference between seeing a film in pan-and-scan or letterboxed for scope. From the opening frames, as the snow seems to fall out into the audience, it is stunningly beautiful. The 3-D process is immersive and involving, and I would highly recommend that anyone interested in the process see it this way, or not at all. If nothing else, it’s got me incredibly eager to see what James Cameron is going to do with BATTLE ANGEL in a few years.

As far as my reaction to the film itself goes, I’m deeply conflicted. I think the painterly design of the thing can be beautiful at times, but I am still not sold on the magic of motion capture for this type of film. There’s a reason the greatest animators have always exaggerated motion and personality in their characters. By creating something larger than life, they manage to capture perfectly the things we recognize about our own behavior. There’s a wooden, doll-like quality to a lot of what we see here. Yes, the eyes are disconcerting. There also seems to be a pronounced technical problem with tongues making odd, random appearances and looking like they have minds of their own.

Beyond that, though, there’s the story. Or the lack thereof, I should say. We see that the main boy has his doubts about the existence of Santa Claus in the opening scene. Then he gets picked up by a train, whisked off to the North Pole, introduced to Santa who gives him a present, and brought home again. And, yet, somehow, this is supposed to be a fable about how belief is what’s really important. I think I’d be a lot more secure in my beliefs about Jesus if he gave me a personal guided tour of Jerusalem sometime. Seems to moot the point a bit.

What the film packs the movie with instead of character development or thematic examples is a series of rollercoaster rides. Literally. The train goes up, then races down, then rides around some wild bends, then hits an icy lake, then rolls backwards, and on and on and on. It’s like one big giant soulless Disney theme park ride. There’s no denying that there is a visceral thrill to sitting in that IMAX theater with the glasses on. The sense of motion is astounding and quite persuasive. But throughout the entire first 2/3 of the film, I kept waiting for the actual movie to begin. I kept waiting for them to get past all the show-offy visual thrills so we could see something... anything... that demonstrated any sort of heart. When the film does finally reach the North Pole, it seems like the perfect opportunity to settle down and bring it all together with some emotional moments.

Instead, that’s about the time Robert Zemeckis goes totally barking shithouse-rat crazy. What kind of wrong-headed loony would decide to stage the North Pole as a Leni Riefenstahl inspired rally complete with the creepiest version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” ever as the soundtrack? Thanks for stripping me of one of my holiday memories forever, Mr. Z. I’m now convinced that Santa is running a fascist dictatorship in which he oppresses the Jewish elves and randomly selects children to traumatize close-up every year before he sets off on his wild ride of horror across the skies of the world.

I can see how Tom Hanks would be attracted to a project like this. As an actor, there must be a great liberation to the notion that you can play any part using this technology, and I applaud the effort he obviously put into this. Of course, I’m not sure why half the characters have to look like Tom Hanks when the point is that you can play anyone or anything, but that gets back to the design issues I brought up earlier, and there’s such a dearth of good ideas on display here that nitpicking any particular one seems like overkill. Hanks meant well, and I don’t hold his excitement about the new freedoms this affords him against him at all.

I think all of my scorn and irritation should be reserved for Robert Zemeckis, a filmmaker I used to hold in the highest possible regard. I was there for you at the very start, man. USED CARS is a favorite of mine from the moment it was released. I still rewatch it at least once a year to marvel at the brash sensibility of it and the economy of storytelling in the way it’s built. I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND is, I think, underrated. I like the cast, I like the energy of it, and I think it’s one of the best films ever made about the mania that surrounds any pop icon at the peak of their popularity. ROMANCING THE STONE is, hands-down, the best RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ripoff ever made, and that’s saying something considering how many there were. It had a sense of humor all its own, and it made great use of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner at the exact right moment. Then there are the BACK TO THE FUTURE films. The first one is probably my favorite purely commercial screenplay ever written. It’s a marvelous mousetrap, a beautifully-built machine that does everything it’s supposed to and seems effortless about it. The second film is one of the strangest, most experimental sequels ever made, and I love it for exactly that reason. And the third one is a favorite of mine because of the role you gave Christopher Lloyd, a criminally underused actor. Seeing him play a romantic lead opposite Mary Steenburgen was enough to make me forgive any familiarity that started to set in by that point. WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, DEATH BECOMES HER, CONTACT... I love each of these movies for different reasons, and I honestly used to think you could do anything you wanted, and I would follow you anywhere. But it went sour somewhere, and these days, I find your films cold, inhuman, too calculating to tolerate. It started with WHAT LIES BENEATH, an empty exercise in technology that can’t disguise the fact that there’s nothing to the script itself. CAST AWAY may be a showcase for a remarkable physical transformation, but it’s hollow, especially after Chuck makes it back to society. It’s like you didn’t have any idea what to do with Hanks aside from the shock of the weight loss. I’ve taken a lot of heat over the years for my distaste towards FORREST GUMP, but I don’t care. I’ll say it again... I think it’s mean-spirited and small and cruel. I hate the message of the film. I hate the way you punish everyone in that film who dares to want anything from life, who dares to stand up for what they want. I hate the metaphor of the feather in the wind. I hate that the movie was embraced by people who seemed to completely miss that there was any subtext to it, and it quickly became one of those bumper-sticker movies, where a line or a scene became all that anyone remembered, conveniently glossing over your barely-concealed loathing of the counterculture. And now, with POLAR EXPRESS, you’ve once again left me baffled. How can someone as smart as you obviously are take imagery that is so firmly ingrained in our heads, imagery that has been studied since the release of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, and apply it to something as beloved as Santa Claus? You call to mind Red Square and Stalin, not Kris Kringle and Christmastime. It’s as misguided a move as I’ve ever seen from a major filmmaker, and your $200 million “holiday classic” ends up being a nightmare machine wrapped in a kick-ass technical demo reel.

But, hey, if you’ve got naughty kids you want to punish this holiday season, at least POLAR EXPRESS is playing at a theater near you. Hop onboard and let the hurting begin.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 22, 2004, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Frist, bitches!

    by NapoleonDynamite

    I saw this in the 3D IMAX format ass well. I would recommend a few deep bong hits before you go, a hit of vitamin A would be even better. I agree that it's fascistic and the the message is that free thought, sketicism and doubt are evil but as pure eye candy, the IMAX version rocks out with its cock out.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a cool 3D imax movie

    by Eyegore

    I don't believe in santa clause, but I do believe in seeing some kickass imax 3D action. I'll be there this weekend.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 12:11 a.m. CST

    I thought I was a cynic...

    by austenandrews

    ...but everyone who sees a Nazi rally in that North Pole scene makes me feel like an old softie. I thought it was just off-center enough to be alien in that Willy Wonka way, which was most of the point. And of course the huge number of elves was part of the playground of scale that defined the North Pole. Personally I thought the design work was as tremendous as the technology itself. All-in-all, I found this to be a simple, astonishing flick.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Forest Gump was trash

    by Lazarus Long

    Thank you Moriarty for continuing to condemn this spiteful piece of film excrement. I'm not familiar with Winston Groom's novel, but I can't imagine it being as cruel as the film. What Zemeckis did was give the finger to intellectuals, single mothers, politically active students, anyone who DARES to use drugs, and package it with a soundtrack they know and love. All the baby boomers swallowed and asked for more, even the ones that were being subversively insulted by it. Don't try and blame it on Eric Roth's screenplay, because Zemeckis is ultimately responsible for what's on screen. I can't say enough how disgusting this film is. If this film came out this year George Bush would have won by a landslide. The idea of not questioning anything and just "going with the flow" is against everything this country was founded on. Reprehensible, and I will never fully be able to enjoy Hanks in a film with this in the back of my mind.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 12:51 a.m. CST

    You didn't like Forrest Gump?????.....THANK YOU!!!!

    by I Dunno

    Moriarty, if you were a woman I'd make love to you right now, even if you were a fat chick. Finally someone who sees that piece of shit for what it was. Like Titanic, I would have just dismissed it as a bad movie but the universal love for it only feeds my hatred. I mean for the love of Christ, it beat Pulp Fiction for best picture. Pulp Fiction. Anyway, about Polar Express, if they couldn't learn anything from Final Fantasy then they deserve to lose $200 large. Let's get the real Tom Hanks, motion capture his performance, then render those images to look as much like Tom Hanks as we can. WTF? Studio execs get paid a lot of money for thinking up shit like that. Hitchcock really needed to rise from the grave and sue Zemeckis for "What Lies Beneath" and billionaire Tom Hanks needs to stop begging those of us who work for a living to chip in for a WWII memorial. So yeah I know it's wrong but on some level I'm glad The Incredibles gave it to Polar Express sideways.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 1:07 a.m. CST

    The North Pole City definitely modelled after the Red Square in

    by George Newman

    However, I just think it's funny--not nightmarish, Mori. Can we start to try and draw in-depth connections/comparisons between Santa-christmas and Communist Russia? There has to be some political significance to getting coal in one's stocking if one is naughty....?

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 1:14 a.m. CST

    Gump Hump

    by Enphilistor

    Hmmmmm...I never saw "Gump" as wonderful, but I kinda enjoyed it. Maybe because at the time I was reading about Zen Buddism, and the movie seemed like one long exposition about living in the now with no expectations -- and about not valuing "things," but people. As for people standing up for what they want, Lt. Dan seemed to come out of it alright after his set to with God during the storm. Also, considering all the unquestioningly kissy-kiss showered on the counter-culture by Hollywood for so many years, showing a bit of it's dark side didn't bother me too much. But that's just visualization of the Cosmic All is very incomplete.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 1:19 a.m. CST

    People need to look past the surface of Forrest Gump.

    by Batutta

    I thought Forrest Gump was a simple story about a simple guy who knew what was important about life, while those around him didn't and floundered. What's wrong with giving the finger to the counterculture anyway? It's just as healthy to have a skepticism about the counterculture as it is to be skeptical of the status quo, because too often people rebel against the establishment for no other reason than that it's the cool thing to do, but don't have any real or practical ideas about how to change the world for the better. I mean, for all the hulabaloo of "The Sixties", where did it get us? Nixon, Reagan and GW Bush were all elected twice, and we're as far from living in "Peace" as we ever were.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 1:45 a.m. CST

    Pretty much what i'm expecting

    by DukeDeMondo

    The trailers i saw for this left me cold, man, fittingly enough. You're exaclty right... wahts the point of al this motion capture if everyone just looks identical to the actors? why not jsut have the actors? And yeah, it all looks a bit souless. like doll.s and not hilarious fuck-saying dolls like team america, either. ( That was also a brilliant point about belief. it's a lot easier if you don't have to, y'know BELIEVE anything. heh. nazi santas, though. thats just so demented it might work. (

  • I didn't hate the film because of its politics. If it's a well made movie it's a well made movie, regardless of whether or not you agree with its agenda. The movie sucked on an infinitly more fundamental level than that. It, like Titanic, was sappy manipulative crap that took aim at the lowest common denominator. But whatever, to each their own. I just don't want my future kids, if I have any, busting my chops for living in an age where a movie like that gets Best Picture. But this thread is about Polar whatever. I think Zemeckis and Hanks are going to quietly sweep this under the rug.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 3:31 a.m. CST

    I still say Forrest Gump is great...

    by Rupee88

    ...although I can see your points about it. I had the same feeling about Polar Express...I downloaded the first half from the newsgroups and it is pretty unwatchable and I LOVE computer animation. It's just a lame kiddie story though that offers nothing to adults. I was tempted to see it in Imax 3D, but I know it will be torture despite the great 3D, so I'll pass.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Mori's Review

    by corleone101

    I thought Mori said he was "conflicted" on his opinion of it, as a story. He then gives the most negative review of anything I have read all year - "let the torture begin"? In that sense, an odd review. Though I can understand the rant about Zemekis. Back to the Future is one of my favourite films ever, and he does seem to have of lost his way a bit, in recent years.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Yeah Well You Think The Incredibles is a Classsic Moriarty

    by BigTuna

    And I think you're overrating it terribly. So I'll check out Polar Express thank you very much.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Mori copied my review

    by farthead

    Go read my review in talkback section of Harry's Polar Express review , Morriarty pretty much copied it.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 10:01 a.m. CST

    don't get me wrong

    by farthead

    I agree with him 100%, right on Moriarty!!!

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 11:38 a.m. CST

    "Polar Express" IMAX is one of the very best films of the year

    by Krinkle

    It's darkly imaginative, riveting, warm, and gorgeous. I find it infinitely superior to the earth-bound "Incredibles" - and Moriarty is the most ego-driven critic on the net.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Mori goes Pacers on Zemeckis' ass

    by Silver Shamrock

    and it makes for a great read. I hated Contact. All that build-up for an incident that may or may not have happened to jodi foster which winds up being a matter of faith.. THAT I can live with. What I can't live with is the condescending scene at the end where James Woods confirms the 6 hours of missing time on the tape, which completely negates the entire premise of the movie, and TELLS YOU WHAT TO THINK. At that point Zemecks reveals he has no faith in his audience and robs them of the joy of connecting any of the dots themselves. Every thing he's done since then has condescend to the audience in one way or another. He gives away way too much of his movies in the trailers because he's condescending to you. This is a driect quote from him: "Americans want to know what they're going to get for their money." I saw the trailers for what lies beneath and cast away and learned every plot point, every twist and how it would end. Why see the movie?

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 2:49 p.m. CST

    I finally figured it out!

    by darth kubrick

    Never played Final Fantasy, but to me the characters look just like the creepy kids from the Silent Hill games. Eeeeeaaach.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 3:28 p.m. CST

    I hate to side with Nicole on anything, but

    by FluffyUnbound

    All the reasons you have given for disliking Gump are the best things about the film. Never did any group of people sacrifice more in the quest for "self-discovery" than the Baby Boom generation - and never did any group of people actually discover less. And it's true that after 100,000 variations on Easy Rider we were due for ONE film that considered the possibility that the counterculture experiment was ultimately a failure.

  • I remember after that film came out he was obsessed by it and mentioned it in every other review and article for a year. He was acting like it was the worst film ever made and now he seems to be downplaying how much he hated every second of it.

  • Gump, the character, stands for the conservative ideal: The good old-fashioned simplisitic American, who doesn't "get" the whole Jenny-drugs-sex thing. The fact that he is painted as a mental midget should key you all in a little to the satrical tone of the whole (I think brilliant) film. "Forrest Gump" is , as Roger Ebert said, a dream of reconciliation between the two perilously divided strands of American culture. The Forrests (who want things to stay the way they were, and who don't understand anything else) and the Jennys (who are constantly seeking something else, and running away from an imperfect past) - Zemeckis's film understands both sides of the American political idealogical argument and, as Ebert says, reconciles them. A great populist film - and hardly a conservative fantasy.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Shamrock, amen on Contact.

    by minderbinder

    I thought it was a good movie that fucked up and missed the opportunity to be a great one. I suspected the book was probably better and I was right. Having Jodie date a preacher (who's a tiny character in the book) is silly. The faith thing at the end would work, but he blows it with the blank tape thing (not to mention the guy at the hearing at the end who gives the hammiest reading ever: "you expect us to take it...on FAITH?"). What Lies Beneath was awful, not scary and no real plot, it would have only been slightly better if the trailers didn't give away that Ford was the villian. Same with Cast Away, the island stuff is great, but he gave away that he's saved, and the stuff back home is awful. I actually think Gump is a great movie and satirizes BOTH sides, I find it very funny that conservatives seem to miss the joke and take it seriously. Shit, it's a movie about an idiot who's every success happens by accident and is regarded as a genius by a moronic public. And ironically, many in the moronic real life public saw the character as a hero or a role model. I see it as a cinematic inkblot test, you'll interpret it based on what your political biases want to see (just like Team America!). I'm sure there were people who didn't get the joke with Archie Bunker as well, and were either offended or considered him a conservative hero.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 5:48 p.m. CST

    I love Forrest Gump.....and love the counter-culture

    by Shaner Jedi

    Shocking! Unlike Moriarty, I don't lock myself into little idealogical boxes.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Krinkle, you bring up some great points.

    by Shaner Jedi

    Gump is a film that treats both cultural sides as lacking something. Little Forrest is the bridge between the two. He makes the two increasingly divided cultures whole again. What a great movie.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 6:28 p.m. CST

    The elves are Nazis? "You better watch out" is creep? Come on,

    by Jarados

    Get off your high horse, Moriarty. Let me be the first to admit that if I was at the North Pole about to see Santa, I would be the first to start chanting like an excited child. And you would be, too, and you know it. I thought it was an awesome movie. But, hey, what do I know? I'm just your average moviegoer.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Cast Away is a great film that gets better with each passing yea

    by togmeister

    Zemeckis still has the magic. I don't think there are too many director's who could make the loss of a volleyball(!) so moving.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 7:35 p.m. CST

    is this appropriate? Gump?

    by BilboFett

    I'm not asking you guys whether you like or dislike Gump, or whether you agree/disagree with Mori on this; this is my question...and PLEASE do your best to be objective and answer it: Is it appropriate to give a mini-review of GUMP inside a POLAR EXPRESS review? Are we going to get a trashing of 1941 in the review of WAR OF THE WORLDS next year? Will we get a review of KING KONG that spends a significant amount of time talking about MEET THE FEEBLES? Robert Zemeckis didn't even write GUMP, nor did he write POLAR EXPRESS... so, I guess his 'choices' as a director are what's being put under the microscope? Polar Express is based on a beloved children's book, about a boy on a train and santa claus; and last time I checked, doesn't really have any commentary on politics. Forrest Gump is a period-drama about a mentally challenged man that overcomes many obstacles and does things most of us will never do. The connections are uncanny... and of course I am being sarcastic. If part of the story in GUMP was how Jenny was a lost-soul, and had a hard life, and she took drugs and slept around, then that's the story. Guess what.. she's a hippie too. If that's a right-wing slant, then real life could also be a right-wing slant, since I'm sure there were some "jennys" who slept around and took drugs during the woodstock era. I didn't see the message "all hippies were losers" in the movie AT ALL. She was one case. I suppose the writer and/or Zemeckis should've added another 30 mins to show some positive "hippie" characters to make sure they weren't being partisan? That's ridiculous, that's not what the movie was about. Seeing the horror of what happened to Lieutennant Dan in the war doesn't seem very pro-war or right-wing to me. The movie CONTACT came out after GUMP; does anyone here have a problem with it's political view of the world?

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 12:02 a.m. CST

    by Enphilistor

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Jenny

    by Enphilistor

    Also, one might speculate that Jenny's abuse as a child may have had something to do with her problems in life later on, such as hooking up with an abusive lover. If the point had been to show how the counter-culture "led her astray," it would have been better to show her with loving, caring parents, whose good influence was corrupted by the nasty hippies.

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 3:58 a.m. CST

    You wanna talk about subversive, mean and cruel messages, Mori?

    by BankyFan

    Go see THE INCREDIBLES again...

  • I gotta say, you're way off here. I was one of those fools who took my 4-year-old son to the flat 2D version of Polar Express. Guess what? He didn't notice the technical glitch with the tongues or the lack of a plot. He didn't seem to think that The North Pole looked like Red Square (despite his Russian heritage) and he didn't see Santa as a nightmare. The kids LOVE this movie! It makes them excited about Christmas time and gives them a nice visual representation of what "Christmas Time" is. Remember Moriarty, subtext is the manifestation of your subjectivity reflected in an artist's work. For instance, Forest Gump was a touching scrap-book of 20th century Americana. Sometimes, when you're too busy search for subtext, you miss the beauty of the actual text.

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 12:50 p.m. CST

    My dislike for GUMP is less a counter-cultural critique as it is

    by lostoptimist

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 1:08 p.m. CST

    GUMP dislike, Take 2

    by lostoptimist

    Premature submission with my previous talk-back there. Sorry 'bout that. As I was saying, the reason I dislike GUMP, the movie, is because it seems to suggest that if you do as you're told everything will work out just dandy--That you will leave a perfectly happy life if you simply kowtow and bow to authority-figures (thereby relinquising you're god-given ability to actually think; Gump's mental retardation was simply an artistic device to demonstrate this).

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Moriarty's Review

    by Fernwick_

    To the person who points out that Moriarty was conflicted and then gives a negative review, Its simply that he WANTED to enjoy a Robert Z. film and DIDNT and that is the conflict, he is searching for something about the movie he liked and can find nothing. Its the same way I felt when I left The Phantom Menace for the first time. I saw down, getting chills and thrilled to see a new Star Wars after 20+ years. And in the first 10 minutes already was thinking " what the f!@!? I remember thinking George really cant be putting in off lip synching on those stupid aliens is he? Thats not funny thats irritating. And so on and so on. I thought when I saw the preview also, cool! A Robert Z movie and his previous films come to mind. But from the reviews, I will stay away. Any questions :) fernwick

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 4:38 p.m. CST

    This Review Was Fuckin' FUNNY!


    Reading Moriarty's review here, it would seem that he thinks Robert Zemeckis OWES him a pitch-perfect film simply because Mori followed Zemeckis' career from the beginning. Boo-fucking-hoo! I love it when hack reviewers get bent out of shape over a MOVIE. NOT politics, NOT family concerns, but a fucking MOVIE. Says Moriarty: "You've taken away my CHILDHOOD, Robert Zemeckis. I hate you!" ROFLMAO! As the immortal Bugs Bunny would say to Moriarty, "What a maROON." LOL Keep reviewing films, Mori. You crack me up with your anal-retentive attitude and sanctimonious aire. In fact, I hope Zemeckis' next film pisses you off even more so I can spit out my Cheerios in absolute, gut-blasting hilarity at your hurt feelings. Poor Mori. Where's your blue blanky? I think it's time for you to take a nap.

  • Nov. 24, 2004, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Good God...

    by Blue_Demon

    "I was there for you at the very start man." AH-HA-HA-HA-HA!! Shut up McWeeney! The director owes you nothing. You didn't like the film? Fine. Say so and move along. You sound like a chick Mori. "I've been with you since 8th grade!! Boo-hoo-hooo!" Oh, and look around. I mean REALLY look around. The counter-culture deserves the finger.

  • Nov. 25, 2004, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Mori has misread the North Pole stuff

    by HallowedBThyName

    Why do you see Leni Reefenstal there? All this is is, the elves don't just work for any old company, they work for the greatest fucking enterprise in the world, and Santa Claus is their leader, and he does magical things. And they're gathering because it's just about midnite, and it's time for all of their hard work to bear fruit, so they gather in the center of town and have a big celebration. I don't understand why you (and some other critics) see something dark in that.*****This is a landmark moment in cinema history, a really viable 3-D feature. Let's hope there are many more to come. A fully immersive experience, I can't imagine seeing this film in 2-D.

  • Nov. 25, 2004, 12:26 a.m. CST

    And another thing ...

    by HallowedBThyName

    in answer to people who say "why do motion capture to just have them look like themselves anyway?"*****I was skeptical about this too. Once you see the movie, its pretty clear. The whole thing is a cartoon, which allows Zemekis incredible visual freedoms. And he uses that to the max. And the Hanks in this film is just cartoony enough to fit into that universe okay, yet real enough like a regular human, that you get that it's Hanks, one of the greatest actors of our generation. The combination works just great.*****And as for the 3-D, man, I feel like the people who saw The Jazz Singer when it came out. I can say I was there at that moment in history.

  • Nov. 26, 2004, 3:57 a.m. CST


    by Daryl van Horn

    ...other people who see the truth about that over-rated, manipulative piece of crap that everyone gushed over like madmen. And to the people who say Mori shouldn't 'whine' about Zemeckis' crappier films and that he shouldn't mention Gump: guess what, this is his column and maybe you shouldn't whine about what you feel Mori 'owes' you in his own damn column! As for Polar Express, what I've seen already put me off so much I am not surprised by a single thing Mori writes here. Well it pretty much bombed anyway. I always said it looked more like something that certain boring adults think kids SHOULD like rather than than something that kids actually DO like. Great piece Mori.

  • Nov. 26, 2004, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Mori, I disagree

    by devil0509

    Polar Express is flawed only from an adult's perspective. The stop motion animation makes the humans look inhuman, the story of faith is self-contradictory, and the movie does not probe deeply into characters. But the movie is nevertheless beautiful, and, here's the bottom line on a Christmas movie from a kid's point of view, it's fun. The Polar Express, both book and movie, is a kids' fairy tale. It's a child's fantasy. What kid wouldn't like to hop on a train, get served hot chocolate and candy, meet Santa, and then come home to find a present and note from the big man waiting for you? My 5-year-old son, and six of his kindergarten classmates, loved it. It was a great train ride, Santa, raindeer, and music. If you're an adult, wanting to see a cartoon for adults, see Incredibles, which is a great picture at every level. If you have kids, and you want to show them something safe and fun, go ahead with Polar Express. It's a movie for your child, not you.