The Polar Express, loosely based on the iconic 80s children’s book of the same name, has become a modern Christmas classic, particularly for kids. Though it starts somewhat slowly with irrelevant exposition about a young boy’s faltering faith in Santa, the film quickly ‘gains steam’ with the introduction of the protagonist, the train. From obstacles like the dangerously rowdy hot chocolate sequence to the infamously suspenseful frozen lake scene, “Polar Express” shows the triumph of trains over adversity and mechanical hazards like a broken throttle split pin. Far from going ‘off the rails,’ by daring to place a train at the center of its narrative, “Polar Express” asks us to imagine a future by and for trains — a future with more trains and in which every train gets to take an adventure to the North Pole with the assistance of lovable scoundrel engineers with pun names like Smokey and Steamer. Whether you’re a trainiac or merely a casual appreciator of rail-based mass transit, the film’s bold, future-looking pro-train message means it’s ‘on track’ to remain a Christmas staple for years to come. Choo choo!
The Polar Express
Published Friday, December 6th, 2019