May contain spoilers!
I must admit that this film never really appealed to me. I seemed to be a schmaltzy slice of the Cola-cola embodied Christmas, with Americana smeared all over it for good luck, and in many ways, it didn’t disappoint. But that was very much its appeal in the end. Robert Zemekis is a brilliant director, with a dramatic eye, and a great sense of action, but he’s also an innovator, seemingly on a relentless quest to move cinema on, in ways not to dissimilar to Georges Méliès, D. W. Griffiths and Fritz Lang back in the early decades of cinema.
This was an effort to move motion capture forward, but it’s taken another 5 years before Avatar finally nailed it, but it was films like The Polar Express which serve as an invaluable marker in its progress. But enough about the technical aspects, I simply liked this film.
The 3D, though in this case viewed through anaglyth RED/CYAN, was very good, though ghosty in this format. The action was well conceived and executed and overall there was just a great sense of pace and clean fun. Christmas has been embodied well in this film and it is clear as to why it is such a hit with children and parents alike. Enjoyable and fun, and though it offers nothing particularly new to the genre of seasonal feel good movies, it does its job well and I would look forward to watching this again and again.
I shall doubt Zemekis no more…
N.B. This review was originally posted in 2010.