User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 164
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  1. EnaB.
    Dec 17, 2007
    10
    Wonderful. Magical. A Holidays classic.
  2. ChadO
    Jun 28, 2008
    10
    This movie is simply incredible. I loved everything about it, the characters, the storyline, the music. The thing I loved most of all was the incredible visuals. I would definently recommend this movie to anyone who has not seen it.
  3. MichaelF.
    Jul 6, 2006
    10
    the greatest job was done on the animation, being very realistic, and the sounds of the train being the most spectacular i ever witnessed in an animation. i enjoyed watching this film, and it is the best animation i have ever seen. it's a 10/10 well deserved.
  4. RudiR.
    Nov 6, 2004
    10
    This movie does what could not be done just 3 years ago: it captures, with amazing detail, the look and feel of a children's book without watering down the story or adding extraneous plot twists to search for time. The soundtrack is great, too, and the acting from the cast is splendid.
  5. AaronL.
    Nov 10, 2004
    9
    A remarkable achievement and a classic in the making. The Pixar films are great and fun, but don't remain in memory much longer than their theatrical run. The Polar Express is a film that stays with you and will be a perennial favorite for years to come.
  6. EdS.
    Dec 4, 2004
    10
    Taking a cue from one of the less jaded critics, I saw this movie (for the first time) in IMAX 3-D. Was I blown away!!! Most of the vantage points in this movie were meant to seen in 3-D. Technical wizardry aside, the movie's art direction was perfect for the story. I believe I have seen the best Christmas movie, live action or not. Tom Hanks is great even in the virtual world.
  7. jdnapollo
    Apr 16, 2005
    10
    This is amazing movie with all the sounds and visual effects to match. It's a story for the child that beats inside the hearts of all persons. The movie plays true to the classic children's book and should be a classic movie not just for the holidays, but any day. It will reignite a spark in you that never died out.
  8. RodneyC.
    Nov 10, 2004
    10
    WOW! Take my word and go see this movie! Ten times better than The Incredibles, even though they don't really compare... I'm going again this weekend! Tom Hanks is great and WOW go and see this on the big screen and then see it in 3-D and then see it again! You'll never get sick of it. I'll watch it every year for the rest of my life!
  9. ScottC.
    Nov 14, 2004
    9
    Fantastic story and concept! Loved every second and the only slightly negative thing was the odd way the characters moved sometimes (minor).
  10. RMLucc-Schwar
    Nov 16, 2004
    10
    Amazing...brings out the child in all of us.
  11. DanR
    Nov 20, 2004
    9
    A visually stunning old fashioned Christmas film. I loved the book, and I loved the film. See it in 3D!!
  12. DylanT.
    Dec 10, 2004
    10
    This was a great movie. Its good for little kids, adluts and teenagers. My suggestion is see the movie now.
  13. JackRabbit
    Jan 5, 2005
    10
    This movie must be seen in IMAX 3D to be appreciated. It is the first fully realized fictional story where every scene has a reason to be in 3D. I have a feeling it will be a perennial favorite in IMAX theaters for years to come.
  14. WmMartinez
    Jan 9, 2005
    9
    Under-rated! Utterly charming, gorgeous design, exciting action, see it in 3-D. The "actors" are creepy looking at first, but you get used to it.
  15. polartrain
    Feb 6, 2005
    10
    Pros: amazing visuals, excellent soundtrack, beautiful music, the most exciting, and most touching, train ride ever. cons: elfs look like pedafiles overview: though 4-year-olds might be frightened by the appearence of the elves, this is the greatest holiday movie up to date. An instant classic.
  16. ChadC.
    Jul 2, 2005
    9
    Verry good movie couldnt not have been better for a christmas andmatied movie.
  17. TomH.
    Mar 22, 2006
    10
    Exhilirating in its imagination & point-of-view through a child's eyes. Mesmerizing.
  18. AdamL.
    Sep 11, 2007
    9
    Perfect in every way, except for the "cameo" appearance by Steve Tyler of Aerosmith. What was Zemeckis thinking?? That horrible misjudgment aside, this film is pure movie magic.
  19. CameronS.
    Nov 11, 2004
    10
    EXCELLENT MOVIE! Saw it in 3D and I was blown away. Wonderful movie! LOVED IT and LOVED the Book!
  20. DanC.
    Nov 10, 2004
    10
    I find it suprising that so many people have complained about the lack of sentiment in this film. I found it very touching and magical. I loved every second of it. The new motion capture teqhnique has produced a dazzling display of what can only be described as "oil paintings come to life." I congragulate all who have worked on this film. It is a sure-hit Christmas Classic that will be I find it suprising that so many people have complained about the lack of sentiment in this film. I found it very touching and magical. I loved every second of it. The new motion capture teqhnique has produced a dazzling display of what can only be described as "oil paintings come to life." I congragulate all who have worked on this film. It is a sure-hit Christmas Classic that will be enjoyed by the WHOLE FAMILY!!!!!! Go and see for yourself... "Seeing is Believing." Expand
  21. DrewC.
    Nov 10, 2004
    10
    Instant Christmas Classic. The whole family will love this movie, it has something for EVERYONE! I can't wait to see it again, next time in 3-D!
  22. DannyP.
    Nov 18, 2004
    10
    I'm a cynical 40ish Father with 3 small children. We all loved this move. I don't belive in much, but I got a lump in my chest when Santa showed up. The story telling and presentation were wonderful and a tribute to the book.
  23. TheCameron
    Nov 27, 2004
    9
    Another computer-generated family is also opening this holiday season, the magical train ride of a movie called ?The Polar Express?. The movie was filmed with live actors using ?performance-capture?, which was used to create Gollum in ?The Lord of the Rings?, but that was one character amongst real actors and other special effects. Here, we have all real actors re-animated. The process, Another computer-generated family is also opening this holiday season, the magical train ride of a movie called ?The Polar Express?. The movie was filmed with live actors using ?performance-capture?, which was used to create Gollum in ?The Lord of the Rings?, but that was one character amongst real actors and other special effects. Here, we have all real actors re-animated. The process, however, is almost irrelevant to the film?s magic. A young boy whose name is never mentioned is starting to sleep on Christmas Eve. Consciously, his belief in Santa Claus is dwindling. Just as night is falling, a loud locomotive comes by his doorstep. He takes a step outside to check it out and is asked by the conductor (Tom Hanks) to hop on board. Realizing the magical coolness of the situation, he wisely steps on board and his adventure begins as they set forth to the North Pole. On the train he meets several characters that will become prominent later. There is the Hero Girl, who seems to be much too optimistic about Christmas to be put in with this pessimistic bunch. There is also Lonely Boy, who probably comes from a poorer family that hasn?t had the funds to buy him big things which has likely led to his dislike of Christmas and the artificiality that comes with it. Finally there is Know-It-All, voiced by the squeaky Eddie Deezen, who is somehow able to use his 46 year-old voice appropriately on a 9 year-old boy. After brief introductions, there is a spectacular musical sequence about serving hot chocolate. Hero Girl notices Lonely Boy in the back car and saves a cup of hot chocolate for him. She leaves her all-important ticket at her seat and Hero Boy runs back to give her the ticket. He slips and loses the ticket as it is blown out of his hands, flies off the train, through a pack of wolves, into an eagle?s mouth, out of the eagle?s nest, and under the locomotive. There is also the Hobo (also Hanks), who reveals to the boy many facts about life and growing up and aids him in getting back to the front of the train to give the girl her ticket back. He is one of a few little creepy parts of the film, but usually the best of holiday family classics have some sort of haunting element to them. Like in ?Wizard of Oz?, as Dorothy has both to lose her youth and do away with a wicked old with and unfriendly flying monkeys. Another spellbindingly amazing sequence comes at Glacier Gulch, which has to be seen in an IMAX theatre to be fully appreciated (albeit the $14 admission). As the train approaches a mountainous peak, they must take a 90-degree railed plummet to the bottom of the mountain. The computer-generation seems best put o use with the little things rather than the big, like the when the conductor punches holes in the tickets. As they finally each the North Pole, we see what must have the most epic, romantic vision of the North Pole ever. It is viewed as a colossal, brilliantly-lit city. With elves finishing the very last of the presents and unveiling the super towering gift bag that nearly falls upon one of their own elf friends. Santa Claus (also Hanks), logically, is some sort of combination between corporate CEO and a fair-giving socialist. In simple, this is a fun ride, but complexly it is a magnificent achievement of storytelling. It is an episodic ride in terms of the screenplay, but it is a magical whole. I can usually feel magic when I see it, and with ?The Polar Express?, it is no different. I remember when I quit believing in Santa Claus, and it was a disappointing brief moment (I was still spoiled with presents), but it represents a moving from your pre-adolescent fantasy to growing up into the pubertal mundane. Expand
  24. SundayG.
    Nov 28, 2004
    9
    Aweson magic. Perfect Christmas story for the children. Brings great memories from you childhood. The whole family loved the movie.
  25. SallyK.
    Nov 9, 2004
    10
    A wonderful delight!
  26. Hellboy
    Dec 1, 2004
    10
    Great Christmas Movie For The Kids And The Train Waz Frekin Awsome Going Down Steep Hills Like That Whew That Would Have Been The Thrill Ride Of My Life.
  27. alexl.
    Dec 18, 2005
    10
    That was cool.
  28. LorenJ.
    Dec 24, 2005
    10
    In our house, the movie completely captivated it's intended audience.
  29. PeterJ.
    Dec 8, 2005
    9
    Great family movie. Best Christmas movie I have seen possibly ever. My young children loved it, as did I.
  30. WallyS.
    Dec 8, 2005
    9
    One of the best animated features of the past year, charming and visually stunning, one of the best Christmas movies ever made, it has majesty and overall grandness that reassures a grand aventure with the dazzling polar express.
  31. jdude
    Nov 15, 2004
    9
    Excellent Visuals and a wonderful Ride. All family members enjoyed it including my 4 yr old son. As to the sheep comment. That tells a lot about that review. I would highly recommend seeing this on the screen. The eagle scene is impressive to say the least.
  32. BarbaraW.
    Nov 19, 2004
    10
    In the life of an overexhausted working mother, I want to thank Tom Hanks and crew for making a G movie where my 2 and 4 year old could escape and dream with me. Nothing can replace the look on my son's face as his eyes opened wide and started to shine as the Polar Express chugged up that beautiful moon-lit mountain. Thank you creators! You are awesome. And thank you for the line In the life of an overexhausted working mother, I want to thank Tom Hanks and crew for making a G movie where my 2 and 4 year old could escape and dream with me. Nothing can replace the look on my son's face as his eyes opened wide and started to shine as the Polar Express chugged up that beautiful moon-lit mountain. Thank you creators! You are awesome. And thank you for the line about Santa being a "symbol" of all that Christmas is about. Collapse
  33. MarkyMark
    Nov 26, 2005
    10
    I find reviewers' reaction to this film and their comments say a lot about the kind of person they probably are inside. After watching this amazing movie, I was glad to discover that I am an emotionally healthy and alive human being. I am both the adult i am now and the 8 year old kid I was 46 years ago. I had tears running down my cheeks. Absolutely wonderful movie.
  34. Oct 27, 2010
    9
    The best christmas movie of the year. way to go, Robert Zemeckis. you were fantastic making this huge hit.
  35. Nov 27, 2011
    10
    It is a Christmas classic that you will remember forever. The Polar Express stretches the true meaning of the season with an amazing story that you will never forget.
  36. Nov 19, 2013
    10
    How hard skin you should have to rate this movie low. Did you ever have good Christmas, poor people? This is a tale, magical and wonderful. Light Christmas tale about the spirit of celebration. Do you want to be a child for couple of hours again, want to feel this spirit of Christmas? Then try this movie, gather your family, your parents if you are young, your kids if you are old and enjoy.
  37. Mar 21, 2014
    10
    it never gets old well sometimes it does watching polar express . Its like a family tradition watching one of a classic christmas movies on Christmas eve or any day on december
  38. Nov 6, 2014
    10
    I love this movie. This is a movie that you can sit down with your family and get a bag of popcorn and have a good time. Thus movie is one of a kind its so original. With a great cast and funny cast. With a Christmas theme train going to the North Pole to see Santa. The adventure is just amazing and it looks beautiful. This is a movie you have to see.
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 4 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    100
    A story that soars with breakneck pace but slows in all the tender moments. Visually, this train ride is both majestic and edge-of-your-seat.
  2. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    50
    This visually impressive yet emotional frigid fable could perhaps more accurately be tagged "The Bipolar Express."
  3. A grave and disappointing failure, as much of imagination as of technology.