|The Polar Express|
|Qualification|| The Polar Express ( Latin ) |
Polar Express ( Spain )
Robert Zemeckis |
Chris Van Allsburg
|Script|| Robert Zemeckis |
William Broyles Jr.
|Based on||The Polar Express de Chris Van Allsburg|
|Mounting|| R. Orlando Duenas |
|Protagonists|| Daryl Sabara |
|See all credits ( IMDb )|
|Data and numbers|
|Gender|| Animation |
|Classification|| G |
|Distribution|| Warner Bros. Pictures |
Castle Rock Entertainment
|Budget||$ 165 million [ 1 ]|
|Filmography of Robert Zemeckis|
The Polar Express
| File on IMDb |
File on FilmAffinity
The Polar Express (known in Latin America as El express polar and in Spain as Polar Express ) is an animated film with motion capture , directed by Robert Zemeckis , distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and released in 2004 . Its plot, based on the children's book The Polar Express (1938) by Chris Van Allsburg , is about the adventures of a group of children on board the magical train The Polar Express to meet Santa Claus at the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
The production of the film dates back to 1999, when Tom Hanks acquired the rights to the book attracted by its illustrations and its Christmas theme . [ 2 ] Based on a libretto written by himself and William Broyles Jr. , [ 3 ] Zemeckis chose to film it with motion capture technology, a novelty in the film industry at the time, "as if it were an oil painting in motion. ' [ 4 ] As a result, three sets were created with their respective scale models to shoot the scenes with the help of multiple infrared cameras ,rendering and workstations , and markers sticking to velcro suits and actors' faces. [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] The main voice cast consisted of Tom Hanks , Daryl Sabara , Nona Gaye , Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen , while other players like Josh Hutcherson , Chantel Valdivieso , Peter Scolari and Michael Jetercontributed body movements for certain additional takes. Randy Thom and Alan Silvestri were in charge of the sound effects and soundtrack for the film, respectively.
After its premiere in both traditional format 2D and IMAX , the film grossed 286 million USD , [ 1 ] which led him to be ranked as one of the most successful film productions with Christmas theme of all time, [ 7 ] and one that generated higher revenues in 2004. [ 8 ] While several media agreed to provide negative ratings animating the eyes of the characters, [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ]Over time it has persisted as one of the favorite animated productions of both the press and the public, and its annual re-releases have raised more than $ 20 million in addition to the original amount. [ 1 ] In addition to multiple nominations, he won a variety of awards including a Grammy for the song " Believe " performed by Josh Groban , in the category of best song written for a film, television or other visual medium . [ 12 ]
Every Christmas Eve , the train called The Polar Express takes children to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus just before he sets off in his sleigh to deliver gifts to the world. The film begins when the train picks up the main character from his house, referred to simply as the "hero boy." To get on board you need a ticket provided by the Driver. Once inside, the hero boy meets the other crew members, including "Know It All", the heroine girl and a shy boy named Billy. During the tour, a group of waiters serve you cups of hot chocolatethe children while they perform a choreography set to music by the Conductor. The heroine girl saves a mug for Billy, who got into another car on the train. When he goes to give it to him, the hero boy misplaces the girl's ticket and, noticing the ticket's disappearance, the Driver asks her to accompany him.
Magically the ticket floats back to the train after a journey in which it meets wolves and eagles , so the protagonist decides to take the ticket to the girl and the Conductor. His search leads him to climb onto the roof of the moving vehicle, where he meets a mysterious homeless man who calls himself "the king of the North Pole" and who mocks the boy's skepticism towards Christmas . However, thanks to his help, he manages to reach the train's coal bunker and later disappears. Upon meeting the Conductor and the girl, who is learning to drive the train, he accepts the ticket. After fighting his way through a herd of caribou and struggling through aFrozen lake , Steamer and Smokey - in charge of driving the train - manage to reach their destination. Previously the child returns to have an encounter with the tramp in a wagon of toys abandoned, although this time the subject frightens him with a puppet of Ebenezer Scrooge .
Once at the North Pole, the child heroes and Billy are accidentally transported, in one of the uncoupled carriages of the train, to the center of the city where Santa Claus and his elves live . On their way back to the main square with the rest of the children, who are waiting for midnight to meet Santa Claus, the protagonists arrive at a sack of considerable size and full of the gifts that were to be delivered at Christmas, where they They also meet Know-It-all, guided by the curiosity of knowing their Christmas gifts in advance. Before placing the sack on the sled, the goblins help them to return to the main square. When Santa Claus arrives at the meeting point, the hero boy realizes that he is the only one who cannot hear the bellscarried by the reindeer in the sleigh . After assuring himself that he does believe in the existence of Santa Claus, he gives him one of the sleigh bells as a "first Christmas present" and after saying goodbye to the children, the elves and the Driver, part in his sled. Before leaving the North Pole, the elves hold a celebration in the square to commemorate Christmas.
The boy hero realizes that he misplaced Santa's bell once the train sets off to drop them back home. The next day the protagonist meets with his family to open together the gifts placed on the Christmas tree , and to his surprise he realizes that one of the boxes contains the bell and a letter signed by Santa Claus. In the final scenes, the boy hero narrates that since then he has continued to hear the sound of the bell, despite the fact that his family and friends stopped doing so over time. [ 13 ]
The Polar Express comprises a "celebration of the wonder and imagination of childhood ," "a kind of odyssey in which a hero embarks on a mythical and dangerous journey of self-discovery," as well as a " parable of the importance of believing in Jesus Christ. "According to Van Allsburg, Broyles Jr., and Paul Lauer, the latter one of those responsible for the promotion and marketing of the film. [ 14 ] From the beginning, the train that gives the film its name "directs its attention to the children, of pre-adolescent age, who are about to stop believing in Santa, thus losing their Christmas spirit." [ 15 ]
Besides Christmas , the main theme addressed by the film is belief . According to Zemeckis, the scene in which Santa Claus reveals himself to the protagonist as "the spirit of Christmas" represents the highest belief: "When the symbols of the spirit begin to be confused with reality, that's when you get into trouble [ ...] The spirit of Christmas celebrations is what all the decorations are ultimately about . ' [ 16 ] This element is physically represented by the bells of the North Pole., "That can only be heard by those who believe." Additionally, certain sequences include moral messages such as "No matter where the train goes, the important thing is to get on board" and "The meaning of Christmas is in your heart." [ 17 ] According to Conner Tighe of Ballstatedaily.com: “No other Christmas movie has been able to conceive of a unified theme around which Christmas revolves: belief. The Polar Express is about believing in something, even if no one else does. " [ 15 ]
In the religious sphere, the film serves as a metaphor for the belief in God and the Holy Trinity : «The protagonist acts as the" skeptics "of society, undertaking a spiritual journey (physical fact by the train) to find himself and thus find God. The tramp-dominated puppet Scrooge calls the hero a "skeptic" in an attempt to scare him. This nickname may be a reference to " doubting Thomas ", the apostle who refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus on the third day. Until he saw it physically. [ 18 ]
Other themes explored by The Polar Express are the loss of childhood innocence, nostalgia, sadness, mystery, melancholy, doubt —for example, the tramp's ghost “is a manifestation of [the child's] doubts. In the scene where the hero talks to him, he constantly reminds him that he does not believe in Santa so as not to sound like a fool ”- frustration and joy. All these sensations are manifested primarily in the color palette of the different scenes; "gloomy and brooding" blue is used throughout most of the first half of the film, while red is predominant upon arrival at the North Pole because it is commonly associated with the "Christmas spirit." [ 19 ]Generally speaking, "the film has a way of touching the hearts of adults and children because it is nostalgic and brings back many of our childhood memories." [ 15 ]
The casting selection process was led by Scot Boland and Victoria Burrows . [ 20 ] [ 21 ] At the beginning, Tom Hanks would play only the driver of the train, [ 22 ]However, Zemeckis asked him to impersonate multiple characters because "[it means] then we can do it [motion capture film]." In this way, he gave life to the father, the driver, the homeless man, Santa Claus and the boy hero. According to the actor, who described the process as "exhaustive": "Actually, it's a return to a type of acting that you are not allowed to do in the movies. [...] You don't have to worry about lights, angles, rails, cameras, or shoulder coverage. We basically did a series of 10 or 15 minute gigs where we really [felt] it, we did it all in real time and by the time we finished Bob had everything he needed… It was a ridiculous amount of fun. You just have to forget a lot of things you know as an adult and participate,[ 2 ] [ 23 ] As for his performance as Santa Claus, said: "[The character] this child was not this beefy counter coming down the chimney every day. He was a huge, muscular man who had to lift a huge sack of gifts. He had to be a big and strong guy [...] It is beautiful to be Santa Claus, to go out and find gifts for your children and make them open their eyes wide. It makes them feel so happy and special because it came down the chimney. You came down, but they don't know. So it's okay [...] Playing it was my favorite [part]. It's like playingElvisin an Elvis movie. [ 24 ] [ 25 ]
Due to Zemeckis 'unsuccessful effort in digitally modifying Hanks' voice tone as the boy hero, voice acting fell to child actor Daryl Sabara . In turn, Josh Hutcherson contributed additional shots of the character's movement. In the latter's opinion, it was "the first great film" in his cinematographic career. [ 23 ] [ 26 ] The actors Eddie Deezen and Nona Gaye impersonated the girl child and heroin, respectively "smartass". Unlike Hanks, his voice performances did remain in the final edit of the tape. [ 23 ]Regarding his participation in the film, Goye explained: “It was incredible because we finished very quickly. We'd do a few takes and Bob [Zemeckis] would figure out which one was correct, and it was done. She wasn't used to that at all. Usually there is lighting and we try to fix things and change them and prepare for the next scene, and we didn't have to do that. So it was a lot of fun. We had a great time doing it. " In her opinion, the heroine girl “is very outgoing, but at the same time she's a bit self-conscious when things come up that she's not sure about. When someone tests her for something, she bends over. So your challenge in the movie is to figure it out. She is a really cool girl. [ 27 ]
Other actors who were involved in The Polar Express were Leslie Zemeckis as Sarah and the mother of the hero boy - Isabella Peregrina provided the voice of Sarah -; Peter Scolari and Jimmy Bennett as Billy; and Michael Jeter and André Sogliuzzo as Smokey and Steamer. Then the performers voice of each main character mentioned: [ 28 ]
- Hero boy: he is a boy who is starting to stop believing in Santa Claus. A New Year 's Eve is visited by the driver aboard the Polar Express to go to the North Pole. The character's motion capture fell to Tom Hanks and Josh Hutcherson , while the English voice was provided by Daryl Sabara .
- Heroine girl: she is one of the crew members of the train who becomes friends with the hero boy. Physically she is played by Chantel Valdivieso , while Nona Gaye provided her voice for the character.
- Billy: also known as "lonely boy", is a shy boy who is also part of the train crew. As he establishes his friendship with the protagonists, he acquires more confidence in himself. Hayden McFarland and Peter Scolari , and Jimmy Bennett provided the character's movements and voice, respectively.
- Know-it-all boy: he is an intelligent and restless boy who is part of the crew. The role was in charge of Eddie Deezen and Jimmy Pinchak .
- Driver: he is the one who invites the children to board the train at each stop, and is in charge of supervising them along the way. Hanks was in charge of bringing this character to life.
- Tramp: it is a ghost that lives in the train and that helps the Hero Boy during the journey to the North Pole. In one of the scenes he uses a Scrooge puppet to frighten the protagonist. Both characters are played by Hanks.
- Smokey and Steamer: they are in charge of starting the train together with the Conductor. Michael Jeter and André Sogliuzzo contributed motion capture and voice, respectively.
- Santa Claus: appears during the Christmas commemoration and meets the children of the Polar Express before leaving in his sleigh to distribute the gifts. He is played by Hanks.
In 1999 Tom Hanks acquired the rights to an eventual adaptation of the children's book The Polar Express , written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg and published for the first time in 1985. In his words: “It's a haunting and very effective story, and you really can't put your finger on it. I think I have been reading it to my children since it was published. And as you get closer and closer to Christmas , you read it more and more [...] The idea that maybe it [fits] in a movie is an X factor. You have no idea whether or not it will be possible. ». [ 2 ]
I have a very simple philosophy about movies and children, and that is that as a child I never wanted to see a movie made for children. I just wanted to see movies made for adults. I think all the great kids movies ever made, like the ones Walt Disney was making, they were made for adults. My focus was making this movie for adults because kids get everything. I think one of the things that bothers them is when they are spoken against. I just didn't come up with the idea of making a children's movie. I just made the movie that I would like to enjoy and that other people would enjoy. Obviously, you have certain limits because you don't want the kids to be offended or upset by the movie. I wouldn't even know how to start making a movie that a child would understand. So I did and I hoped the kids would enjoy it.
—Robert Zemeckis sobre The Polar Express.
Originally the film adaptation was to be a joint production of Hanks' studio, Playtone, and Castle Rock Entertainment , directed by Rob Reiner and starring Hanks as the train conductor. After the departure of Reiner of the project, [ 22 ] Robert Zemeckis took both the direction and the writing of the script, in this last work supported by screenwriter William Broyles Jr. , in what would be his third collaboration in the cinema Hanks after Forrest Gump and Castaway . [ 3 ]Around 2000, Hanks had sent Zemeckis a copy of the book to get his opinion on the film adaptation. [ 23 ] According to Zemeckis: “It was wonderfully liberating. [I thought about] the train going off the tracks and sliding down a frozen lake. It's good, awesome. Let's write that. [ 5 ]
Zemeckis' intention was to adapt Van Allsburg's story "as if it were an oil painting in motion, with all the warmth, immediacy and subtleties of a human performance [...] In my opinion, the essence of book were his illustrations. That's where emotions come from, in my opinion, and without those images you're discarding half the book. [ 4 ] [ 16 ] However, he ruled out a version animated or live action , "I do not want to look like cartoons [... and] real action pictures would look terrible, plus it would be impossible, since it would cost a billion dollars instead of 160 million. [ 29 ]It is worth mentioning that Van Allsburg also rejected an animated adaptation at the time of assigning the rights to his work. [ 30 ] According to Hanks: “There is something very surprising, frankly, about Chris Van Allsburg's paintings. They are not drawings. They are impressionistic versions of this boy's house and what it was like to be on a train and all aspects of the adventure they undertake. I always got a very tactile feeling from reading the book, [in addition to being a] very elegant, simple, but complicated and sophisticated story about what Christmas means to each and every one of us. " [ 22 ]
The writing of the script was carried out in 2002 simultaneously to the development of the storyboard to which the voice dialogues recorded by the cast were integrated in the middle of that year. After the script was finalized, production continued with the motion capture of the cast. [ 6 ]According to Hanks: “When Bob began writing the script, he started with the first line of the book and ended it with the last line, staying away from the standard protagonist-antagonist narrative. It's often silly to move the story forward or put [the characters] in danger. I think the vast majority of the audience can see a narrative formulated a million miles away. They are tired of it. It is very predictable. The reason you go to the movies is to surprise yourself with a narrative that you cannot predict where it is going. So, in many ways, we keep figuring out what not to do with the story rather than what to do. But all of this came out of Bob's stream of consciousness when he started digging into the material. ' [ 27 ]Broyles Jr., detailed the following: «Writing a script under these conditions takes some getting used to [...] Usually, as the time of filming approaches, one adjusts the script to what is possible . But with this, as the moment approached, it became clear that anything was possible. At first, there was incredible joy, but then it was followed by the realization that whatever you imagine has to be at the service of history. [ 5 ]
Design and animation
Ken Ralston and Jerome Chen were in charge of supervising the visual effects of the film, [ 4 ] while Demian Gordon assumed the supervision of the motion capture. [ 6 ] It was Imageworks' first fully animated film, as well as the first computerized film produced in 3D imaging and the first fully animated with motion capture technology. [ 4 ]
One of the first objectives of the team was to identify the different alternatives to shoot the feature film, [ 4 ] and after a series of tests by the animation supervisor, David Schaub, which lasted for three months and through which they were produced eight different takes, [ 22 ] they chose to use motion capture , since “it was more like directing a play than a movie [and] they could shoot much longer takes. They didn't have to stop when it was necessary to move the camera or place a microphone in the frame. The other shooting options were the use of real images , or a simultaneous combination of real images andcomputer-animated effects . [ 4 ] Most of the technology to be used by Imageworks on The Polar Express was still in the research and development stage during the film's production, [ 31 ] and was referred to as "Imagemotion" by the studio itself. . [ 4 ] Originally, the idea of Zemeckis and Hanks was a joint production between Castle Rock Entertainment and Universal Pictures , however, the latter rejected the proposal due to the uncertainty of investing in new and expensive technology, in addition to the high salaries of both celebrities .
The team built three sets of different dimensions in a warehouse in Culver City, California , [ 5 ] to capture the movement of the actors and almost all the scenes were shot on the lowest volume set - approximately 27 m 3 -. [ 4 ] A dome-shaped structure was additionally available and built with scaffolding in the area surrounding the recording surface. [ 5 ] The largest set, 28,800 m 3, was used to record the musical sequence of the hot chocolate. In turn, each set had three scale models: one in normal proportion and the others in 120% and 200%, respectively, to record the scenes in which the adults, children and elves appear. Shooting a scene could require the use of one or more of these sets simultaneously. [ 4 ] It should be added that Van Allsburg conducted seminars with the animators to explain the illustration process for his book. [ 16 ] To accurately recreate the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive , from which The Polar Express train is inspired, Warner Bros acquired planes in the vehicle 2002. [ 32 ] [ 33 ]
The floor plans of each set were photographed and printed on plywood panels that were placed on the floor and chosen according to the shots to be recorded throughout the day. To shoot the scenes on the smaller set, the production team used an aerial platform that helped them film the top and bottom of the actors in two separate shots, which were layered during the editing stage. This is how, for example, the scene was produced in which children fall to the ground when the protagonist activates the emergency brake on the train . To play the children's characters and elves, the sets and objects in each shot were scaledso that the adult actors appear of a similar proportion to that of a child. These images were then superimposed on the team's shots of the movements of child actors. To match the gazes of the adult and child characters, a device called a " snorkel " was created consisting of a backpack with a 3-foot (0.9 m) bar that had a sphere on top; During the filming, the actor who played the boy had to look at the snorkel worn by another actor. [ 4 ]
For the animation of the characters, a system of 242 Vicon infrared cameras was used, arranged in different locations throughout each set, and mostly used to capture the facial features of the actors. This allowed them to film four actors simultaneously and speed up the production schedule, in addition to avoiding problems derived from ambient light. Thanks to this system, the cinematographerHe was able to view in real time a digitized version of the recordings with the actors, and choose the shots with the right angles for each scene. Each actor had 152 markers placed on their face to capture movement - more than twice the number that was used at that time in similar productions -, which were hidden with the help of makeup and garments made of a material similar to mesh to facilitate interpretation. The 72 markers on the rest of the body were integrated into velcro suitsthat were used by the same actors. For the digital design of the costumes, the team photographed each actor with the respective outfit worn by their corresponding character. Meanwhile, the objects were covered with a grayish mesh through which the cameras could record and be digitally captured. [ 4 ] The production of certain effects was carried out with the help of certain rudimentary accessories, as occurred when replicating the sensation of walking in the snow through the use of foam and chicken wire . [ 29 ] For scenes featuring two or more characters played by Hanks, and one of whom is the child protagonist, child actors were used.Daryl Sabara and Josh Hutcherson . [ 22 ] The animation of the different places and structures that appear in the film, such as the North Pole Square, resulted from the digitization of scale models built from the corresponding plans. [ 5 ]
It was decided to record The Polar Express at 60 frames per second to reduce the amount of resulting footage, which was stored daily in a system of four interconnected computers, [ 4 ] as well as an online render farm of more than 1200 integrated processors. on Dell and IBM workstations . [ 6 ] The integration department was in charge of incorporating the animated designs of the characters in the actors' recordings. Certain sequences from the film, such as the flight of the ticket and the herd of caribou, were animated without the use of motion capture - at first, Zemeckis had several ideas for the ticket scene, including giving the object some 'motivation' of its own to seek to return on its own to the train, or to adopt different forms of origami -. Additionally, this area used new plugins to improve the animation of the movements of each character, as well as to produce multiple characters in a single sequence.. During the editing stage, the animators revealed that the design of the eyes was the most "problematic" element of the production given the need to "emulate their natural behavior" in animation; as well as the appearance of children's faces. Other digital effects in the film included the incorporation of snowflakes through fluid and particle simulation ; the interaction of the characters with the snow through a rendering system ; and the creation of smoke, steam, snowfall and ice fragments with the help of a tool called Splat - an acronym for Sony Pictures Layered Art Technology. [ 4 ]
In May 2004, the IMAX 3D adaptation began to take place from the traditional 2D format, for which Imageworks chose an alternative team of seventy animators. [ 4 ] [ 6 ] For this work resorted to the DMR system, which stands for "Digitally Re-mastering" which allowed them to increase the resolution native to the original footage in 2K to 4K . The sound was also remixed to match IMAX technology. [ 6 ] The production of The Polar Expressit concluded after a period of two and a half years, and required the participation of 319 animators and technical personnel in general. Some computer tools used for design and animation included Alias Maya , Cinema 4D , Alias MotionBuilder , RenderMan , Bonsai, Birps, and Splat, among others. [ 6 ]
Sound and soundtrack
|The Polar Express Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Sound band by Alan Silvestri|
|Publication||November 2, 2004 [ 35 ]|
|Record label||Warner Sunset Records, Reprise Records|
|Producer (s)||Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jack Rapke, Chris Van Allsburg, Steve Starkey y Robert Zemeckis|
| AllMusic.com |
Timeline of Alan Silvestri soundtracks
Sound effects production fell to composer Randy Thom , who chose to use bells and metal objects to create the main motif for The Polar Express , interspersed with pauses to provide a sense of "despair." Regarding the train noises, he revealed: “After reading the script, I knew that three-quarters of the film takes place on the Polar Express, and that significant sections in certain scenes would only be what we would hear from the train. We had to make the train a character with sound, give it a complex sound that would change from one moment to the next and make it always seem real. [ 37 ]
The team chose to record with microphones, and separately, most of the sounds of a couple of locomotives in California and Michigan , which were to be edited during post-production according to the different sequences of the film. Additionally added sounds plates , arcs of violin and viola, and bell chimes to give you a more musical effect. On this process, he explained: “Bob [Zemeckis] wanted the train to appear as alive as possible. At the point where the boy first sees the train, it is not moving, but it has just stopped and you see huge waves of steam coming from it. At that point in the movie, Bob encouraged me to make the sounds of the train as musical and lively [as] as possible. " It should be added that most of the dialogue and sound effects recorded during the motion capture sessions had to be edited to eliminate noise from the sets. [ 37 ]
In mid-2002, Alan Silvestri became involved in composing the soundtrack for The Polar Express , his eleventh collaboration with Zemeckis. Unlike other film productions, this time the compilation songs had to be composed and recorded before the animation of the film. One of the last pieces of music to be produced was the title track "Believe," which was intended to become "a new Christmas standard" at the request of Zemeckis. According to Silvestri: “He wasn't very specific about what it could be, because if you look at Christmas standards, they include everything from Bing Crosby singing" White Christmas "to Alvin and the Chipmunks!! So what we started to see was that we wanted to have some kind of great theme that would encompass the essence of the movie, and then we really wanted to find a way to expand that and have something that was this great kind of overview of the heart of the movie. in the song". It is worth mentioning that from the beginning Josh Groban was considered as the interpreter of the song, [ 38 ] co-written with Glen Ballard . [ 39 ]
The Polar Express Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on November 2, 2004 in both physical and digital formats, as well as being available on iTunes . [ 35 ] Upon its release, in 2006 the compilation won a Grammy for " best soundtrack album for visual media ", [ 12 ] and the following year was awarded a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America as " gold record ”—according to Nielsen SoundScan , this is one of the best-selling Christmas soundtracks and productions. [ 40 ][ 40 ] [ 41 ] In turn, theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciencesnominated "Believe" as "Best Original Song" at the ceremonyOscars 2005, [ 39 ] in which was played live by Groban andBeyoncé. [ 42 ] Then the songs from the original soundtrack in English are listed below: [ 43 ]
The Polar Express has an aspect ratio of 2.39: 1 in standard format and 2.00: 1 in IMAX , with a completely digital negative format , while the printed format varies from 35 mm - made with Kodak Vision 2383, which avoids that titles do not have colorful fringes, faded colors, or highlights appear softer— [ 44 ] or 70mm —for IMAX releases. For their part, DTS , Dolby Digital , SDDS and IMAX 6-Track systems were used for sound mixing.. The soundtrack was produced using the 12-Track Digital Sound system . [ 45 ]
The first extended trailer was released in November 2003 during the theatrical release of the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action . As early as 2004 began, Warner Bros. began distributing various products and publications alluding to the film, including a feature in Nickelodeon Magazine and incorporating stills from different scenes in other print media. The marketing campaign included the activation of a website, literary meetings, contests and sweepstakes, and exhibits in museums in Massachusetts and Dallas . [ 46 ] That year Motive Entertainmenthe coordinated the distribution of content in which he linked the film's plot to religion, and as a result The Polar Express was promoted on various Christian radio stations such as HomeWord Radio, and copies on DVD were sent to 50,000 churches in the United States. [ 14 ]
In June of that year, another advance was released in conjunction with the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , while in early November promotional merchandise was marketed after agreements with companies such as Kraft Foods , PepsiCo and Lionel . [ 46 ] Marketing for The Polar Express has extended beyond its original theatrical release; For example, at the end of 2019 the concert The Polar Express in Concert with the VSO was premiered by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra . [ 47 ]Also, they have carried out special broadcast of the film on sites like The Rockwell Museum -sometimes accompanied by orchestras in alive-, [ 48 ] [ 49 ] and train tours in various cities, referring to the film, as part of a collaboration with Rail Events Incorporated. [ 50 ] [ 51 ] [ 52 ]
The Polar Express premiered on November 7, 2004 at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood , with proceeds going to the USC School of Cinema-Television . [ 53 ] The event featured carol performers , a scale model of The Polar Express, Christmas trees, and a person dressed up as Santa Claus accompanied by reindeer, and was attended by both the main cast and celebrities including Sean Hayes. and Ice Cube . [ 25 ] Days before, on October 21, it had been screened at the Chicago International Film Festivalduring a special function in which Zemeckis and Hanks were present, and in which a tribute was also paid to the former in recognition of his cinematographic career. [ 54 ]
The premiere to the general public took place on November 10, 2004, both in traditional format and in IMAX. [ 55 ] In the first case, the footage reached 3,650 cinemas around the world, while the IMAX version was available on sixty screens compatible with that technology in the United States, and twenty more in foreign countries. [ 4 ] [ 1 ] On the other hand, their release dates worldwide were as follows: [ 56 ]
In the United States and Canada , which together make up the domestic market, The Polar Express grossed $ 2.6 million on its opening day, [ 1 ] second only to Pixar's The Incredibles , which earned nearly double the revenue. . [ 57 ] This result was replicated on the film's first airing weekend, when its grossing exceeded $ 20 million, down from just over $ 50 million for Pixar animation. [ 58 ]In its second weekend, its box office performance fell 33% to $ 15.6 million, a slightly lower decrease than that of The Incredibles , a period in which theaters welcomed National Treasure and SpongeBob SquarePants: the movie . [ 59 ] The 4th position in the top of the films with the highest grossing rates remained paradoxically until the Christmas weekend; Although it had overtaken the Pixar film, it fell to sixth place in the list headed by the films Meet the Fockers , Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events , Fat Albert , The Aviator andOcean's Twelve - the latter also from Warner Bros-. [ 60 ]
On the other hand, its best weekly results in general took place between November 12 and 18, 2004, and from December 3 to 6, when it reached the second position of income, only beaten by The Incredibles and National Treasure , respectively. [ 61 ] [ 62 ] His last theatrical release occurred in week 4 on March 10, 2005, when it raised additional 105 782 USD in just over a hundred cinemas. [ 63 ] After a total of eighteen weeks in broadcast, The Polar ExpressA total of 162,775,358 were acquired in the US and Canada, and 123,225,147 in other countries, for a total of USD 286 million. [ 1 ] Of this collection, the IMAX version raised $ 45 million overall. [ 4 ] However, each year the film returns to limited releases primarily in the US and Canada, which has brought in additional revenue through 2020 of $ 28 million, bringing the absolute earnings of The Polar Express to more than 314 million USD. [ 1 ] As of 2020, it is the sixth highest grossing Christmas movie of all time, below Home Alone (1990), The Grinch.(2018), The Grinch (2000), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) and Elf (2003). [ 7 ] Regarding the list of most successful animated films, it occupies the 66th position until February 2021 above other films of the same genre released the same year, such as The Scarecrow , although surpassed by Shrek 2 and The Incredibles . [ 64 ] It also became the ninth highest grossing film of 2004 in the US and Canada, as well as Warner Bros. 'second, most successful of that year, surpassed only by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban..
The Europe and Middle East box office surpassed USD 73 million in 25 countries, led by revenues from the UK — USD 23.5 million, France — USD 11.3 million , Germany — USD 10 million, Spain —9 , 8 million USD— and Italy —5.5 million USD—, countries in which around 80% of the box office of that territory was collected. [ 65 ] It should be noted that the UK results also include a relaunch in the 2005 Christmas season. The highest grossing weekend in that country was December 10-12, 2004, a period in which it scored 2, 4 million USD. [ 66 ]Regarding the Asia-Pacific market , most of the revenue was generated in theaters in Japan - $ 9.9 million -, Australia - $ 7.5 million - and South Korea - $ 3.1 million. . [ 65 ] In Japan it became one of the few animated films whose box office for that year exceeded one billion yen ; [ 67 ] It is worth mentioning that that year the Japanese film industry was in an economic "recovery phase" and its billboard for foreign productions focused on the dissemination of animations. [ 68 ] Finally, Mexico andBrazil represented the largest sources of income for the film during its exhibition in seven Latin American countries , raising just over $ 10 million in both countries. [ 65 ]
Anglo-Saxon and from other countries
The Polar Express has a 56% rating on the compilation website Rotten Tomatoes , based on 208 reviews; In their evaluation, those responsible for the portal concluded that, "although the film is visually impressive in general, the animation of the human characters is not realistic enough and the story is full of soft substance." [ 69 ] Meanwhile, Metacritic assigned it an average rating of 86 out of 100 from thirty-six evaluations from different media, [ 70 ] and on IMDb it has a score of 6.6 / 10, based on more than 180 000 votes. [ 28 ]
In his review for The Guardian , Peter Bradshaw noted that “for half an hour or so, [the tape] is great: a mix of Spielberg , Norman Rockwell and Roald Dahl . Then the schmaltz content increases more and more, as if it were administered by drip, until finally we are drowned in sucrose . [ 71 ] Keith Phipps of The AV Club took a similar view that “as a show, it looks extraordinary. Yet as a movie, it is the equivalent of a carefully wrapped Christmas present containing a nice new pair of socks. ' [ 9 ]While Time's Richard Schickel dismissed the plot as' clunky ', he praised the train sequences, arguing that' it's all S-curves and the ups and downs of roller coasters , with a ride skidding through a cape. of ice literally no clues [...] Older fans will be reminded of the Cinerama adventures of their wasted youngsters, but this time the process is seamless, without annoying jiggles where the three old-tech screens never quite matched up. There are times when you lean back in your seat to prevent an object from hurtling toward you. Other times you will feel that your stomach descends towards your ankles ». [ 72 ]His opinion coincided with that of Desson Thomson of The Washington Post , who praised certain sequences such as the flight of the ticket and the caribou that “richly detailed and always surprising, create a truly satisfying Christmas image, the kind that everyone can enjoy and they can even restore a bit of lost childhood in many adult viewers. You can not ask for much more". [ 73 ]
Various outlets negatively rated the animation of human eyes; For example, David Germain of the Associated Press reiterated that “they just don't look good. In fact, most of the time, they just look bad, the kind of creepy characters more likely to induce nightmares than visions of sugar plums. [ 10 ] On the other hand, Phipps, from The AV Club, detailed: “From time to time, even the effects disappoint the film. Some characters seem incredibly realistic. Others, like the hero's young friend (voiced by Nona Gaye), are strikingly similar to the tragic masked ghoul from Les yeux sans visage.. And the moments when one character rigidly touches another create the unshakable impression of a technology whose time has not yet come, which works at the service of a story that no one knew how to tell. [ 9 ] In addition to criticizing the absence of narrative or character development, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal also detailed: “Quasi-human figures inhabit a no-man's-land where body language is strangely impoverished and faces they do not express feelings; It is not just an epidemic of dead eyes, but of dull features that make children look gloomy, sleep-deprived, or just plain sad. [ 11 ] The evaluation of the American magazineRolling Stone identically mentioned that “the eyes of the characters, from the child to Santa himself (also Hanks), have a glassy look that is almost creepy in a kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers . The result is a failed and lifeless experiment in which everything goes wrong. [ 74 ]
Empire's Ian Nathan gave it a 3/5 star rating, noting that “despite all the fairy-lit wonder, some will scoff at the idea that the director of Back to the Future would dabble in such a silly tale. Cynics will sneeze in shock; children, young and old, will embrace and dream [...] That's where The Polar Express both annoys and delights: [the film] is suffocated by the cloak of one-dimensional Christmas ideals, but it makes you feel good » . [ 75 ]In turn, Brian Rentschler of the Screenrant.com website gave it a positive rating, calling it "an instant classic that illustrates what the true spirit of Christmas is all about (from a secular perspective anyway)." He added that “I have been very surprised by all the negative reactions to this film, mainly focused on the computer graphics and an overall tone that lacks the warm and cheerful tone normally expected from Christmas movies. Personally, I found the computer graphics to be excellent. In fact, they helped tell the story in a way that probably wouldn't have been possible with live actors and sets. " [ 76 ] In his review, Roger Ebertit gave it the maximum score of 4/4 stars and classified it as "a film that does not wear out [over time]." While agreeing with the comments about the "spooky" animation, he compared it to other classics such as The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, noting that "There is a deeper and shaky tone, rather than joy. nonsense of the usual Christmas movie [... One] in which a clever child is not too complacent [...] The Polar Express is a movie for more than one season; will become a perennialshared by generations. It has a magical and haunting quality to it because you've imagined your world fresh and played true to it, avoiding all the boring Christmas clichés kids have inflicted on them at this time of year. The conductor tells the boy hero that he thinks he should get on the train, and I have the same advice for you. [ 77 ]
Hispanic American and Spanish
On the FilmAffinity compilation website, it has a mixed assessment, concluding that “without getting the unanimous applause that on other occasions they gave the great productions of Pixar, Disney or Dreamworks , a few critics considered it failed, others instead predicted that it will be a classic of children's cinema, and the rest agreed that The Polar Express , visually novel and spectacular, has its charm, although it does not arouse passions. [ 78 ]
Although Jesús Palacios, from the Spanish magazine Fotogramas , highlighted the production design of The Polar Express as one of its positive elements, he gave it a 2/5 star rating, concluding that “it has moments, but cutting-edge technology is not enough nor with good intentions. You need humor and common sense. Like several reviews in English, Palacios insisted that the virtual performances had been the worst element of the film, describing them as "unreal and chilling-looking computer clones. The technique capable of shooting with virtual cameras, creating spaces where work travellings , dollies, etc., cannot help but make the protagonists look like awkward rubber dolls, strikingly similar to their human models, but also ominously like chuckies looking for a spectator to engulf . ' [ 79 ] With a similar opinion, Diego Batlle, from the Argentine newspaper La Nación , pointed out that "at times it lacks the charm, sensitivity and emotion of other fantastic children's stories, such as those of Harry Potter ", In addition to cataloging the dialogues as" bombastic. " However, it coincided with Schickel from Timein which "the frenetic pace of the narration of the journey on the express resembles, at times, a roller coaster ride at an amusement park: a lot of adrenaline, but little emotional sustenance." [ 80 ]
In a double review by the newspaper El País by Javier Ocaña and Miguel Ángel Palomo in 2004 and 2016, respectively, the design of the production was highlighted by commenting that “the film is very brilliant, to which is added an exquisite a taste for framing and a great ability to copy digital surrogates for camera movements within the shot "and describe it broadly as" A beautiful and lively illusion ... and] a magnificent experiment in animation. " [ 81 ] [ 82 ] In turn, the Mexican newspaper Milenio cataloged as an "animation [to] revive the Christmas illusions" and one of the five best Christmas ribbons, [ 83] The website Espinof.com described it as "a film that ends up becoming a concatenated succession of various moments that seem taken from the feverish imagination of any expertamusement parkengineer." [ 84 ]
Awards and honours
The Polar Express was nominated for a variety of awards and accolades, including three Oscars in the categories of Best Original Song , Best Sound, and Best Sound Editing at the 2005 ceremony ; a Golden Globe for Best Original Song ; and BAFTA award in the section of Best Animated Feature . In total he won five awards: one as Top Box Office Films for Silvestri at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ; a Bambias an international film for Hanks; a Grammy for Ballard and Silvestre for "Believe", in the category of best song written for a film, television or other visual medium ; and finally a pair of Young Artist Awards for "Outstanding Young Cast in a New Medium" and a Jackie Coogan Award at the same awards gala. [ 85 ]
In addition to the above, since its premiere several have included in their lists of the best Christmas movies, which include BBC Radio 2 , [ 86 ] Business Insider (2015), [ 87 ] Today (2019), [ 88 ] Timeout.com (2020), [ 89 ] Reader's Digest (2020), [ 90 ] and websites GamesRadar + (2020), [ 91 ] and Screenrant.com (2020). [ 92 ]Similarly, in a survey carried out in fifteen states of the United States by the MovieWeb website, in December 2020, The Polar Express was ranked third among the most popular Christmas films of the public in that country, only surpassed by Home Alone (1990) and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). [ 93 ]
On November 26, 2004 THQ released an eponymous video game developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment for the GameCube , Game Boy Advance , PlayStation 2 and Windows platforms . [ 94 ] [ 95 ] Unlike the movie, the plot revolves around puppet Scrooge in their attempts to prevent children from reaching the North Pole and thus stop believing in Santa Claus. [ 96 ] [ 97 ]
Between 2007 and 2015, the simulator- type attraction called Polar Express Experience was available at the SeaWorld Orlando theme park , which emulated the journey on the train that gives the film its name to the North Pole. [ 98 ] In 2009 and 2011 SimEx-Iwerks also distributed a 4D film version in some amusement parks such as Vancouver Aquarium , among others. [ 99 ]
The year after its theatrical release, in November 2005, Warner Bros. released a couple of one- and two-disc DVD editions - the latter with additional material - in both widescreen and full-screen resolution. as well as on VHS . [ 100 ] [ 101 ] [ 102 ] From its distribution on the market until 2015, usually they sold between 100 000 and 600 000 copies of DVD in certain weeks of each year. In December 2020, it ranked 7th in sales in the same format, with more than 57 thousand copies sold at the beginning of the month. [ 103 ]In 2006 it had an additional release on HD DVD , [ 104 ] and a year later it appeared on Blu-ray format . [ 105 ]
Notes and references
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- Kehr, Dave (October 24, 2004). "A Face That Launched a Thousand Chips' (in English) . The New York Times . Retrieved January 24, 2021 .
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- "Domestic Box Office For 2004" (in English) . Box Office Mojo . Retrieved February 2, 2021 .
- Phipps, Keith (November 8, 2004). "The Polar Express" (in English) . Avclub.com . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- Germain, David (November 11, 2004). ' ' Polar Express' comes off a little cold " (in English) . Cjonline.com . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- Morgenstern, Joe (November 12, 2004). "Off the Rails: 'Polar Express' Turns Kids' Christmas Tale Arctic Into High-Tech Waste" (in English) . The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- DeMott, Rick (February 9, 2006). "Incredibles & Win Grammys Polar Express" (in English) . Awn.com . Retrieved January 23, 2021 .
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- Niles, Nate (December 10, 2019). "Rockwell Museum Set to screen" The Polar Express "" (in English) . Mytwintiers.com . Retrieved January 25, 2021 .
- "The Polar Express, the film with a live orchestra" . Teatrodiana.com. December 20, 2019 . Retrieved January 25, 2021 .
- Price, Emily (December 21, 2019). "The Polar Express Is Not Only Real, You Can Ride It" (in English) . Fortune.com . Retrieved January 25, 2021 .
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- «Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment & Shangri-La Entertainment Host the Premiere of 'The Polar Express' Starring Tom Hanks; Sunday, November 7th at Grauman's Chinese Theater» (en inglés). Seeing-stars.com. Consultado el 25 de enero de 2021.
- Wilmington, Michael (October 21, 2004). "The 40th Chicago International Film Festival closes ..." (in English) . Chicago Tribune . Retrieved February 3, 2021 .
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- Bradshaw, Peter (December 4, 2014). "The Polar Express review - to trainful of sugar ' (in English) . The Guardian . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- Schickel, Richard (November 22, 2004). "Movies: All Aboard the Big Train" (in English) . Time . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- Thomson, Desson (November 12, 2004). "Hop Aboard 'The Polar Express ' ' (in English) . The Washington Post . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
- Travers, Peter (November 18, 2004). "The Polar Express" (in English) . Rolling Stone . Retrieved February 4, 2021 .
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- "The Polar Express Experience at SeaWorld Orlando Begins This Friday, November 12th ..." (in English) . Visittampabay.com. November 10, 2010. Archived from the original on November 12, 2014 . Retrieved February 6, 2021 .
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- Chronicled the design process, animation and development of The Polar Express by animator David Schaub (in English) :
- The Polar Express at the Internet Movie Database (in English) .
- The Polar Express in TCM Movie Database (in English) .
- The Polar Express on Rotten Tomatoes .
- The Polar Express at Box Office Mojo (English)