The performances captured are fantastic.... Robert Zemeckis directs the film with epic dramatic flourish and attention to the minutiae of detailRoger Ebert says this film
And The Polar Express is whichever way you look at it – technically, artistically, in terms of all the expected plaintive emotion of seasonal family entertainment – a magical film.
is a movie for more than one season; it will become a perennial, shared by the generations. It has a haunting, magical quality because it has imagined its world freshly and played true to it, sidestepping all the tiresome Christmas cliches that children have inflicted on them this time of year. The conductor tells Hero Boy he thinks he really should get on the train, and I have the same advice for you.CNN calls it "Technology brilliant" but says it "should be subtitled "The Night of the Living Dead." The characters are that frightening." The New York Times describes it as "a grave and disappointing failure, as much of imagination as of technology". Salon.com says, "Beware the creeping horror that is “The Polar Express.”" Rolling Stone says, "it seems Scroogish to spoil the party. But the movie just doesn't work." The BBC warns against it, saying, "Besides its dead-eyed cast, this 'animated' escapade is thrown off the tracks by pointless detours seemingly intended just to stretch the journey time". EW doesn't like how different the film is from the book. It gets a score of 56% at Rotten Tomatoes.