Your Daily Dose of Christmas

 The Polar Express is rather a polarizing movie, mostly because of the style of animation Robert Zemeckis used in making it. The landscapes and a whole lot of the film’s compositions are frankly gorgeous, and the story is (for me, anyway) fun, fleshing out what is a classic picture book in which not a whole lot happens. (This is not a criticism of the book, by the way! It’s a picture book that’s about 30 pages long, and the main attraction there is the amazing art.)

What turns people off Polar Express seems to be one big factor, but it’s not one you can really escape if it does bother you: the characters’ eyes, which in this style of digital-capture animation tend to look…glassy, lifeless, dead. The eyes look unblinking and like what you’d see in a doll. This never impedes my enjoyment of the movie, but I can’t argue with people who react strongly against the movie on that basis, either.

And all of that has nothing to do with the music, which is wonderful and amazing. This is one of the best scores Alan Silvestri has written, and for me it’s absolutely a Christmas classic. Silvestri blends engaging action music with quotes of traditional material and his own gorgeously sweeping melody that’s all about the magic of this time of year.

It’s almost here! Can you still hear the ringing of that bell?

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