'The Polar Express' Critic Reviews

85%
MovieWeb:   7 reviews
56%
Rotten Tomatoes:   197 reviews
  • Sean O'Connell MovieWeb (Top Critic)
    40
    Zemeckis would rather perfect the breathtaking journey of a lost train ticket than craft an accurate human response to a child's face-to-face with St. Nick
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    50
    I only wish there were more of the disorienting -- more of the silently, hypnotically Van Allsburgian -- and less of the flat, linear, polished, technical brilliance with which this big-ticket vehicle runs its route.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    30
    Based on the children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, this computer-animated feature is a grave and disappointing failure, as much of imagination as of technology.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    63
    Simple and evocative, yet teeming with intriguing visual effects.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    A truly satisfying holiday picture, the kind everyone can enjoy, and which may even restore a little lost childhood in many adult viewers.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Jennifer Frey Washington Post (Top Critic)
    Not only do Van Allsburg's darkly magical illustrations come to glorious life in the film; so, too, do his familiar words.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    A holiday oddity of the first rank: a breathtaking visual feast peopled by dead-eyed mannequins.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Ed Park Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Unnervingly smooth, mouths moving in strange, even frightening formations, the Polar people are the least convincing things on-screen, glaring impostors amid the otherwise painstakingly rendered scenery.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Jack Mathews New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    88
    It's a sensation -- both a milestone in computer-animation and a likely Christmas classic.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Bruce Westbrook Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    75
    A wondrous, dazzling, eye-popping adventure.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Philip Wuntch Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    75
    The Polar Express is a stunning technological achievement and, for the most part, a stirring emotional one.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    100
    Polar Express honors its source, then exceeds it.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Logan Hill New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    Strap yourself in and try not to vomit, because this is more of a theme-park event than a movie -- Pirates of the Caribbean in reverse, a wild ride stripped of its story, down to a rattling series of obvious, underwhelming effects.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    100
    There's a deeper, shivery tone, instead of the mindless jolliness of the usual Christmas movie.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    Faithful to its source but stretches it to the snapping point.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    63
    Visually, taking its cues (mostly) from Van Allsburg's Hopperesque art, The Polar Express is eye-popping. Storywise, however, it can be eyelid-drooping.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Jeff Strickler Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    Entertaining and innovative animated film.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    34
    Zombies have their place, but not in Christmas movies.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    50
    It is a cold, distant and failed experiment, with a molasses-mired plotline and an obvious moral forced upon us like a mug of bad eggnog.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Without a trace of real live people, you get special effects that are not special, visual talking points without personality, virtual reality that is anything but real.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • David Rooney Variety (Top Critic)
    The Polar Express may succeed via the motion-capture process in replicating human movement by digitalizing the performances of live actors, but it fails to capture the subtlety of facial expressions or to fabricate sympathetic, evocative figures.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Megan Lehmann New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Devoid of 21st-century irony, this visually stunning, action-packed yuletide treat is sweet and, yes, magical in a way that will enchant kids and give older viewers a twinge of nostalgia.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Jay Boyar Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    100
    Climb on and you'll experience one of the great joys of moviegoing: seeing something that's like nothing you've ever seen before.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Geoff Pevere Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    40
    If I were a kid, I'd have nightmares. Come to think of it, I did anyway.
    Full Review » 9 years ago
  • Rick Groen Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    88
    I loved watching this movie; I loved even more watching children hugging mothers watching this movie.
    Full Review » 9 years ago