The Polar Express Blu-ray Review | High Def Digest
goldkey.info: The Polar Express [Blu-ray]: Tom Hanks, Nona Gaye, Peter Scolari, Language: English (Dolby Digital ); Subtitles: English, Spanish, French General Audience; Studio: WarnerBrothers; DVD Release Date: October goldkey.info: The Polar Express (Single Disc Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo): Dubbed: English, French, Spanish; Region: All Regions; Number of discs: 1; Rated: G. General Audience; Studio: WarnerBrothers; DVD Release Date: November The Polar Express Blu-ray (): Starring Tom Hanks, Eddie Deezen and Charles Spanish: Dolby Digital English, English SDH, French, Spanish.
But apparently many others love this stuff. However, technically, 'The Polar Express' is a beautiful-looking film.
If nothing else, this is likely the best this film will ever look outside of a gargantuan, foot-plus IMAX screen.
As a direct-to-digital transfer, of course the source material is absolutely flawless. Physical imperfections such as dropouts, blemishes, dirt and grain just don't exist in this world. And since every last pixel of the picture was created entirely in a computer, the image has that impossibly stable and consistent look that only animated features can have.
That said, the transfer has a somewhat misty sheen to it that is entirely intentional. This may not be absolutely razor-sharp like some other animated features, but it faithfully replicates both of the theatrical showings of the film I saw. And make no mistake, it is a very sharp, detailed picture. Depth is often exquisite, with even the most minute image details apparent, from texture on snowflakes in wide shots to the finely-crafted buildings and landscapes of the North Pole.
Texture, too, is often extraordinary for a CGI-animated film. The various clothing, such as the felt and fur of Santa's suit, are amazingly life-like and realistic.
The Polar Express - Blu-ray DVD
If I have any hesitation in giving this one top marks, it is because I tend to prefer colors that are not too pumped up. However, I saw no chroma noise or bleeding even on the toughest hues, such as the rich reds of Santa's outfit. The majority of the film also boasts incredibly rich "fleshtones," as oranges bath the characters in an almost heavenly glow. I also admired the rich blue-purples of the nighttime scenes, and the the film's third act at the North Pole is flush with a wide palette of gorgeous primary colors.
Technical aspects of the mix are also excellent. Dynamic range and low-bass extension impress, with the chugging of the train a particular highlight. Likewise, Alan Silvestri's score is nicely balanced throughout, filling out the front speakers to great effect.
The film's somewhat eerie dialogue is always front and center in the mix, and I never once had to do any volume adjustments to compensate.
Warner includes all the same extras as the previous HD DVD, which itself was a port of the old standard-def disc release. It's a decent package, but nothing special, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a double dip for this title sometime in the next few years.
The Polar Express HD DVD Review | High-Def Digest
The heart of the making-of material focuses on the film's groundbreaking motion-control capture technology. Hanks also had to act with himself, as he played most of the roles in the movie.
I know some people find Hanks annoying, but this featurette certainly showcases his considerable talents. This couldn't have been easy.
The Polar Express Blu-ray
Hosted by uber-geek Eddie Deezen a long-time Robert Zemeckis regular, though he's perhaps best known for having been in 'Grease'this is an informative if sometimes dry overview.
The five categories covered are: In addition to 'The Polar Express,' Van Allsburg also penned 'Jumanji' and 'Zathura,' and clearly seems to be a man of great heart and character. He's the kid we love to be annoyed with, just as he annoys us with irrelevant factoids. While I'm on the subject of the kids, I should give special mention to "Lonely Boy. This year, when it is probably his last opportunity before he is too old to believe in Santa, he awakes, not to see and hear the sleigh arrive, but to be invited on an exciting train ride to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus himself.
Unlike other children who might have their own version of the "dream" where their wish for this or that present is realized in the morning, our hero boy's dream is about believing.
All during the train ride, he doubts his own senses.The Polar Express - "Skiing on the Roof / Flat Top Tunnel" (HD 1080p)
He wants to believe, but can't quite make the leap, despite having a number of vivid, thrilling adventures on the train. The metaphor for his conversion to the faithful is the bell from Santa's sleigh, which he hears at last and that Santa gives him as a present.
Of course, the boy loses the bell before he awakens to the evidence confirming that it had all been a dream. He and his younger sister hear the bell, but his parents do not; and so the movie closes with the voiceover of the boy who had been telling the story from his vantage as an adult saying that while others grow up no longer able to hear the bell, he still does, as can anyone who still believes.
It's all so warm and fuzzy, I feel a bit grinchy for asking a question, probably not asked by your typical six or seven year old: Believes what, and to what purpose?
If, in the story's waking reality that is, the part of the story that takes place before and after the journey on the Polar Expressthe bell is retrieved and returned by Santa, what is there not to believe?
This is like having a religious vision or a sensation that you've been kidnapped by aliens and, upon returning to your former physical plane, you retain evidence that cannot be explained away, like being able to speak in Aramaic or possessing a metal not found on this planet.
The Polar Express
What would be not to believe? It's harder to believe, and it's more meaningful, if you return with little more than your memory of the adventure and what you make of it. Perhaps this is merely the difference between an "adult" drama and a childish one, but I think it can't be explained away so easily. George Bailey, with the help of his guardian angel, is permitted to see the difference his having lived has made in the lives of others, something we in the audience hardly needed to be convinced of even though we believe in the depth of his doubt and despair.
Ebenezer Scrooge sees the implications of his miserly life telescoped into a single night, a night during which he no longer has the usual comforts of his miserable work to distract from the truth.
George and Ebenezer return from their magical experiences only with the memory of an intense gaze — there are no relics — and yet they are changed for all time. She has understanding enough to question, doubt, and comprehend — in her terms. Not satisfied with Kris Kringle's having brought about the miracle of Macy and Gimble shaking hands, offering to ditch their usual commercialism, we get the clincher at the end of the movie: