Monday, July 20, 2009

The Polar Express - December 2004

Is it just me or is anyone else bothered by totally secular Christmas movies? "The Polar Express," like many Christmas movies and TV shows, is based on what I call the Department Store Christmas – all presents, lights and wrapping paper. It is also equal parts supernatural and ghost story, but what bothered me most of all was its creepiness.

The filmmakers used a new animation method called 'Motion Capture.' It’s a technique where they digitize the movements of real actors and have the computers draw in the details. Wouldn’t it just be easier to film live actors? Never mind my cynicism. Motion capture makes for funky looking people – some parts super-real and some parts grotesque (it can’t do hands, although neither can some artists). If "The Polar Express" had been made in standard animation or live action, it could have been very good, but with its odd story and odd animation, I’ve gotta warn you not to hop on that train.

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