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The Polar Express

The Polar Express

The Polar Express (2004) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film The Polar Express

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>Warner Bros., Castle Rock Entertainment, Playtone, ImageMovers, Golden Mean, Universal CGI
  • Warner Bros., Castle Rock Entertainment, Playtone, ImageMovers, Golden Mean, Universal CGI
  • Animated Characters: Head Waiter, Elves, The Conductor, Hero Boys, Know-It-Alls, Hero Girl, Steamer, Smokey, Lonely Boys, Toothless, Boy on Train, Elf Lieutenants, Elf Singer, Holly, Sister Sarah, Red-Headed Girl, Toothless, Billy, Father, Conductor, Scrooge, Santa Claus, Elf General, Mother.
  • Awards: Academy Award Nominee, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song), "Believe," Music and Lyric by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, 2005.
    Academy Award Nominee, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Randy Thom and Dennis Leonard, 2005.
    Academy Award Nominee, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis Sands and William B. Kaplan, 2005.
    Nominee, People's Choice Award, Favorite Animated Movie, 2005.
    Nominee, Annie, Animated Effects, 2004.
    Nominee, Golden Globe, Best Original Song -- Motion Picture, "Believe," 2005.
    Nominee, Golden Satellite Award, Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media, 2005.
    Nominee, Golden Satellite Award, Best Original Song, "Believe," Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, 2005
    .
  • Originally Released in 2004.
  • Running Time: 100 minutes.
  • TechniColor
  • U.S.A.  U.S.A.

Cartoon Production Information:


3D animation.

This film went very heavily into motion capture, as the entire film was shot with digital cameras in front of a green screen.

The actors acted before the camera as they would a live-action film while covered in motion-capture sensors.

The idea was that every move of the arm, flick of the eyelid and twitch of the lip would be recorded as motion capture data for the digital animators to use in the creation of the actual movie itself.

During the shoot, more than 64 cameras were used to capture the performance of the actors. From there, data were applied to a representation of the CG characters, mapping them within their environments. Next, live-action sensibilities and skill sets were applied, which allowed the director and DP to create a slice of time for each character's performance. This process allowed the director and DP to "drive" and manipulate the virtual camera in the CG environment around the actors' performance, which gave the director the ultimate in precision and unlimited freedom of choice in selecting each shot and frame.

Author Chris Van Allsburg won the Caldecott Medal (for best children's book) for "The Polar Express," which sold two million copies.

Despite this movie's Christmas theme, Van Allsburg is listed in "Contemporary Authors" as Jewish; he converted to Judaism, according to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

The film was dedicated to the memory of actor Michael Jeter, who died in March 2004 after completing voice work as Steamer and Smokey.

Soundtrack: "The Polar Express," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Marissa Blanchard, Darian Bryant, Riley Fansler, Cody Klop and Aria Wallace; "Hot Chocolate," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Tom Hanks; "Spirit of the Season," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Alan Silvestri; "When Christmas Comes to Town," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Matthew Hall and Meagan Moore; "Winter Wonderland," Written by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith, Performed by The Andrews Sisters, Courtesy of Geffen Records, Under License from Universal Music Enterprises; "Silver Bells," Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, Performed by Kate Smith, Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, Under License from BMG Film and TV Music; "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)," Written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman; "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane), Performed by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, Courtesy of Geffen Records, Under License from Universal Music Enterprises; Deck the Halls," Performed by Mario Lanza, Courtesy of BMG Classics, Under License from BMG Film and TV Music; "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas," Written by Meredith Willson, Performed by Perry Como, Courtesy of The RCA Records Label, Under License from BMG Film and TV Music; "Frosty The Snowman," Written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, Performed by Red Foley, Courtesy of Geffen Records, Under License from Universal Music Enterprises; "I'll Be Home For Christmas," Written by Walter Kent, Kim Gannon and Buck Ram; "White Christmas," Written by Irving Berlin, Performed by Bing Crosby, Courtesy of Geffen Records, Under License from Universal Music Enterprises; "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," Written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, Performed by Frank Sinatra, Courtesy of Columbia Records, By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; "Rockin' on Top of the World," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Steven Tyler, Steven Tyler appears courtesy of Columbia Records; "Believe," Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, Performed by Josh Groban, Josh Groban appears courtesy of 143 Records/Reprise Records.


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