It’s five minutes to midnight. The train pulls into the street as whips of snow follow behind. Surprisingly, no one other than a little boy awakens to greet the mechanical beast. When confronted by the conductor with an, “All aboard!” the boy doesn’t know what to do. He sees the train as a curiosity. He doesn’t intend to hop aboard for a ride.
When the conductor (Tom Hanks) says it is the Polar Express heading to the North Pole, the boy’s willingness to abandon his apprehension escalates. After all, the North Pole is where Santa Claus supposedly lives. He’s at the point where he thinks Santa’s a fake. But it isn’t until the train begins to chug-chug-chug away that the boy calls to take him with them.
The film The Polar Express is the perfect Christmas movie. The cold atmosphere captures the essence of the Holiday season. A view inside the train offers the audience a warm setting featuring a comfy front seat with other kids eager to see Santa’s home.
Filled with adventure, the story carries Hero Boy from his home, somewhere in America, to the desolate tundra at the top of the world. All of it happening while the clock’s big hand rests at five minutes to midnight.
For Hero Boy though, aside from being a stranger on the train, he sees things with open eyes—not as how he’d like to see it. Ghosts would frighten other ten-year-olds, but not Hero Boy. To him, ghosts are like regular people. He can talk to them and not feel the need to run away, regardless of what anyone else says.
Halfway through the trip, Hero Boy plays a key role saving the Polar Express from utter destruction. He also attempts to aid one of the other kids less fortunate than he by lending a helping hand.
Hero Boy’s main purpose, however, is to disprove Santa. He hasn’t seen Santa. All he’s seen is a mechanical Santa in the window of a department store dropping presents in a fake loot bag. Then there is the time where he researched that the North Pole is barren and desolate. No way could anyone live there, let alone make all the world’s Christmas presents. Certainly, someone ought to have seen Santa by now.
The purity with Hero Boy’s character lies with his genuine need to find the truth. He does not take the first explanation as the truth. He digs, scours, examines carefully what he finds, then makes a logical decision of whether Santa does or does not exist.
And in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Hero Boy extends his faith to believe. It is only then Santa becomes real to him.
What are your thoughts about The Polar Express and Hero Boy?