• "Polar Express" - Save Your Money; Times

  • Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.
Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by David Benton
well i got asked to sponsor a "special" kid to go see a movie etc next month . the movie , "the polar express" ( so i was glad id read about it here ). , so hopefully they enjoy it .

  by Gilbert B Norman
It is an utter shame that Hollywood must continue to depict railroad safety violations that would require a responsible parent to admonish a child "don't try this...'

'Silver Streak' remake was simply abominable on that point.

Oh, here are "the numbers" a reported by the New York Times (film and weekend Nov 13 box office gross):

1. The Incredibles $51.0M
2. The Polar Express $23.5M
3. After the Sunset $11.6M

  by Ken W2KB
>>e.g., how they steer the train on the ice,<<

Bob, of course the Canadians figured out how to steer a diesel locomotive for a few hundred feet down an icy city street without tracks a few years ago in the aftermath of the severe ice storm that left some areas without electricity for weeks. Diesel was used as a temporary generator for government buildings. :wink:

  by arnstg
Why all the negative comments from people who haven't seen it and are only relying on 2 reviews? Other reviews are much more positive.

See it for yourself like I did with a youngster who gave it 4 out of 5 stars. It may change your attitude.

Gilbert, what is your problem without seeing this movie? It is a fantasy movie aimed at pre-teens. I've mentioned that my 8 year old Grandson gave it 4 out of 5 stars. That is proof to me that it is hitting its target market. Come on, it's a fantasy/dream movie with a G rating.

As I said, take some kids to see it and see what their reaction is.

  by John_Perkowski
Likr Mt arnstg, I'm writing this just after I got home from seeing the movie.

My 15 year old son asked me to take him and thanked me for taking him :D

The locomotive was, indeed, a Baldwin 2-8-4. There's just something about a Baldwin steam dome :)

My best guess, based on the 4 wheel trucks with brass bearings in the journals, is the prototype for these cars were taken from one of the commuter coaches on the eastern seaboard... considering the circular doors, perhaps the Erie??? That would also explain the lack of diaphragms between vestibules. IIRC (Railroad Model Craftsman plans from 1969 or so) Erie Stillwell coaches lacked diaphragms.

The observation lounge car was a trip... The interior reminded me of pictures from the Century or one of the early City obs (Sun Valley perhaps?). The exterior, as well as looking at the observation rounding from the interior, reminded me of the George M Pullman experimental lightweight of 1933.

Of course, a semicircular platform on the obs can only come from fiction or Lionel (close enough ;) ).

Slack action was appropriate for the heavyweight cars, if a tad overdone.

When Tom Hanks put out the step box in the denouement, it was pure Pullman ("Decorate the platform, porters!")

As far as the theme of the movie went, I'm a Christian. It is sad to see the secularization of the holiday that brought God to earth, to live and die for us and our sin.

Will I see it again? Yes.

John Perkowski

arnstg wrote:Took the Daughter-in-law and 8 year old Grandson to see the movie today.

The Daughter -in-Law and I agree that it took about 20-25 minutes for us to really get into the movie. After you take the movie for what it is,we agreed that it was enjoyable.I"m a sentimental fool and a little tear came down when the boy finds a silver bell under the tree.

In the end, there was only one vote that counted. My Grandson gave it
4 out of 5 stars.

Could find from RR standpoint 3 things that caught my eye.

1. Train usually had 5 cars. However, I think I caught once with only 4 cars. Also, caught it going up the mountain with 10+ cars.

2. No diaphragms between cars.

3. The worst was the children chasing the moving train to get on. The Daughter-in-Law and I both immediately turned to my Grandson and told him to NEVER try this.

On the whole , I recommend this movie.

  by Guest
John_Perkowski wrote:As far as the theme of the movie went, I'm a Christian. It is sad to see the secularization of the holiday that brought God to earth, to live and die for us and our sin.
I don't see any conflict. When I grew up, around 40 years ago, Santa Claus used to visit our church!

(ob-Railroad: The church was just a few blocks from the Rahway Valley Railroad.)
  by Steel Wheel
As an adult you need an imagination. So if you have one you will enoy this movie.

  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Arnstg--

First let it be noted:
  • 1) I do not have any children/grandchildren

    2) I very simply "don't go to the movies"
Therefore, all I know about the production is as follows:
  • 1) It was panned by both my 'daily reads': The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

    2) Even the advertisments depict railroad safety violations; a child (uh, not exactly a railroad employee) walking atop a railcar.

    3) Absurdities, such as the train X-ing an icefield and ascending a not less than 30% grade up a mountain, are reportedly depicted.
As an aside, points 2 and 3 are equally applicable to both Silver Streak I & II - both abominable absurdities that I have seen.

Accordingly, I have drawn the conclusions expressed; I must acknowledge, I'm not "really into' either fantasies or comedies.

But when it hits the movie channels sometime next year, assuming HBO or Starz (unless I have chosen to subscribe to Showtime as well by then), I guess I'll watch it.

  by Guest
Your points #2 and #3 are silly. Yeah, they go downhill skiing on the top of the train, too. I'm sure this movie will inspire kids to try out skiing on trains. And there's a big city at the north pole. Since that's absurd, the movie is worthless.

Jeez, don't be an idiot.

Regarding #1, the NY Times reviewer obviously has mental problems and needs medical attention. And anyone who trusts the WSJ for movie reviews also needs their head examined.

But it's a free country, so if you don't think you'd like the movie, don't see it. Go see something like Spongebob instead.

  by arnstg
Fair enough Gilbert. What say we meet for Breakfast or Lunch sometime and talk about it since we are about 6+ miles from each other. I have seen your various other posts on here and I am deeply impressed with you knowledge and would enjoy talking with you.

Probably easiest to send an E-Mail to me as available below.

Regards, Jerry

  by David Benton
Took my girlfriend and her 2 boys ( 5 years and 3 years old ) to see it this afternoon .
I enjoyed it ,i'm not a regular movie goer , (my usual kid movie exprience is watching videos with my nephews at xmas) , but id recomend seeing it on the big screen . visually stunning , even exciting , certainly for the kids .
From a railroad point of view , it was my first close view of the american trap door system (assuming it was reasonably accurate ) ,and it certainly gave the flavour of old time railroad service . The refreshment service has to be seen to be believed, very well done , and if amtrak could match that , they wouldnt have to worry about bored passengers !
As far as safety goes , i think its so much of a fantasy film , that there is little danger of kids trying anything they see in real life .

  by Aa3rt
Gentlemen, I appreciate the candid discussion here but, after all, we are discussing a children's movie-PLEASE-let's refrain from name calling (idiot) and innuendo.

I was away from the computer yesterday, spending the day after Thanksgiving with my brother and his family, southwest of Richmond, VA. (I only mention this as the trip down always affords a lot of trainspotting opportunities.)

My sister-in-law is a school teacher and accompanied her class to a showing of the movie. She reports that the children were all thrilled with the movie. She also said that the narrative provided at the beginning of the movie by one of the passengers about the specifics of the locomotive and train reminded her of my brother and I, both avid railway enthusiasts.

Like Mr. Norman, I have no children (my stepson is 34) and haven't set foot in a movie theatre in years, since I took my wife and stepson to see "ET" during it's original showing in the early 1980's. (Many of today's "celebrities" would still be waiting tables or parking cars if they had to rely on the likes of me to spend their hard-earned dollars on "entertainment".)

Unlike Mr. Norman, I do like some comedies-using Shemp Howard as my icon attests to that. In fact, I'm a big Three Stooges fan (much to my mother's chagrin) but in 50+ years I've NEVER performed an eye poke or hit anyone in the head with a large pipe wrench (although the thought is sometimes tempting) because I was influnced by a Stooges film. I trust that most folks can seperate fantasy from reality-even easily influenced youth.

I will probably see this movie if/when it is shown on cable and reserve judgement until then.

Let's keep the discussion respectful-it's fine to disagree but please do so in a mature manner.
Last edited by Aa3rt on Sat Nov 27, 2004 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Guest
I was going to take my daughter to see the movie in IMAX 3D yesterday. When I explained that she'd have to wear the (electronic, with LCD shutters) glasses, she said she can see just fine without glasses. I couldn't convince her that these were "special" glasses, and she'd need them to see the movie. I even showed her pictures of kids wearing the glasses on the 'Net, but she said she wouldn't wear them. She's very stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from :-) ) and I knew we'd have trouble at the IMAX theatre, so I just gave up. I'll have to see the movie in 3D on my own.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Let us be guided by our Moderator's wisdom around here.

All I ask is that the record show that I have never said "don't waste your money' on it, even if reviewers from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal implied such.

Naturally, if a professional production company "set up shop' along a heavily trafficed ROW and set "the action' to an appripriate musical score (imagine footage of Amtrak #5 Zephyr ascending the Rockies to the score of Fortuna Imperatrix from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana), I would be down at Navy Rier (closest I-MAX venue I know) "in a heartbeat".

As I noted earlier 'I don't go to movies" (exceptions, such as I went to Farenheit 911 because I was going to visit friends who "do not exactly support' our incumbent President and I knew they wished to discuss the film), and as such I cannot in good conscience offer any personal opinion whether or not to see the production we are addressing. I merely reported to the Forum the AFAIC neqative reviews of both my "daily reads", and in the case of the Times, provided a link (Journal site is subscription).

OK are we all cool? Mr. Scheurle, be it assured, you are quite welcome to post over at my Amtrak Forum.

Moderator, Amtrak Forum