The Polar Express (2004) was already a lover story as soon as Robert Zemeckis adapted it into his an initial fully-animated feature. Based upon the standard 1985 children"s publication by kris Van Allsburg, it follows a young Santa Claus skeptic top top a magical train ride to the north Pole on Christmas Eve. Native its hidden references to its groundbreaking use of technology, below are some points you could not know about the fight film.

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1. That the first movie filmed totally with motion capture.

Motion capture—the procedure by i m sorry filmmakers animate personalities using recordings the live-action movements—was quiet a reasonably new technique in 2004. When making The Polar Express, Robert Zemeckis determined to use the modern technology to the full extent by animating every character this way. Follow to Guinness world Records, the film was the very first all-motion capture film ever made.

2. The animation wasn"t a hit v everyone.

Motion capture has end up being a popular an approach in high-budget movies that mix CGI and also live action, however it failed come take turn off in man features. One reason may be the human characters animated in a hyper-realistic format tend come border ~ above the contempt creepy side. Doubters described the human characters in The Polar Express together dead-eyed and also zombie-like, and also the film is still carried up as a prime instance of the so-called "uncanny valley" (the unsettling feeling that human being have when communicating with androids or various other super-realistic humanoid simulations).

3. The main boy doesn’t have actually a name.

Like most of the youngsters in the film, the key character is never given a name. He’s simply noted in the credits together “Hero Boy.” Other personalities were given a comparable treatment, through names choose Hero Girl, Know-It-All, and also Sister Sarah.

4. Tom Hanks played 5 characters.

In addition to the command boy, Tom Hanks played the character’s dad, the conductor, the hobo, and also Santa Claus in The Polar Express, happen his complete character count approximately five. Since the movie was made using activity capture, Hanks had actually to act the end each part on a soundstage as well as speak the lines. In situations where two of his personalities would re-superstructure the screen, Hanks would need to act the contrary a stand-in before switching to his second function to movie the rest of the scene.

5. 3 actors carried the key character to life.

Two gibbs lent their vocal talent to the Hero Boy—Tom Hanks, that plays the character together the adult narrator, and also Spy Kids star Daryl Sabara, that voices him as a child. There to be a 3rd actor who not listed in the voice credits but who still play a huge part in make the Hero young feel real. In addition to Tom Hanks, The Hunger Games star josh Hutcherson, who was just 12 year old once the film to be released, walk motion capture work that was supplied to animate the character.

6. There are nods to Back to the Future.

Robert Zemeckis has actually directed numerous blockbusters over his career, yet Back to the Future (1985) is undoubtedly one the his most beloved contribute to cinema. Sharp-eyed viewers will notification that the director placed some referrals to the earlier film into The Polar Express. In the start of the animated movie, we’re displayed a picture of Santas top top strike exterior the twin Pines Mall—the same place where Marty McFly properly time travels for the first time. There’s also a flux capacitor covert on the wall surface of the train’s engine room (which deserve to be viewed in the clip above).

7. The director’s hometown it s okay a shout-out.

Unless you have a deep knowledge of Zemeckis’s childhood, this Easter egg most likely flew over her head. Toward the start of The Polar Express, the conductor shouts out what sounds favor a random address: 11344 Edbrooke. This is actually the deal with of the house where Zemeckis grew up in Chicago.

8. The Polar Express to be modeled after ~ a real train.


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Warner Brothers

It doesn’t take it passengers directly to the north Pole, but a real-life variation of the Polar Express go exist in Owosso, Michigan. When trying to find a locomotive to offer as a version for the one in the movie, filmmakers chose the Pere Marquette 1225, among the largest operational steam trains in the nation at the time. The film crew took motivation from everything from the look of the engine come the sound that its movements when developing the CGI Polar Express. The Pere Marquette 1225 tho takes passengers on satisfied rides under the surname “The north Pole Express” every year roughly the holidays.

9. There’s an homage to railroad history.

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The level of information that got in the Polar to express train itself isn’t the only part of the movie the will joy railfans. In the phibìc Pole, the filmmakers snuck in a few references come locomotive history. The style in the city is modeled after ~ the former Chicago company town because that Pullman Palace auto Co., which was one of the greatest American railcar manufacturers in the 19th century.