Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

11/11/2004

Polar Express

Filed under: — stan @ 5:07 pm

I had a day off work, and Lucinda had a day off school. So we all went to the movies. We went to the new AMC megaplex in Santa Anita Mall. We wanted to see “The Incredibles”, but it was sold out. So instead, we saw “The Polar Express”. This was described in Salon as “a creeping horror”, by the Los Angeles Times as “creepy”, and the Boston Globe as “merely a marvelous toy that has somehow become convinced it has a soul”. But Lucinda wanted to see it, so we went in.

It wasn’t bad, although I could see why people found it both creepy and overly-loud. We all wore snack-bar-napkin earplugs, and it was still too loud at times. And a lot of the movie had the feeling that it was only there to either pad out the story and make it longer, or just to show off some neat effect that they could do with the computer animation. And the computer animation was pretty good. It’s come a long way over the last few years. And it’s almost good enough for this movie. It’s good enough to render a reasonably believable human who is standing 6 or 8 feet away from the ‘camera’. It’s still not quite good enough to render a fully-believable human close-up. That was the origin of the reviewers’ creeps, and the reason The Boston Globe described the movie as “a breathtaking visual feast peopled by dead-eyed mannequins”. The close-up humans are just not good enough yet.

But none of that really matters all that much to a five-year-old. Lucinda enjoyed the movie, so in the end that’s all that really mattered to us.

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