Will You Join Me on a Journey Through the Uncanny Valley Aboard The Polar Express?

I know it’s the middle of Summer, but I don’t control the muse who flows through me, so take it up with them. Anyways, let’s get into it. Over the years, I have watched close to 1,000 movies, which is by no means exceptional, but I’ve always considered myself to be someone who loves film. However, in viewing all of these various movies, there have been some that have stuck in my mind for years for lots of different reasons. Whether it is the score, the cinnamontography, or just the vibe of the movie, those are the movies I always come back to. Over time, they end up becoming my favorite films. All except one.

If you read the title or saw the adjacent picture, you already know I am talking about The Polar Express. But, you don’t why I am talking about it yet, so let me enlighten you. The uncanny valley factor is far too high for this film to be enjoyable. Don’t worry, I have evidence, as well as one question – will you join me on a journey through the uncanny valley aboard The Polar Express?

Let’s start right at the beginning. I can’t explain it, but the parents in the first scene of the movie freak me out. They don’t feel real. Not in the animated sense, but like they don’t have souls. Next time you watch this movie, look at those parents’ silhouettes and tell me they don’t look abandoned by God.

Next up, we gotta talk about our main boy, Hero-Boy as he is apparently named (thanks Wikipedia). First of all, the fact that this tiny little baby boy who is supposed to be like 7 years old is played by Tom Hanks, a full grown man. That is unsettling alone. But the fact that he looks like a full grown man himself with his little button down shirt and robe. What a freak.

Here’s the thing though, if the movie just had him and some nightmarish adults it would be fine. Is that what they ended up doing? No, of course not. They had to create a whole rug-rats crew of horrors, each in a different nook or cranny of the uncanny valley. Why did the animators do this? And why don’t any of them have names?

Last, and certainly not least, is the puppet scene. If you weren’t scarred by this as a child or young teen, good for you. I’m sure you are a lot more fun at dinner parties. I, however, was irreparably damaged both mentally and spiritually by the experience of seeing those puppets in the theater from behind my 3D glasses. Kind of ruined Christmas for me, if we’re being honest.

See, wasn’t that fun? Thanks for coming along! Next week we’ll tackle Coraline.


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