The Polar Express (2004) was currently a lovely story when Robert Zemeckis adapted it into his an initial fully-animated feature. Based upon the classic 1985 children"s publication by kris Van Allsburg, it follows a young Santa Claus skeptic top top a magical train ride come the north Pole top top Christmas Eve. Indigenous its hidden references to its groundbreaking usage of technology, here are some things you could not know about the struggle film.

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1. The the very first movie filmed totally with motion capture.

Motion capture—the process by i m sorry filmmakers animate personalities using recordings the live-action movements—was tho a relatively new an approach in 2004. Once making The Polar Express, Robert Zemeckis chose to usage the modern technology to the full degree by animating every personality this way. According to Guinness people Records, the film to be the very first all-motion capture film ever made.

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

Motion record has come to be a popular an approach in high-budget movies that mix CGI and also live action, however it failed to take off in man features. One reason may be the human characters animated in a hyper-realistic style tend come border on the slightly creepy side. Doubters described the human personalities in The Polar Express as dead-eyed and also zombie-like, and the movie is still brought up together a prime example of the so-called "uncanny valley" (the unsettling feeling that people have when interacting with androids or other super-realistic humanoid simulations).

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

Like most of the youngsters in the film, the main character is never offered a name. He’s simply detailed in the credits as “Hero Boy.” Other characters were offered a comparable treatment, v names like Hero Girl, Know-It-All, and also Sister Sarah.

4. Tom Hanks played five characters.

In addition to the lead boy, Tom Hanks played the character’s dad, the conductor, the hobo, and also Santa Claus in The Polar Express, bringing his complete character count as much as five. Since the movie to be made using motion capture, Hanks had actually to act out each component on a soundstage and also speak the lines. In instances where 2 of his personalities would re-publishing the screen, Hanks would need to act the contrary a stand-in before switching to his second duty to movie the rest of the scene.

5. 3 actors carried the key character to life.

Two actors lent their vocal talents to the Hero Boy—Tom Hanks, who plays the character as the adult narrator, and also Spy Kids star Daryl Sabara, that voices him together a child. There to be a third actor who not noted in the voice credits however who still played a huge part in making the Hero boy feel real. In addition to Tom Hanks, The Hunger Games star josh Hutcherson, who was just 12 year old as soon as the film was released, go motion catch work the was supplied to animate the character.

6. There are nods come Back come the Future.

Robert Zemeckis has directed number of blockbusters over his career, yet Back to the Future (1985) is indeed one the his many beloved contributions to cinema. Sharp-eyed viewers will notification that the director inserted some recommendations to the previously film into The Polar Express. In the start of the animated movie, we’re presented a picture of Santas ~ above strike external the pair Pines Mall—the same location where Marty McFly effectively time travels because that the very first time. There’s additionally a flux capacitor hidden on the wall surface of the train’s engine room (which have the right to be watched in the clip above).

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

Unless you have a deep expertise of Zemeckis’s childhood, this Easter egg most likely flew over your head. Towards the beginning of The Polar Express, the conductor shouts out what sounds prefer a arbitrarily address: 11344 Edbrooke. This is actually the attend to of the residence where Zemeckis prospered up in Chicago.

8. The Polar Express to be modeled ~ a actual train.

Warner Brothers

It doesn’t take passengers straight to the phibìc Pole, yet a real-life variation of the Polar Express go exist in Owosso, Michigan. When trying to find a locomotive to offer as a model for the one in the movie, filmmakers chose the Pere Marquette 1225, among the largest operational vapor trains in the nation at the time. The movie crew took motivation from whatever from the look of the engine to the sound of its activities when producing the CGI Polar Express. The Pere Marquette 1225 tho takes passenger on pleasure rides under the surname “The phibìc Pole Express” every year approximately the holidays.

9. Yes an homage to railroad history.

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The level of information that got in the Polar to express train itself no the only part of the movie that will pleasure railfans. In the phibìc Pole, the filmmakers snuck in a couple of references come locomotive history. The architecture in the city is modeled after the former Chicago firm town because that Pullman Palace car Co., i m sorry was among the biggest American railcar manufacturers in the 19th century.