"One thing about trains: it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on" quotes the Conductor (Voice & Motion Capture Performance from Tom Hanks). I'm sorry to say this, but I can't get aboard with this 3D CGI animation kid's movie, about a young unnamed boy (Voice by Daryl Sabara, but motion capture performance also done by Tom Hanks), having to travel to the North Pole, in order to renewed his faith in Santa Claus (Also voice and motion capture performance by Tom Hanks). The disbelief story felt a little too manipulative & force. After all, that part of the story was too extreme, it didn't match the levels of the children book of the same name by author, Chris Van Allsburg, which also happens to be the source material for this film. It's really does seem like that part of the movie, was made for some evangelical religious convicting agenda, rather than fans of the book. For example, there is a lot of padding scenes, in the movie, where a ghost (once again voice and motion capture performance by Tom Hanks) scares and shames the mostly innocent young boy into believing in Golly St. Nick; as if he was Ebenezer Scrooge, a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old moneylender from Charles Dicken's 'Christmas Carol', rather than a child who just thinking straight & coming to age. Who says, not being too naive & gullibly is a bad thing? After all, isn't teaching our children to be smart, better then, teaching them to go blindly into the night with strangers. How is that wrong!? Going with conviction, without asking any questions, is how cults are built. Even if this movie wasn't made to brain wash, anybody, the bright light god-like appearance of the Kris Kringle later in the film giving out the bell as if its first communion, doesn't help, swag the argument away. Instead, it brings the issue, even closer. It's pretty clear, by all the religious overtones, that this movie is in-fact, a faith-based movie, hidden under a capture the holiday spirit, type of vibe. Anybody that says otherwise, is truly blinded by the smoke & mirrors. It's not a Christmas movie. It's a 'Christ'-mas film. In the end, it's still highly exploited. Very unbalanced. Not only that, but the movie has way too much 3D gimmick rollercoaster style actions scenes like the Glacier Gulch sequence, that goes against, everything that Chris Van Allsburg was trying to say, in his calm, relaxing storyline of the book. The film wasn't as slow & whimsical, as it should had been, because of that. Added to that, was the amount of action sequences that was totally pointlessness. Honestly, you can cut away all of the scenes where the child struggles to find, another child, train ticket, with the ghost on the roof; you would still end up in the same place in the end. It doesn't affecting the story significantly. All of this padding, really hurts, the pacing. Its leaves too many plot-holes, such as why the conductor walk over the roof of the train instead of just walking through the train to get to the engine room or what happen to the dancing hot-chocolate waiters? In the end, the 32 pages book that can be read in less than 10 minutes, should had never been made into a full-length 100 minutes movie. It leaves too many unanswered questions. Instead, 'Polar Express' should had work better, as a short animation film. Don't get me wrong, I give the filmmakers for taking a risk, in providing the world, the first live action motion capture animation & doing a good job in the background to preserve the look of Allsburg's lovely oil pastels illustrations from the book. However, I thought, the movie would had work better with the same hand-drawn animation that 1982's short film 'the Snowman' or 2006's short movie 'Little Match Girl' had. Better yet, go live-action. Why, because this movie has fallen in the subconscious effect called the Uncanny Valley. The exaggerated caricatures of human beings in this film is highly creepy. It just doesn't look right. Sadly, director, Robert Zemeckis didn't get the memo as he would directed, two more films with that style, 2007's 'Beowulf' & 2009's 'Christmas Carol'. As for the voice acting, it was mostly alright; yet again, I can do without Tom Hanks's voicing the ghost hobo, as well, as Santa Claus. It was very jarring to see him, do multiply roles and they were way too hammy. Another character's voice that should had been cut, was the know-It-All kid (Voice by Eddie Deezen & Motion Capture by Jimmy Pinchak). His voice got a little too annoying, toward the end. As for the music. I love composer, Alan Silvestri's theme for the film, even if its suite sounds too similar to Danny Elfman's Ice Dance theme to 1991's 'Edward Scissorhand'. As for the songs; it just didn't work with me. The 'Hot Chocolate' number was an awful lazy written song with annoying repetitive lyrics and jazzy hook that comes out of nowhere. Then, there is 'When Christmas Comes to Town', a ballad duet that sounds really generic. It's highly forgettable, along with Josh Groban's 'Believe' that sounds too much of a guy reading the spoilers than singing. The only song, I kinda like, was the 'Polar Express' theme. The tune was catchy. As for the covers of classic Christmas songs. It was nice to hear them, nevertheless, I can do, without 'Rockin' on the Top of the World'; it was lackluster, and doesn't match, with the theme of timelessness. Plus, seeing Aerosmith's Steven Tyler as an elf was awkward as hell. In the end, this movie just doesn't capture the same magic of Caldecott Award winning book. It was just disappointing. Because of that, I can't recommended seeing this film. Just, check out the book, instead. Now's that worth, getting onboard for.