The Polar Express

Rated 4.0 Digital data produced by adult actors wearing special suits spring to life as both adult and kid characters in this dreamy, surreal adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular 29-page storybook. Tom Hanks acted out five separate computer-generated roles that range in quality from eerie realism to wax-museum-like emptiness in an action-packed story about the loss of innocence, the spirit of Christmas and the courage and importance of undertaking journeys into the unknown. The express of the title is a passenger train that whisks children and crew to the North Pole to see Santa Claus in person. One instantly classic dance scene in which waiters serve hot chocolate to the kids was a wondrous delight and left me more breathless than the several careening train sequences that began to feel like precursors to a new theme-park ride. Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit).