Reviewed by Elizabeth Northcraft
I have always loved the movie The Polar Express. Unlike most movies that are based on books, I saw this one before reading the book. In this case, The Polar Express movie might actually be better than the book. I have watched it many times, and even received the DVD as a Christmas gift – yes, long before I had my own children. When it came time to share the movie with them, I couldn’t wait until my children were old enough to watch it with me. Now it’s an annual event in our household, and sometimes my children can’t wait until Christmastime to watch it. This summer my preschooler watched it at least once. We each have our own favorite scenes in the movie, and mine is the scene on the train when the waiters come in the train car dancing with hot chocolate. I can’t think about that scene without Tom Hanks’ voice and the song running through my head. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Tom Hanks is one of my all-time favorite actors. This movie has something for everyone.
Viewing a favorite movie on the The Science Museum of Virginia’s IMAX screen (the largest one in the state, I’m told!) transformed a relatively low-key family outing into an event. It was a full-senses experience as the steam engine thundered to a stop on a snowy Christmas Eve in front of the main character’s home. Seeing that same train in all its IMAX glory is overwhelming, and at the same time, literally feeling the sound of the train as it comes to a stop is thrilling. I have heard comments that IMAX can be too loud for some children, but at three and five, mine loved every minute of it. They are even talking about when they can go back.
The Polar Express is a hopeful movie, full of everything that the season should be about. IMAX just makes it that much more powerful for the senses. I can’t wait to go back myself!
Showtimes can be found, along with a detailed schedule for all family events, at Home | Science Museum of Virginia