'The Polar Express'
(Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye, Michael Jeter / G / 81 mins / Dreamworks)
Overview: A young boy's belief in Santa Claus is rewarded on Christmas Eve when he's awakened by a steam train whose conductor (Tom Hanks) pulls up in front of his house and takes him and other children on a magical journey to the North Pole.
Verdict: 'The Polar Express' SHOULD be a 'runaway' worldwide success and become a perennial holiday favorite, but unfortunately at its core it only succeeds in reducing every child's fantasy trip to the North Pole to a roller coaster ride of turbocharged excitement! And whereas I REALLY tried to fall in love with this new technology that they had created the film within, the film's characters - computer-animated over motion-caputure footage of flesh-and-blood performers - are as blank-eyed and rubbery-looking as moving mannequins! A visual masterpiece for sure, but questionable to guess whether it will be mentioned around this time next year!