The Polar Express is considered to be the first motion capture, computer-animated three-dimensional (3D) film. Motion capture, in movies, as well as in video games, concerns recording the actors’ movements and using them to animate digital characters in 3D computer animated films. The 3D effect gives an illusion of depth. A motion picture camera system records images which are seen from two perspectives. The viewer uses special glasses in order to see this illusion.
The Polar Express captures the live performance of actors and makes an animated version of them. In this movie, the main animated character is in the likeness of the actor, Tom Hanks. Even though the actors are computerized, the storyline is an interesting Christmas theme. The actors’ movements are not natural as they seem somewhat delayed. Moreover, some angles make the characters look mean and at times scary; however, the effects of the animation are exquisite.
The animation of the magical polar express train is extremely powerful. It is as if the train has come alive and actually takes on a life. We see the train blow off steam. With computer imagery, the train explodes at tremendous speed. The visual and sound effects are breath-taking. Many of the scenes would not have been possible if it had not been for digital technology. An example of this is when the train struggles to get through the ice. As it skids and breaks the ice, there are sparks and screeches…