YMMV / The Polar Express

  • Adaptation Displacement: People who saw the film first seem to like it a great deal better than those who grew up reading the book during The '80s.
  • Award Snub: While it did garner nominations for Best Song, Sound Editing and Mixing at the Oscars, the film itself failed to get nominated for Best Animated Feature, losing it's nomination slot to...Shark Tale.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene where the Hobo scares the hero boy with the Scrooge puppet. It doesn't really serve any purpose to advance the plot and it's never referenced again.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite the mixed reviews from critics, moviegoers loved the film for the most part. In fact, The Polar Express is one of the rare movies to receive an A+ grade from Cinemascore. Even though the film got off to a slow start ($23.3 million Friday to Sunday opening, $30.6 million since its Wednesday launch), grossing less than half as much as the second weekend of Pixar's The Incredibles, fantastic word of mouth from audiences eventually brought it to a respectable gross of $162.8 million, nearly 7 times its opening weekend (The IMAX 3D rereleases between 2005 and 2012 add another $20.6 million for a total of $183.4 million).
    • Not to mention in its third weekend (which was Thanksgiving weekend), the movie actually increased 24 percent over its second weekend; $19.4 million ($26.5 million over the 5-day weekend) vs $15.7 million.
    • On top of all that, the film has since gained a particularly strong cult following that continues to go on well after ten years of the film's release.
  • Critical Research Failure: The Know-It-All Kid's description of the locomotive is pretty much accurate...except for the locomotive class. Pere Marquette 1225 is an N-1 Class Berkshire, while he describes it as an S-3 Class. The S-3 Class was used by the Nickle Plate Road and Erie Railroad, the Pere Marquette's chief competitors. The Pere Marquette never owned any S-series locomotives; all of their Berkshires were Class N-Class N-2.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Say what you want about the movie, but the soundtrack is simply awesome. Check it out.
    • The film and its soundtrack combine original tunes, including ballads, children's fun songs and Christianesque pop with Christmas classics performed by the likes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como and The Andrews Sisters.
  • Ear Worm: "We've got it hot, hot, hot... Hot chocolate!"
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The film has a very specific agenda in mind, and honestly couldn't give two stockings whether you, or the child protagonist like Christmas or not. Celebrating the holiday, or loving and cherishing those close to you, are largely irrelevant to the core of the message. If you don't believe in Santa - then you are a horrible person. You deserve to have every misfortune come your way. Heck, you'll even be compared to Scrooge by a ghost hobo.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The mechanical Santa in the Herpolsheimer's display. "Santa's a robot!"
  • Love It or Hate It: The visuals. It's either gorgeous, painterly CGI or creepy hyperrealism.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm da king o' da north pole!!!!"
  • Most Annoying Sound: "I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it."
    • "'Ring-a-ling *scratch* ring-a-ling- *scratch* ring-a-ling- *scratch* ring-a-ling- *scratch* ring-a-ling-...'"
  • Narm:
    • "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLVVEEESSSSSS!!!!!!"
    • "Here Comes Santa Claus" in eeeexxtreeeemmmee sssslllloooo-mmmoooo...
    • The Elves singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".
  • Padding: To be expected since it was based on a twenty-page book.
    • The hero girl's ticket being blown away by a caribou herd and almost being fed to a baby bird before it finds its way back to the train.
    • The "Hot Chocolate" sequence.
    • The train's path being blocked by many caribou.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • A frequent criticism of the CGI in the film. Considering how they made it, by filming the actual actors performing the whole film then overlaying it digitally, this is kind of expected. Though it's a little forgivable considering that this was the first film to be animated entirely this way.
    • The kids' faces in general, especially the Lead Girl. They're kids having the faces of 20 year olds.
    • The Know-It-All boy's voice. The other children sound like real children, but he's voiced by Eddie Deezen also known as Mandark.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • People have been known to get emotional during "When Christmas Comes To Town" and "Believe"
    • Even though he gets it back, the Hero Boy's expression when he loses the bell is heartbreaking.
    • Earlier in the film, his parents imply that he has just stopped believing in the magic of Christmas.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: For all the "dead eye" complaints this movie gets, pretty much everything else is a gorgeous CGI recreation of Christ Van Allsburg's illustration style.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The Hobo's line, "You said it, kid!" carries echoes of Christ's line, "That's what you say. You say that I am." (That's from Jesus Christ Superstar, incidentally, but the point still stands.)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/ThePolarExpress