Video from The Beauty of
Those who know the Chris Van Allsburg book will feel right at home from the beginning which quotes from the story: "On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. ..." The young hero - who is never given a name, is listening for the sound of sleigh bells ringing.
Robert Zemeckis director juxtaposed live action with animation using a process called "performance capture," in which human actors perform the movements which are translated into lifelike animation. The characters in "The Polar Express" don't look real, but they don't look unreal. Many of the body and voice performances are by Tom Hanks, who is the executive producer and worked with Zemeckis on "Forrest Gump" (1994).