The Polar Express: Iconic


by Katie Burns, ID Magazine Editor-In-Chief

Every time Christmas comes around, I always look forward to the one movie that I believe tells the true story behind believing in Santa as a child: The Polar Express.

Every time I express this to my peers, they always question why it is my favorite movie during the holiday season. I say, “it tells the story of believing in Santa and the spirit of Christmas.” For reference, I obviously know Santa isn’t real, but it just reminds me of believing in him when I was a kid.

In the movie, a doubting young boy didn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas like everyone else. The Polar Express train saw this as a possibility to change the boy’s life to show the true meaning behind this holiday with a train ride to the North Pole.

Throughout the film, it shows what kids probably dream about if they were able to go to Santa’s workshop: hot chocolate on a train, being able to help the train conductor, going undercover to look at your present in Santa’s workshop, seeing all the elves and being able to get a gift from the man himself. 

After explaining this reasoning to my peers, they always tend to disagree. For the first time, I heard someone saying the movie revolved around “sex trafficking”…… WHAT? Their meaning behind this is that the conductors are making children get on the train and take them somewhere without warning.

As you read above, this is not the case. As the conductor approaches the boy on the train, he says “to the North Pole, of course, this is the Polar Express” and the kid backs away because he is unsure how he feels about getting on. The conductor says, “suit yourself.” This results in letting the kid CHOOSE if he wants to go. He didn’t force the boy, he wasn’t luring him on there, the reason the boy wanted to go on that train was to see if it could help him believe in the spirit of Christmas. 

As you can see, this is very serious to me. This movie is based on a little boy that wanted to find the spirit of Santa inside of him and believes that Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year.

Yes, the movie is kind of slow, and sometimes hard to understand the true meaning behind the message of the movie. The number of times I have seen it has helped me come to the realization that the spirit of Christmas can be impactful to children all over the world, of course, until they are up to the ages of 10-12 when you have to tell them he’s not real.

For those who believe that The Polar Express is not a good movie, that is your opinion. In my eyes, it shows the true meaning of Christmas and how kids can imagine being in that boy’s shoes and having the adventure he got to experience.

Also, can we please talk about the soundtrack for this movie? Because the songs in this movie are absolute bops. Yes, they aren’t your typical Christmas songs like Jingle Bells, 12 days of Christmas, etc., but the movie’s soundtrack ties in with the story of going to the North Pole and the different obstacles the boy faces with not believing.

Aside from believing in Santa and the spirit of Christmas, the film also shows that this holiday is about sharing kindness with those around you. The boy was able to make new friends throughout the train ride, help acquaintances in times of struggle, and be able to connect with his family after finding out the true meaning of Christmas. 

I have been watching this movie ever since I was a kid. For those who have never seen it, I highly recommend it and listen to the points I have read above to get a clear understanding of my thoughts on this amazing film.