The Polar Express is a 2004 American computer animated musical fantasy film based on the 1985 childrens book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film features human characters animated using the live action performance capture technique.
On Christmas Eve, a boy witnesses a train called the Polar Express that is about to depart for the North Pole. When the boy examines the engine, the conductor lets him board the train. The boy meets other children, including a girl and a knowitall kid. When the train picks up Billy, the hero boy applies the emergency brakes. Billy initially declines to board but changes his mind. The conductor summons a waiter team, who give the children hot chocolate, and the girl stows away one cup under her seat to give to Billy, who is alone in the observation car. The girl and conductor deliver the hot chocolate cup to Billy until the hero boy discovers the girls ticket is unpunched. He loses it before he can return it. After the ticket is abused by the wind and animals, it slips back in the train. The girl explains her lost ticket, and the conductor considers ejecting her before taking her for a walk on the top of the train instead. The hero boy locates the lost ticket and pursues them.Losing the girl and conductor, the boy meets a hobo, who claims he is the owner of the train and King of North Pole. Desperate to find the girl, the hobo helps the boy by skiing down the rooftops. Before reaching Flat Top Tunnel, the boy jumps into the engines coal tender and finds the girl is controlling the train. After the driver, Steamer, and his aide, Smokey, replace the light, Steamer witnesses something unusual ahead and orders the train to be stopped. The hero boy applies the brakes and the engine on the train screeches to a halt. When the conductor witnesses a caribou crossing, he pulls Smokeys beard, causing him to let out animallike sound effects, and the caribou horde clear out. The train continues on but starts to speed up, when the cotter pin of the throttle sheers off causing the train to run out of control. Moving at extreme speed, the train becomes a roller coaster as it crosses Glacier Gulch and enters a frozen lake. The lost cotter pin pierces the ice, causing it to crack. Sm