It’s that time of year to sink into the couch and binge-watch Christmas films. While the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime have tried to corner the market on the genre, a different streaming service apparently hopes to take the lead, courtesy of nostalgia, by adding a certain animated film from 2004 to its library. That’s right, HBO Max is now letting subscribers stream the uncanny valley Tom Hanks movie, The Polar Express.
The story is based on a classic 1985 children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg (who also wrote the book Jumanji). The Polar Express is about a handful of kids climbing a special train bound for the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. The main character, an unnamed boy, begins the journey as a complete skeptic who doubts that Santa exists.
This movie is largely memorable for the CGI used, creating a strange animation style that made it a little uncomfortable to look at Tom Hanks when it came out. The years since it was released haven’t really done it any favors, and the prevailing opinion is that Hanks and the rest of the film’s characters are still distractingly unnerving.
The Polar Express was lovingly crafted by a legend, though. The film was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who also made Forrest Gump and the Back to the Future film series.
Alternatively, it’s possible movie theaters in your area will have Christmas Eve showings of The Polar Express if you’d rather traumatize your children with the film on a bigger screen for the holiday.