Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Polar Express in Redwood City

Saturday we took the kids to Redwood City. My daughter was in a Christmas parade, then we stayed for dinner and a movie.

via flickr

They also had fireworks, which the kids enjoyed. They were less spectacular than the Stanford fireworks on the 4th of July, but much closer.

via flickr

Then they showed “The Polar Express” on the town square. It was a bit cold, but with enough hot chocolate and blankets, it was a good time.

via flickr

I’d never seen “The Polar Express,” though I’ve read the book innumerable times, and one thing about the film really impressed me: it’s one of the strangest, most surreal movies ever made. If Terry Gilliam were to take a lot of antidepressants, then work with Busby Berkeley and John Hughes, “The Polar Express” would have been the result. It’s really pretty brave to make a film that breas almost no relationship whatsoever to the book on which it’s based, and to have so completely different a spirit.

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  1. I saw the movie in Thailand, which made it especially surreal. The movie was spoken in English, and subtitled in Thai–but the subtitles extended to the animation. So, at several key moments, the movie would show . . . something: a ticket, a sign. And I would have no idea what it was supposed to express, or how it was supposed to move the plot along.

    Also in Thailand, we saw the world’s skinniest Santa.

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