It's that time of year again

Here's a recent Keyword Analysis done for The Ward-O-Matic. These are keywords that have been used in various search engines and therefore were directed to my blog. Yeah, I think it's Christmastime here at ye olde blogge:

9 Hits 6.08% -- Polar express creepy
6 Hits 4.05% -- ashley wood
6 Hits 4.05% -- polar express eyes
5 Hits 3.38% -- polar express uncanny valley
5 Hits 3.38% -- toot whistle plunk and boom images
5 Hits 3.38% -- underground shelter
4 Hits 2.70% -- The Polar Express creepy
4 Hits 2.70% -- the polar express uncanny valley
3 Hits 2.03% -- Making of the Polar Express
3 Hits 2.03% -- nice pamphlet
3 Hits 2.03% -- polar express analysis
3 Hits 2.03% -- polar express characters
3 Hits 2.03% -- the making of polar express
3 Hits 2.03% -- the making of the polar express
3 Hits 2.03% -- the polar express eyes
3 Hits 2.03% -- toot whistle plunk and boom
2 Hits 1.35% -- "Redux Riding Hood" rapidshare
2 Hits 1.35% -- explain the polar express movie
2 Hits 1.35% -- fallout shelter
2 Hits 1.35% -- guy polar express
2 Hits 1.35% -- how was polar express made
2 Hits 1.35% -- nightmare before christmas characters
2 Hits 1.35% -- polar express making of
2 Hits 1.35% -- polar expresss was creepy
2 Hits 1.35% -- polarexpress making of
2 Hits 1.35% -- the polar express
2 Hits 1.35% -- uncanny valley polar express
2 Hits 1.35% -- wardomatic
1 Hit 0.68% -- " figure model" stories
1 Hit 0.68% -- "joseph kennedy" "john canemaker"
1 Hit 0.68% -- "why the polar express is so creepy"
1 Hit 0.68% -- blogspot.com/2005_02
1 Hit 0.68% -- bomb shelklters
1 Hit 0.68% -- christmas 1956
1 Hit 0.68% -- christmas ideals issue 1956
1 Hit 0.68% -- christmas in the air
1 Hit 0.68% -- creepy polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- dream worlds картинки
1 Hit 0.68% -- etiquette blogs
1 Hit 0.68% -- fallout shelter handbook
1 Hit 0.68% -- fallout shelter schematic
1 Hit 0.68% -- falout shelter
1 Hit 0.68% -- Gerald mcboing hellboy
1 Hit 0.68% -- how did they make polar express?
1 Hit 0.68% -- How did they make the polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- how do they make polar express animation
1 Hit 0.68% -- how much money did polar express make?
1 Hit 0.68% -- image blogging etiquette
1 Hit 0.68% -- John lasseter draw
1 Hit 0.68% -- Kids in space
1 Hit 0.68% -- kind of animation in Polar Express
1 Hit 0.68% -- mad men party
1 Hit 0.68% -- motion capture polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- nuclear shelter
1 Hit 0.68% -- old fallout shelters scotland
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express actors
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express animation
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express animation sucks
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express engineer picture
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express horrible aimation
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express how it was made
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express movie animation creepy
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express performance captures
1 Hit 0.68% -- polar express zombie
1 Hit 0.68% -- polatr expres creepy eyes
1 Hit 0.68% -- provensens
1 Hit 0.68% -- suzy sparrow
1 Hit 0.68% -- The Christmas Angel book
1 Hit 0.68% -- the nightmare before christmas cemetery images
1 Hit 0.68% -- tom hanks polar express side by side pictures
1 Hit 0.68% -- TWICE UPON A TIME download
1 Hit 0.68% -- twice upon a time john korty
1 Hit 0.68% -- uncanny valley the polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- uncle wiggly images
1 Hit 0.68% -- virtual polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- ward jenkins
1 Hit 0.68% -- ward jenkins etsy
1 Hit 0.68% -- wardjenkins
1 Hit 0.68% -- what kind of animation is polar express?
1 Hit 0.68% -- what kind of animation was used to make the polar express
1 Hit 0.68% -- what style of animation is polar express?
1 Hit 0.68% -- who animated polar express

For the uninitiated, grab a coffee and take a little time to read these two posts of mine I wrote back in 2004:

The Polar Express: A Virtual Train Wreck, Part 1 and Part 2.

If you really want to get to the meat and potatoes, read Part 2. Some good stuff there.

So far, nothing's really changed, even after 6 years of new motion capture technology. Robert Zemeckis's constant (and ill advised) use of the format doesn't look any better than when he first had Tom Hanks suit up in black leotards with big white balls glued on. However, I was very impressed with AVATAR and how John Cameron pushed the boundaries for motion capture. With Cameron, the future for mo-cap is bright. With Zemeckis, it's dark. Very dark.

Happy Holidays!


  1. I'll fess up: I was the one searching for "bomb shelklters".

  2. Here it is, 2011, and it's time to reread your insights into the creepiness of The Polar Express. This is the third time I've been back to fortify myself against the seasonal heavy rotations of The Polar Express on cable. They're doing marathons now!

    So why do I watch this train wreck at least once during the holiday season? Do I have an unhealthy fascination with the macabre?

    I totally agree with your analysis of why this movie's animation is so creepy. But I think there's even more to its creepiness than the shortcomings of the animation and the resulting trip through the Uncanny Valley.

    Half the nastiness of this film comes from the terrible choices made by the director and the actors, principally Tom Hanks. Perhaps Hanks thought playing against type was a daring choice. I think it was merely terrible.

    Let's start with Hero Boy. He's not just stiff and perpetually scowling. He's boring! He's got all the personality of a codfish. Who can possibly give a damn about his Santa angst?

    The other kids on the train are just as boring, or forgettable, or worst of all, annoying. And none have any redeeming traits. The lonely boy? I just want to kick him in the pants. The know-it-all? I'm surprised his parents didn't lose him in the nearest department store. Even the Hero Girl is meh. One look at that weird smile of oversized dentures and I'd rather take my chances with the wolves.

    Let's move on to the adults. The Conductor, Hanks' primary role among several in the film, is a hash of strange character choices. Why, exactly, is he full of thinly-veiled hostility? He's supposed to be conducting children on the mysterious fantasy trip of their lives, and he acts as if they're a tiresome responsibility he'd rather ignore. Hanks' vocal delivery is barkingly harsh, verging on pugnacious at times. Why?

    Then there's the bizarre "Hot Chocolate" number. It's just disgusting. There's nothing remotely human about the automatons prancing about squirting chocolate all over the place. The animation at this point seems more concerned with Busby-Berkleyesque angle shots of fascistic stomping feet in a bid for the Wow Factor. On top of this icky hullabaloo, Hanks' conductor is hissing about HOT HOT HOT CHOC-O-LATE! Every time I see this bit, I marvel at how very BAD it all is.

    Let's not forget the ghostly Hobo, also played by Hanks. He's everything your mother told you to scream and run away from. Just what is the point of this embellishment beyond more creepiness and a longer run-time?

    The less said about the elves (a ghastly gang of Satanic imps) and the soulless emptiness of the Polar Village, the better.

    Finally, there's the Big Man himself, Santa -- also played by Hanks in a trifecta of terribleness. How can Zemeckis think it's a good idea to make Santa aloof and intimidating? Not merely mysterious, but unapproachable and cold.

    You mention how AVATAR was able to impress you using the same motion-capture process. Perhaps one of the big differences between Polar Express and Avatar is that the characters in Avatar are living, breathing, sympathetic people (blue or otherwise) that you care about. Whatever you think of Cameron's movies, he is a master at creating characters that engage you deeply, from the Terminator to Jack on the Titanic. Zemeckis' motion-capture characters are not there to engage your emotions but to awe you with technology.