The Polar Express

The Polar Express (2004)

25 corrected entries

(15 votes)

Corrected entry: As the train goes up the corkscrew the cars bend like rubber to match the tighter top curves. (00:41:30)

Correction: Not a mistake. The Polar Express is a "magic train" as the Hero Girl pointed out earlier in the film, and can do incredible things that other trains cannot.


Corrected entry: If these tracks are in plain sight why would any of these kids doubt Santa? They could follow the tracks and go to the north pole.

Correction: The whole thing is most likely a dream, so the train tracks would not be visible to the kids in their daily lives. Also, what kid in their right mind would walk to the North Pole when they could dream up a magical train to take them there and also get served hot chocolate by gravity-defying dancing waiters?


Corrected entry: When the hero boy opens the window to grab the girl's ticket, you see few cars between them and the engine. When the shot pans out as the ticket flies away, there are several more cars than before.

Correction: The Polar Express is a magic Christmas train that defies logic and physics throughout the movie. Further, this whole experience could be a dream of the Hero Boy, so it is likely the train would change the number of cars, as well as bend with the tracks as it corkscrews up a mountain, etc.


Corrected entry: At the end of the movie when they drop off the kid. As the train slows you see steam coming from each of the cars. Steam should only be coming from the main locomotive, where the boiler is, so there's no reason why steam is coming from each car unless its powered but it's not.

Correction: Railroad cars in the days of steam locomotives had what is called "steam heated systems" where a series of pipes would use the heat from the locomotive's firebox to warm the coaches. There would be an exhaust valve on each car to control the heat of the car and let excess steam out. Steam would also appear on the valve that is left open on the end of the train (normally where the next valve would begin if there was another car).

Passenger engines have a system to send steam from the boiler back to heat the cars. Only passenger engines were so equipped. I find it hard to believe they would leave the steam line open at end of train as this would seriously lower the steam pressure for the whole consist. The steam was the power to move the train as well as heat it in cold weather.

Corrected entry: When Hero Boy returns home after his visit to the North Pole, in one shot the snowman in his front yard only has one mitten. All the other shots in the film, the snowman has two mittens.

Correction: I checked this scene on DVD and it appears that the snowman has two mittens, although at one stage the background snow tends to obscure the left mitten a little, but it IS visible.

Corrected entry: After the girl and lonely boy sing their song the northern lights appear. However the girl points and shouts 'look' half a second before the lights actually appear.

Correction: The girl does see the beginning of the Northern Lights on the left of the screen; it happens as they pass the arctic circle.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the boy, girl and conductor are on the front of the train, it goes straight down, yet the trees look normal. That would mean they are growing at a 90 degree angle, which is obviously impossible.

Correction: Neither is it possible for a train to travel straight down. It's a fantastical vehicle travelling through a fantastical landscape.

Phixius Premium member

Correction: Christmas magic. Just the same way train tracks magically appear outside every child's home as though the Polar Express were a bus or taxi service rather than a train.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: During then scene where hot chocolate is being served, the girl puts a cup of hot chocolate under her seat so she can give it to the lonely boy in the last car. One of the waiters sees that she doesn't have a cup for herself and gives her another one. She then puts that one under the seat too, and the cup she previously put under the seat is no longer there.


Correction: She actually puts the first cup next to her on the seat, then she takes THAT cup and hides it under the seat. It is one cup that she moves from next to her to under her seat when no one is looking.

There is a mistake. The little girl ends up getting 3 cups total if you pay attention.

Corrected entry: While the train is climbing the spiral-shaped mountain, the engine and cars are shown to physically bend with the tracks.


Correction: The train is literally made of Christmas Magic and defies physics at every step of the journey.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: When the boy and the girl are at the front of the train when they find the girl's lost ticket, it is fluttering about in the air. The train is moving quite fast and the ticket should have been blown back like the snow. They obviously did this so the children could catch the ticket.

Correction: All events involving the train are intended to be either 1) a dream, or 2) a magical journey. Either case negates this mistake. If it's a dream there are no limitations. If it's a magical journey, the ticket can behave in any way it chooses.

Corrected entry: When the main boy rings the bell, his hand is on the metal yet the bell rings just fine. Anybody who has tried to ring a bell the same way knows that if your hand is on the metal a bell won't ring properly.

Correction: Within the story, the bells are magical and special, they can only be heard by those that believe in Santa Claus, so the rules of normal bells do not apply.

Corrected entry: When the boy gets up out of the pile of coal (after skiing to the front of the train), the coal rolls off of him very easily and he is not dirty at all. Real coal, while not being amazingly dense, is still substantially heavier and messier to touch.

Correction: MAGIC coal is light in weight AND perfectly clean too.

Corrected entry: As the train moves away the boy changes his mind about getting on and runs to catch up. He jumps on the train and as he is watching the houses pass by, they pass his house. You know it's his because of the snowman with the mittens. The train car he got onto had already passed his house though while he was standing there.


Correction: Although the boy runs after the train and jumps on, he actually had walked a great distance away from his house towards the end of the train, as the locomotive was stopped in front of his house, and thus it is from his position still possible to pass his house and see the snowman.

Corrected entry: The size of Santa's sack of toys changes dramatically throughout various scenes. When we first see the pile of toys and the sack drawn up around it, it's an enormous 6 stories high. Once the sack is flying over the town, we see a shot from Hero Boy's perspective leaning out of the bag, and he "just" clears a chimney by only a few feet. Once in the town square, the bag shrinks to about 10 feet tall when the kids are sliding down, then grows to a respectable 30 feet when Santa makes his departure.

Correction: Correct, the size of Santa's sack changes, but it also weighs nothing, which is demonstrated when he leaves to deliver his presents to the WHOLE world. The sleigh should tipple over immediately on take off, however sits perfectly still during the acrobatic departure of Santa. In other words: it's a MAGIC sack and magic sacks weigh nothing AND can change in size whenever they like, especially in dreams.

Corrected entry: Throughout the movie it is snowing, and the boy is frequently outside, yet it appears that not one single snowflake lands on him, or anyone else, on their head or really anywhere on their bodies.

Correction: As the boy tears his pocket when the train arrives, following which he has his adventure, marbles fall on the floor. The following morning the same happens again: he tears the same pocket and the marbles fall on the floor. In conclusion: he must have dreamt it all and in dreams anything can happen, like not freezing to death in your pajamas on the North Pole and snowflakes not bothering you.

Corrected entry: The number of cars on The Polar Express changes throughout the movie. In some scenes, like the frozen over lake, the train has a total 7 cars including the engine. In other scenes, like the arrival at the North Pole, the train has 10 or more.

Correction: I agree that the amount of carriages (cars) changes throughout the film. But this is no ordinary train. It's the Polar Express and anything can happen on the Polar Express: it stops in your street, it has a dozen or so waiters who serve you hot chocolate in an instance and then disappear and foremost: it is able to act as a roller coaster. In other words it is a MAGIC train and magic trains can change their amount of carriages (or cars) just like that.

Corrected entry: When the boy jumps onto the moving train and then rests, he looks behind him and there is the conductor. The space between the cars is enclosed and has a set of stairs which he climbs and turns right into the passenger car. When he goes back out through the same door to return the girl's ticket, the space between the cars is open and there is only the metal car couplings to walk across.

Correction: The enclosed space where the stairs were is known as a vestibule. A vestibule on an American passenger car features stairs leading off either side of the car (often covered by what's known as a "trap door" when the passenger car's doors are closed), a centered door leading into the passenger cabin, and another door on the vestibule's opposite wall that allows passengers to move between passenger cars. The scene where he tries to return the girl's ticket simply doesn't show the boy making his way through the car's vestibule to return the ticket.

Corrected entry: When Hero Boy is about to leave the car containing the abandoned toys, it's plainly visible that there are two doors, one on his car, and one on the next car. He goes through the door in his car, slams it behind him, and is immediately in the next car, having gone through only one door.


Correction: The car carrying the abandoned toys was the car Hero Boy, Hero Girl, and the conductor entered immediately after climbing off the locomotive's tender, meaning that it was the first car in the train. When Hero Boy fled the car and only slammed one door behind him, it was a time skip. It was meant to suggest that he ran frightened through the numerous (and changing amount of) passenger cars before reaching his, the second-to-last car of the train.

Corrected entry: When the train arrives in the street the room of the boy's chamber shows moving lights from a (stopping) passing train. The room of the boy is upstairs and the train doesn't pass at that level. Outside you can also see that the light from the windows of the carriages shines downwards on the snow, but not on the house.

Correction: All events involving the train are intended to be either 1) a dream, or 2) a magical journey. Either case negates this mistake. If it's a dream there are no limitations. If it's a magical journey, the train would flash the lights into the boy's window to wake him and be sure he boarded the train.

Continuity mistake: When the boy runs out of his house, as the train is arriving, they make a point of showing his footprints in the snow along with his sliding leaving long marks. However, when they pan back it is his footprints that are gone.


More mistakes in The Polar Express

Conductor: One thing about trains - it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on.

More quotes from The Polar Express
More trivia for The Polar Express

Question: When Hero Boy gets back from the toy room in the train, what were all the kids shouting?

Answer: After "Hero Boy" gets back into the train the kids are all laughing and spouting gibberish. This is often done in post-production when backround noise or talking is necessary. They aren't saying or shouting anything in paticular, just a bunch of kids jabbering on about nothing. I listened to that section three times and it's just gibberish.

CCARNI Premium member

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