'Polar Express' Steams Back Onto Maritime Aquarium IMAX Screen

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The animated film, based on the award-winning children’s book and featuring Tom Hanks as the voice of five characters, will play on weekends through Dec. 22, then daily between Christmas and New Year's. School groups can book weekday screenings too.

"Polar Express" at Maritime Aquarium

"The Polar Express" returns to The Maritime Aquarium's giant IMAX screen for the holidays.

The conductor tells the boy he thinks he really should get on the train, and I have the same advice for you.– film critic Roger Ebert

Take a raucous ride to the North Pole for some magical Christmas spirit when the holiday film “The Polar Express” steams back onto the giant IMAX screen for a limited engagement in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

The animated film, based on the award-winning children’s book and featuring Tom Hanks as the voice of five characters (including Santa Claus), will play from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22 at 4 & 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. From Dec. 26-Jan. 1, times are 4 & 7:30 p.m. daily. (Confirm times at http://www.maritimeaquarium.org.)

“We know there are families – and school groups on field trips – who have made it a tradition to see ‘The Polar Express’ in IMAX here each year,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director. “We’re happy to offer it again and hope that more folks make it a special part of their Christmas season.”

IMAX is the world’s largest film format. Outstanding image clarity and the enormous screen size, combined with The Maritime Aquarium’s 12,000-watt surround-sound audio system, results in an immersive thrill that is so unique it’s been trademarked.

“IMAX’s motto is ‘IMAX is Believing,’ which is why IMAX is the perfect format for a film that’s about believing,” Loynd said, noting that The Maritime Aquarium’s six-story screen is the largest IMAX screen in Connecticut.

Besides the weekend public screenings, private weekday shows of “The Polar Express” are available for preschool and elementary-school students at 9 or 10 a.m. Loynd said these shows are quite attractive to teachers who want to treat their students to a special Christmas field trip.

“More than 1,400 students already are booked for these shows, which many schools decide are BYOB – bring your own blankey,” Loynd said. “Some of the classes even come wearing their pajamas.”

Based on the 1986 Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, “The Polar Express” follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a locomotive magically arrives to take him and other doubtful children to Santa's North Pole headquarters. Their shared experiences – onboard with a mysterious conductor, at the North Pole and then on the return leg – make a compelling adventure.

Tom Hanks voices five roles, including the train's conductor, a ghostly hobo and Santa Claus. Robert Zemeckis directed the 2004 release.

Film critic Roger Ebert called the film “a movie for more than one season; it will become a perennial, shared by the generations. It has a haunting, magical quality because it has imagined its world freshly and played true to it, sidestepping all the tiresome Christmas cliches that children have inflicted on them this time of year. The conductor tells the boy he thinks he really should get on the train, and I have the same advice for you.”

“The Polar Express” is an hour and 40 minutes long.

Tickets for “The Polar Express” are specially priced at $11.50 for adults and $9.50 for children ages 2-12. Maritime Aquarium members save $1.

To include a visit to the Aquarium with “The Polar Express,” tickets are $31.45 for adults and $22.45 for children.

Get more details or reserve tickets in advance at http://www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

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Dave Sigworth
The Maritime Aquarium
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