The Polar Express: A Virtual Train Wreck (conclusion)

If you checked out the Newsweek article that I mentioned last time, you were subjected to the above image, with multiple Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks all dolled up in hi-tech mo-cap gear. Here is where Warner Bros’ marketing was really banking on the prestige of Hanks getting all dirty, showing that he’s willing to go the extra mile to give us, the audience, something worth watching. But, unfortunately, we are given the actual image from the movie from where this performance was captured. A “before and after” scenario, I guess. It’s all too telling, if you ask me. Do you see what’s happened from Point A to Point B? Somehow they spent millions of dollars to literally take the soul out of an Oscar-winning actor’s performance. That’s quite a feat!

I sat there just staring at this image, trying to figure out what happened. What exactly is going on here? Why does the image on the top look so engaging, so vibrant, so full of life, but the image on the bottom – which is supposed to be the exact same performance of the actor “captured” by the computer – look so dead and puppet-like? —Ward JenkinsThe Polar Express: A Virtual Train Wreck (conclusion) (Ward O Matic)

An animator re-touches images from The Polar Express, to show how to bring life back into the 3D characters who looked like automatons in the finished film.