Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that despite the wonderful messages and warm-hearted story, the film is primarily an adventure, with lots of roller coaster thrills and some scary characters that might be too intense and frightening for the youngest children. The Express roars, speeds, and skids on its perilous journey to the North Pole. Sometimes out of control, sometimes racing against dangers and obstacles in its path, it's filled with suspense almost from beginning to end. The child heroes are frequently in danger: from falls, getting lost, left alone on a careening train, in dark and shadowy unknown places facing characters who may wish them harm. The story focuses on a boy who doubts whether or not there is a Santa. (According to the movie, yessiree -- but the boy's initial uncertainty could spark questions in some kids.)
There are continuous close calls: multiple careening rides (train, pneumatic tube) filmed from a child's point-of-view; treacherous climbs and balancing atop the train; falls and lost kids; a runaway railway car; cracking ice beneath a speeding train; and a ghostly hobo appears to shatter into pieces at one point. No one is injured and the hobo reappears in fine form later.
Filled with positive messages about the importance of believing, the value of friendship, respect for leadership and courage, and the beauty of being kind to others. Some specific messages: "The true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart," "It doesn't matter where the train is going, it's deciding to get on that counts," and "There is no greater gift than friendship."
Drugs / Tobacco /