What Parents Need to Know
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.)
- Families can talk about what they believe about Santa, and also about the Lonely Boy and what they think his real gift was.
- Families can also talk about each of the lessons punched into the tickets given to the children. Why was each of those lessons the right one for that child? They can talk about the difference between that which can be proven and that which must be believed without proof. When the conductor says, "Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see," what is he talking about?
- What is a "crucial year?" Why can't some people hear the bell? Who is the hobo and why is he there?