Robert Zemeckis (born May 14, 1952) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. He directed, produced and written the 2004 film adaptation, The Polar Express. His wife, Leslie Zemeckis, also worked on the film.
References in the Film
The film makes several references related to Robert Zemeckis.
- 11344 Edbrooke Avenue, Billy's address in the film, is the real life address of Zemeckis' childhood home. The house is on the south side of Roseland, one of the neighborhoods in Chicago. While the house in the film is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Rapids no street called Edbrooke Avenue in real life.
- Zemeckis also wrote and directed all three films in the Back to the Future trilogy, which The Polar Express film makes several references to:
- When Hero Boy pulls the emergency brake, the track level view of the locomotive's pilot coming to a halt right at the camera is similar to the same view in Back to the Future III when Carla overhears about Emmett "Doc" Brown's heartbreak and applies the emergency brake to stop the train.
- After Hero Boy pulls the train whistle, he says, "I've wanted to do that my whole life," another reference to Back to the Future Part III when Emmett Brown says the same thing after pulling a train whistle.
- In the scene when Smokey and Steamer are trying to catch the pin, a flux capacitor from Back to the Future can be seen briefly.
- The shots of Hero Girl's train ticket floating in the air are a nod to the trademark shots of a feather doing the same in Forrest Gump, another Zemeckis film that also starts Tom Hanks.
- The visuals for the North Pole city are based on the architecture of the Pullman Plant, a company in Chicago, Illinois, Zemeckis' home town, that made railroad cars. The clock tower is based on the Pullman Factory's clock tower.
- The scene in the North Pole communications room, an elf describes a bad little boy in New Jersey named Steven who is terrorizing his two little sisters. This line is a nod to Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis' friend and mentor, who grew up in New Jersey and has admitted to have frequently terrorized his two younger sisters.
- The Polar Express is the third film Zemeckis directed that stars Tom Hanks with the first two being Forrest Gump in 1994 and Cast Away in 2000.
- In the 2009 film, A Christmas Carol, which was also directed by Zemeckis, the character Ebenezer Scrooge was based off of the Ebenezer Scrooge puppet from The Polar Express.