The caribou are animals who appear in the 2004 film, The Polar Express.
Role in the film
While Smokey and Steamer are fixing the locomotive's headlight, they see lights ahead and call out to Hero Girl, who was driving the locomotive, to stop the train. She and Hero Boy, who was with her in the engine room, get the message, but they have trouble agreeing on which lever is the brake. Hero Boy eventually pulls the one Hero Girl initially claimed was the brake, which stops the train just in time to avoid crashing into a large caribou crossing.
Steamer estimates the herd to consist of a hundred thousand to a million caribou and will take a long time to clear the track. The Conductor, Hero Girl, and Hero Boy head to the front of the train when Hero Boy slips and grabs onto Smokey's beard to break his fall. This causes Smokey to scream in pain, which the caribou are able to understand, so the Conductor continues pulling his beard to communicate with them. They soon manage to get the caribou to clear the track, allowing the train to continue.
While maneuvering the train through the town, caribou sometimes appear on the track and the player must stop or slow down the train to avoid hitting them and losing a life.
- The caribou are part of many characters who appear in the film, but not in the book.
- The sounds the caribou make in the film are actually the sounds of elk.
- Caribou are of the same species as reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, the animals of Santa's sleigh.
- Like Smokey and Steamer, the Scrooge puppet, and other animals in the film, the caribou were keyframe-animated as opposed to motion-captured.
- Schaub, David (November 23, 2004). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 1 -- Testing and Prepping". Animation World Network.