The Ebenezer Scrooge puppet is a nonsentient character in the film and the main antagonist of The Polar Express: The Video Game.
Role in the film
While Hero Boy is in the abandoned toy car, the Hobo hide on the roof and uses the Scrooge puppet to scare Hero Boy by calling him a doubter. Hero Boy, unaware that it is just a puppet, runs away to the next passenger car.
In The Polar Express: The Video Game, the Scrooge puppet appears as a sentient character with a much larger role. He is a child-hater who thinks Christmas should be more about toys than about Santa Claus and kindness. He sets a main goal to keep the children onboard the train from believing in Santa Claus by stealing their tickets and hiding them across the train, which would get them thrown off the train by the Conductor and never reach the North Pole.
Scrooge is first seen disgustedly spying on the children while they look out the window at Herpolsheimer's. He goes ahead with his plans and even gets some Jack-in-the-Boxes and puppets to assist him in keeping the tickets from the children. Scrooge himself appears leading the puppets in a food fight against the Hero Boy, then later fights Hero Boy himself to keep him from applying the emergency brake for Billy.
Hero Boy eventually retrieves all the tickets, much to Scrooge's anger. He steals Hero Girl's ticket, which results in her being put in charge of driving the train. However, Hero Boy finds the ticket and, with the help of the Hobo, gets to the locomotive by skiing down the mountain.
While back onboard the passenger cars, Hero Boy and Hero Girl encounter Scrooge one more time. He has become very large and gained an opening in his chest that shows his heart. Hero Boy tries talking sense into him, but he does not listen, so Hero Boy, with encouragement from the other children, defeats him by throwing snowballs at his heart. He eventually falls down to the ground and disappears.
Behind the scenes
The Scrooge puppet does not appear in the book. He was inspired by a puppet director Robert Zemeckis found while looking through his childhood toys. Early concept art by Vladimir Todorow portrayed the puppet with a cloth nightshirt that lacked stripes. This was changed to a solid wooden body to save on costs of animating the nightshirt. His original design is used in the video game.
Unlike most of the human characters, the Scrooge puppet was done through key-frame animation as opposed to motion-capture. Smokey and Steamer, the animals, and other toys in the abandoned toy car were also animated this way.
|Finnish||Ebenezer Scrooge||Markus Bäckman|
|French||La marionnette de Scrooge||Jean-Philippe Puymartin|
|German||Ebenezer Scrooge||Arne Elsholtz|
|Spanish||Marioneta de Ebenezer Scrooge||Jesse Conde (Latin America)|
Jordi Brau (Spain)
- The Scrooge puppet served as the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge in the 2009 film, A Christmas Carol, which was also directed by Robert Zemeckis.
- The puppet is holding a candle in the movie, which he is never seen with in the video game.
- The credits for the film list Tom Hanks for playing the Scrooge puppet, even though his voice is really the Hobo's and he was never animated through motion-capture.
- "Herpolsheimer's, Herpolsheimer's... BAH! I can't stand children, they're the only ones silly enough to believe in Santa. It's toys that made Christmas fun, not Santa! Well, they certainly won't believe in Santa if they never reach the North Pole, and they won't reach the North Pole, if they don't have tickets for the Polar Express! And they'll never find these tickets before the Conductor throws them off the train! *laughs evilly*"
- "You'll have to get past my puppets if you want that ticket!"
- "*laughs evilly* I'm afraid he's going to be left behind, all alone on Christmas Eve! *laughs evilly* You're going to have to get past me if you want to pull this emergency brake, and I don't believe that you can do it. Do you? *laughs evilly*"
- "Blasted boy, messing up my plans! Who does he think he is pushing us toys around that that!? But I still got a trick up my sleve. Let's see what happens to the girl, when she realizes she's lost her ticket! *laughs evilly* They'll never find it here!"
- "So you want to go the North Pole, do you? Well, to get there you're goanna have to get past me, and I don't believe, you can do it! *laughs evilly*"
- "There's no Christmas without toys, Christmas cannot happen without me!"
- Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 81. ISBN 978-0811846592.
- Schaub, David (February 15, 2005). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 2 -- Performance Capture & the MoCap/Anim Process". Animation World Network.
- Schaub, David (November 23, 2004). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 1 -- Testing and Prepping". Animation World Network.
|Children||Hero Boy (Chris) • Hero Girl (Holly) • Know-It-All • Billy the Lonely Boy • Sister Sarah • Gus the Toothless Boy • Boy on Train • Blonde Girl (Heather) • Little Boy • Young Boy • Steven • Unnamed Kids|
|Adults||Conductor • Hobo • Smokey and Steamer • Santa Claus • Pastry Chefs • Waiters • Hero Boy's parents|
|Elves||Elves • Acrobatic Elves • Elf General • Elf Lieutenant • Elf Singer|
|Animals||Caribou • Santa Claus' reindeer • Wolves • Other animals|
|Toys||Ebenezer Scrooge puppet • Scrooge's friends|
|Billy's present • Ebenezer Scrooge puppet • Emergency brake • The first gift of Christmas • Fritz the Dog • Hot chocolate • Northern lights • Record players • Silver bell • Tickets|