This came bundled with the 3D TV I bought and is not one I would have been likely to buy but as a rail fan with long ties to trains and railroading I was glad to have a look at it. The scenes on board the train, with the depth of 3D, brought back a lot of memories of childhood train travel in their realism. There were also lots of scenes that had not even the remotest connection with reality but, hey, they represented the dream of a little boy on Christmas Eve so not known to be governed by a lot of discipline in the reality department. On the other hand, in one scene I noticed that just visible on the sleeve of the conductor were 5 service bars, little strips of bright metal that each represent probably, as on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 5 years of service. That's not the level of detail you'd expect in a film of this type!
I read somewhere that the steam engine in the film was based on one that had actually existed and probably still does as I believe it was used in the computer-based generation of its image. I can't swear to that but it looked realistic enough to me, who as a 16-year old once spent a few hot hours shoveling coal into the firebox of one. And in spite of my interest in the railroading aspects of the film I found the scenes of the nighttime snow falling on a quiet residential street of the forties or fifties to really have benefited even more from the advantages of 3D. Crowd scenes in 3D are also always interesting too even if they are crowds of elves. Or maybe especially if they are crowds of elves. There was a lot of artistic genius evident in the depiction of the city at the north pole too. That's right, a city. Who knew?
As for the plot, characters and message, they might make this movie an enduring family Christmas tradition even though to me they were secondary to the technical successes of HD 3D. You might be thankful, as I am, to have this in your collection, especially if you're enthusiastic about 3D or railroads or both.