When I decided to mix up my holiday movie posts, little did I know that I’d be going on a journey full of surprises!
Who came out on top of the Holiday Movie Showdown: Murder on the Orient Express vs. The Christmas Train?
For the past couple years, I’ve been watching and reviewing Hallmark movies, inspired by my friend Karen at For What It’s Worth. For me, Hallmark movies are like chocolate Santas: appealing on the outside, always little too sweet for me and sometimes … completely hollow.
So this year I decided to do a Holiday movie showdown: Murder on the Orient Express (the new remake that might still be in a theater near you) vs. The Christmas Train (a Hallmark movie that premiered over Thanksgiving weekend.)
You’d think a murder mystery and a Hallmark special would have little in common, but to my shock, these two movies complemented each other like hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Let’s take a look. There will be NO SPOILERS.
So Murder on the Orient Express seems to have a bit of an edge here, featuring a dazzling array of stars like Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, and Judi Dench. But Branagh’s acting was pretty extra – to me, he wasn’t meant to play Poirot.
The Christmas Train had a pretty decent cast too. It starred Dermot Mulroney (remember him from My Best Friends’ Wedding?) and Kimberly Williams Paisley (Father of the Bride). But it also had some surprises: Danny Glover (loved him so much in Lethal Weapon). And hey, what was Joan Cusack doing on the train – seeing her felt like having a long-long friend turn up at my holiday table!
To be fair, you can’t really compare a big budget Hollywood film set on a glamorous luxury train to … Amtrak. The luxe feel of the Orient Express was impressive, but it was supposed to be. Meanwhile, The Christmas Train made Amtrak travel look better than I’ve ever experienced it. (To be fair, I have zero experience with Amtrak sleeper cars, but let’s just say that the train in the movie bore NO resemblance to any Amtrak train I’ve ever been on.)
Characters Who Seem to Have Connection
In the opening scenes of Murder on the Orient Express, Point decides that the governess and the doctor have some sort of history. And, what do you know, The Christmas Train features a sort of hate-to-love-with-exes plot — Dermot and Kimberly (forgot their characters’ names) were a couple for six years who happen to be on the same train.
Murder on the Orient Express had a high suspense factor and low romantic factor, while The Christmas Train was exactly the opposite. But both formulas worked well.
Storms! Blizzards! An avalanche! Watch with a blanket – I felt chilly (and a touch claustrophobic) during both these movies.
Murder on the Orient Express obviously has a murder. But keep an eye on that Christmas stocking — there’s also a kleptomaniac on the loose on the Christmas Train!
In the end, neither of these movies was absolutely amazing, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed both of them. I think both make great holiday watching!