What I Liked: The characters are simple but charmingly designed. The whole movie is gorgeously atmospheric, with some brilliant set designs that are as dreamy as they are unsettlingly surreal. Animation is excellent for an 80's production, if not slow at times, with nice uses of imagery, light / shadow and colour. The themes of death, faith and one's legacy are handled with a surprising amount of sensitivity.
What I Didn't: Characters suffer from blank face syndrome. The soundtrack not only dates the film dramatically, but ends up being tonally inappropriate some of the time (e.g. Campanella's "disembarking"). First act is incredibly slow, but pacing does improve in later acts. Strong Christian undertones may deter some viewers. For a kids movie, it's not terribly straight-forward nor easy to digest.
Final Verdict: Enigmatic, highly symbolic and incredibly surreal, Night on the Galactic Railroad is a doozy of a children's film that explores themes of faith, legacy and mortality with sensitivity and flair. Sure, it may be a little too heavy or sluggishly paced for the most part with a soundtrack that is easily the weakest aspect of all, but it is still a wonderfully animated film with complex imagery and pleasant character designs that stay with you long after the film is over.
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