Film Score Friday: The Polar Express

It’s the last day of school for the semester! I needed this movie to be the last one, because I needed to make it an event!

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Music: Alan Silvestri

Here is one of the dynamic duos: Zemeckis & Silvestri!

Choosing a song to represent this movie was not as easy as I initially thought. The song associated with “The Polar Express” is “Believe” … performed by Josh Groban. But these school lessons are about film scores, not just songs! There’s only three songs on the “official” soundtrack attributed to Alan Silvestri, and all three are wonderful! (The original orchestral score was never released.) When in doubt, go with the suite!

Full transparency: I will cry whenever I hear “Believe” or “When Christmas Comes to Town.”

So, I have the book “The Polar Express.” I read it every year to my kids. I fight my way through the last few pages every year. I am sobbing and trembling. I usually have to pause to collect myself as I approach the end. My kids get me, and they allow me that moment!

Now, imagine me watching the movie.

Originally, Tom Hanks wanted to do a live-action rendition, and definitely not animated. Robert Zemeckis advised against live-action and pushed for a compromise in motion-capture. Hanks plays five roles in the movie. (Side note: we love Tom Hanks.)

There’s something about this story that takes us so much deeper than any other Christmas movie. It’s reminiscent of the part of the Grinch story where he turns around and does the right thing in the end. (FYI: “Where Are You Christmas?” from the 2000 Grinch film will turn me into a blubbering mess.) It’s that feeling of the good and innocence that exists in the world. I think about it when I watch my youngest daughter get excited about Santa. And I think about that when the bell is shaken at the end of “The Polar Express.” It’s true that you learn to see the world through your children’s eyes, and remember what it was like to believe in the wonder and magic of the season. And you hope with all hope that your kids don’t ever lose that wonder, because that means they start to see the world as it is.

Here is where I pause because, remember, I listen to the score as I type…and typing that last paragraph did a number on my emotions! My husband seems to be a little concerned with what’s happening on my end on the couch!

So, yeah, I bawl like crazy when I read and watch “The Polar Express.”

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