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The Polar Express
Album Cover Art
2004 Regular Edition
2004 Deluxe Edition
Album 2 Cover Art
2004 Promotional
Album 3 Cover Art
2005 Bootleg
(Sample Cover)
Album 4 Cover Art
Co-Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:

Co-Composed and Co-Produced by:
Glen Ballard

Orchestrated by:
William Ross
Conrad Pope
Labels Icon
Warner Sunset/Reprise Records
(November 2nd, 2004)

Warner Sunset/Reprise Records
(November 2nd, 2004)

(December, 2004)

(January, 2005)
Availability Icon
The regular and deluxe albums from Warner/Reprise were both retail products, but the latter initially sold for a completely unworthy $35 (its value eventually plummeted down to $10 on the used market). The promotional album was sent from Warner to AMPAS members and a handful of copies were sold for $50 a piece in early 2005. The resulting bootlegs have been traded extensively on the secondary collector's market since.
The song "Believe" won a Grammy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the regular commercial album if you desire the award-winning songs and a basic summary of Alan Silvestri's conservative and predictable contribution to the fluffy holiday environment of the film.

Avoid it... on the "deluxe" commercial product unless you seek an overpriced board book and cheap jingle bell; in terms of the score, avoid the promotional and bootleg albums unless you seek mostly instrumental regurgitations of the songs.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 9/19/09
The Polar Express: (Alan Silvestri/Glen Ballard) So much hype was generated about the production process of making super-realistic animated characters that many reviews of Robert Zemeckis' The Polar Express completely ignored the fact that the 2004 film was a musical. Indeed, the adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's relatively recent children's story was so concerned with its look that its sound seemed like an afterthought. The process of taking Tom Hanks and other performers and using body dot technology to allow computers to mimic their acting did truly produce, outside of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, a form of realism not seen in animated form, though this breakthrough came at a price. Despite all of Zemeckis' team's endeavors, a disastrous miscalculation in the rendering of the characters' eyes (including a devastatingly poor representation of the eyes' focal points) caused every person in the film to exhibit a creepy, glazed-over look. Some reviewers did not let this detail stop them from rating The Polar Express very highly, though audiences rewarded Warner Brothers' $165 million investment with only $175 million in grosses, a notable disappointment given the project's expectations. The general darkness in the overall rendering (the first feature-length film for a 3D IMAX format) was also a detriment to the production's appeal to children in the age bracket targeted by the book, despite the great care taken to extend the illustrative feel of Van Allsburg's creation to the screen. The story itself had to be expanded significantly to fill 90 minutes of screen time, though Zemeckis' own additions to the plot were well received. Compensating for the potential hazards awaiting audiences in the gloomy and mysterious visuals was ultimately the task of Zemeckis' usual collaborator, Alan Silvestri, who teamed up with Glen Ballard to create five original songs for The Polar Express. Silvestri then took those melodies and incorporated them into a short underscore that largely relies heavily upon them, with the exception of one substantial theme of mystery specific to the score. A collection of classic Christmas-related pop songs from an era past were employed, allowing Zemeckis to throw some Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby into the soundscape for (likely) nostalgic reasons.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.12 Stars
***** 41 5 Stars
**** 48 4 Stars
*** 40 3 Stars
** 30 2 Stars
* 38 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2004 Retail Editions Tracks   ▼Total Time: 46:06
• 1. The Polar Express* - performed by Tom Hanks and Ensemble (3:25)
• 2. When Christmas Comes to Town* - performed by Matthew Hall and Meagan Moore (4:07)
• 3. Rockin' on Top of the World* - performed by Steven Tyler (2:35)
• 4. Believe* - performed by Josh Groban (4:18)
• 5. Hot Chocolate* - performed by Tom Hanks and Ensemble (2:33)
• 6. Spirit of the Season* - performed by Ensemble Choir (2:33)
• 7. Seeing is Believing (score) (3:47)
• 8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - performed by Frank Sinatra (2:35)
• 9. White Christmas - performed by Bing Crosby (3:05)
• 10. Winter Wonderland - performed by The Andrews Sisters (2:43)
• 11. It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas - performed by Perry Como & The Fontaine Sisters (2:40)
• 12. Silver Bells - performed by Kate Smith (2:39)
• 13. Here Comes Santa Claus - performed by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters (3:04)
• 14. Suite from The Polar Express (score) (6:02)
* original songs written by Alan Silvestri and/or Glen Ballard (total time: 19:31)
(original score total time: 9:49)
2004 Promotional Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 27:01
2005 Bootlegs Tracks   ▼Total Time: 45:55

Notes Icon
The insert of the regular retail album includes no extra information about the score or film (other than extensive photography and movie quotes). The packaging of the 2004 "Deluxe Edition" contains an illustrated board book (with the story of the film for children) the size of a double jewel case and a small jingle bell. This product was met with significant dissatisfaction. The promotional and bootleg albums have no formal insert other than a single-page front cover.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Polar Express are Copyright © 2004, 2005, Warner Sunset/Reprise Records (Regular), Warner Sunset/Reprise Records (Deluxe), Promotional, Bootlegs and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/19/09 (and not updated significantly since).
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