Jaws Was a Frightful Delight at Roy Thomson HallMarch 26, 2018
I saw Jaws when I was eleven years old, my dad thought I was old enough and I had already developed an interest in sharks. Well, I wasn’t ready and although the movie scared the hell out of me it did spark an interest in me in terms of horror that still exists to this day. That being said, Jaws was no ordinary movie. It was horrifying to be sure but well directed, acted and executed, so much so that it is still horrifying to watch to this day. So needless to say, when I was offered the chance to see Jaws with a live orchestra, something I also very much enjoy, at Roy Thomson Hall I jumped at the chance and not surprisingly, it was a wonderful event.
While I’ve been lucky enough to see a few movies with an orchestra over the years, E.T., Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Jurassic Park, I have not had the opportunity to see one a Roy Thomson Hall. It has been quite some time since I was there, high school maybe, so I was curious as to the reception the movie would get, the setup, everything. As I proudly strutted around the inside of Roy Thomson Hall wearing my Jaws tee shirt, I received many nods of appreciation and even a few thumbs up.
As always, the movie itself was amazing. The practical effects still hold up to this day and the fear and horror the shark brought out in everyone when it first came out still resonates, even though we have learned that sharks are not simple mindless man-eating killing machines. However, the live music added an element to my love of the movie that I’ve never experienced before with Jaws. It goes without saying that the John Williams score is a huge part of the movie, as it is with most big, iconic films, but to actually feel it coming off the musicians and translating the fear and suspense to the crowd was exhilarating, to say the least.
It was fascinating to watch conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos lead the Toronto Symphony Orchestra through this score and as always, interesting to note how they must time their entries and exits into the film with perfect precision, as so not to ruin the mood or moment. The music was flawless, the timing impeccable and the sound…well, Roy Thomson Hall was built for big, beautiful scores like this and the echoes of the classic buildup in Jaws, where you knew trouble was coming, filled every inch of the building.
The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy the movie and musical performance as well, and it was fun to see some obvious newbies to the world of Jaws sitting in front of me as the screamed and jumped their way from start to finish. I guess that is the true testament to both the score and the film, that even now, forty plus years later it can still evoke that kind of emotion from people.
It was an absolute joy to not only revisit one of my favorite movies but to do it at such a wonderful venue like Roy Thomson Hall. If they do any more of these events in the future, I highly recommend you attend as you won’t be disappointed.