In 1993, Steven Spielberg gave us a movie-going experience that I still remember to this day. I was shocked, mesmerized and in awe at what the man had created, based on the novel by Michael Crichton. Now, twenty-four years later, I was able to watch Jurassic Park again on the big screen, this time accompanied by the Motion Picture Symphony Orchestra, and it was perhaps an even better experience than watching it for the very first time.
Watching the movie, it is easy to get lost in the amazing special effects and wonderful touches of humanity and warmth that Spielberg added to make this such a magical film. I mean, once you see dinosaurs running around on the screen, how can you not get swept up in the magic and tension that they create? I did forget about some of the truly horrific deaths, something that sometimes gets lost in all wide-eyed splendor found in this movie.
However, the real backbone of Jurassic Park was the powerful score created by legendary composer John Williams. Williams, who is responsible for so many iconic moments in movies over the years, delivers an exceptional effort here, including the haunting and even romantic theme that might be one of his best. Sometimes we forget about just how important the music is to a movie and watching Jurassic Park with a live orchestra was a wonderful reminder and the power music has in regards to film.
From the very first notes, the Motion Picture Symphony Orchestra quickly made its presence felt, from the eerie and haunting notes building to action-packed chaos, to the much lighter and simpler moments, that were perfect companions to the dialogue and scenes constructed by Spielberg. The execution by these musicians was flawless, and beyond that, the depth of their talent was on full display numerous times with riveting string and horn sections that were a wonder to behold.
It was also quite interesting to watch the reaction of the audience at the Sony Centre in Toronto, a great mix of fans of all ages, who laughed and cheered during certain parts of the movie only to be mesmerized by others, becoming fully immersed in the whole experience. For myself, I was interested to watch and listen to how certain scenes of dialogue were absent of any music but then the sound would slowly build, making scenes between characters just as important as the rampaging dinosaurs they were trying to avoid.
I came away from this experience with a greater appreciation for just how important and iconic Jurassic Park was, not just as a visual spectacle but as a showpiece for John Williams, one of the greatest composers in the history of film. Of course, the icing on the cake was listening to the Motion Picture Symphony Orchestra show off its immense talent and remind everyone, myself included, just how important music is in terms of not only a companion for a movie but a driving force to take films to that special place that gives audience members goosebumps time and time again.