“Jurassic Park in Concert” a scream for audience
When modern man meets the dinosaur world of 65 million years ago, the mixture is not likely to end well.
But when the San Antonio Symphony accompanies a Steven Spielberg movie titled “Jurassic Park,” the end is not only happy, there are whoops of joy and a standing ovation.
That’s because the best of the movie’s characters have survived an onslaught of nasty raptors, and it was all scored with some of the best film music ever.
More than 2,000 people attended the first of four live performances of John Williams’ vivid music by the San Antonio Symphony as “Jurassic Park” was screened on the same stage at the Majestic Theatre on Friday night.
“Jurassic Park” premiered in 1993, before the widespread use of the Internet. Not even cell phones are in the movie. But the story of cloned dinosaurs bred for a theme park on an island near Costa Rica remains a powerful draw for today’s audiences.
The story raises questions of man’s place in the world and the dangers of the hubris that revives primordial species. But for most people, it was just a scary movie with scintillating music.
For some in the audience, it also brought back memories from nearly 24 years ago.
“‘Jurassic Park’ meant a lot to me growing up. I read the novel. It was the first PG13 movie I went to with my parents. It changed my life,” said Jennifer Albin of Canyon Lake shortly before the movie started Friday night.
“We’ve been to a few symphony events,” Albin added. “For the symphony to come through and shine definitely brought us here.”
The orchestra was effective the most in providing live, awe-inspiring themes in the scenes where Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler see live dinosaurs for the first time on the fictional island of Isla Nublar.
At times, it seemed the orchestra’s string-section bows drove the plot from the stage just below the screen. The music went from epic fanfares, sheer wonderment and whimsical humor to the spooky, mysterious and menacing under guest conductor Emil de Cou.
This is exactly what Spielberg and Williams were so good at, matching music to screen action. “Jurassic Park,” after all, is mainly a sequel on land to “Jaws.”
Jurassic Park in Concert repeats at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Majestic Theatre downtown.