Photo by Grace Liu Anderson
Thump! Thump! Thump! Watch Out!
They are back. The moviedom dinosaurs you loved to hate in the Jurassic Park movies are coming back, but this time dragging the New Jersey Symphony with them in a film concert version of the classic movie.
Jurassic Park, the concert movie with the New Jersey Symphony – live – playing all the music in the movie will open Wednesday, October 25 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown (7:30pm) and then be screened October 27 at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank (8:00pm) on October 28 at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in Newark (8:00pm) and at the State Theatre New Jersey, in New Brunswick on October 29 at 3:00pm.
I assure you – the earth will tremble beneath your feet in the theater.
The New Jersey Symphony has made the concert film extraordinarily successful, real fan favorites. Now they are tackling the monster box office champ Jurassic Park with their horns and violins. Take no 50 foot tall prisoners!
I think most Americans have seen at least one of the many Jurassic Park films (the first was in 1993) This concert version is the first one, with music by John Williams. The 1993 box office hit does not seem like a likely candidate for a symphony movie, though, or does it?
“Well, just think about it, though. You go a few minutes into the movie and all of a sudden there is the theme song being played as you look out at all those dinosaurs. It works and works well,” said Erin Lunsford Norton, the vice president of the New Jersey Symphony for Artistic Planning.
In the film, old time dinosaurs come back to life on an island and terrorize everybody. I don’t know if it scares you, but it scares me. One time I could not sleep and flipped on the television and there was Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs – scared the BeJesus out of me.
CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH.
“I think the movie has some great music in it. There is that very memorable theme song, but a lot of beautifully scored music in other places. People should like it,” said Ms. Norton.
The Symphony is very careful in the films it selects for concerts.
“You need, first, a film with broad popular appeal with a lot of fans who will want to see this concert version. You also need a film with good music. They are hard to find,” Ms. Norton added.
She points to the Star Wars trilogy. “In that trilogy you have one of moviedom’s big, big hit numbers – the first Star Wars theme, plus a lot of other good music. You have a terrific storyline and solid characters. People loved it thirty years ago and love it today. We hope that Jurassic Park, now and over the next few years, will grow into a film that popular as a concert.”
She pauses. “You need the combination of story and music, though, not just a good film that all the world loves,” she added.
“These movies were not made as concert films and many old ones not even for television. I wish they had been – would have made our work a lot easier,” said Ms. Norton.
She went on.
“The music in most films just does not work in a concert film. Look at the recent hit Barbie. Movie success? Yes. Could it ever be a concert film? I Doubt it. Most movies cannot be concert films.”
There’s also the drama factor that music brings to films. “Great music makes for great scenes and a memorable film. You don’t have that in most movies,” she said.
Special effects helps, too. “Look at Jaws. Great special effects. The special effects in the Star Wars movies. People love that. You add the music and it is very successful,” said Ms. Norton.
“Another big, big factor is that we show the movies in big, old theaters. Most people see movies on television. You sit on a couch in your living room and, maybe with another two or three people, watch a movie. But if you see it in a large theater with hundreds of people… We show these films in theaters with hundreds of seats – the feeling you get is very, very different – great drama through both the films and the music,” she said.
What is so special about film concerts, though? it’s the same film you may have seen a dozen times already, right?
“It’s the music. The music heightens the drama of the film. It’s a small bit of magic – the music – and that makes all the difference,’ she added.
Wait. I’ve got to finish this story right now. Outside the building in which I live I can hear them! I can hear the Tyranosaurus Rex! They are blotting out the sun!
Those dinosaurs…they are here already …….Look out!