The Most Unique Movie-Watching Experience Ever

PowellApparently last week was my Week of Watching Movies in the Theater That Came Out decades ago.

First up was Jurassic Park, which held its own after 20 years. There is so much wonder and awe in that movie–Spielberg truly makes you believe that dinosaurs are alive. I had also forgotten how scary it is.

But the big event of the week was watching The Matrix at Powell Symphony Hall with the soundtrack provided by the symphony. It was an incredible experience, and I’ll touch upon the highlights and my thoughts in the bullet points below:

  • Powell Hall (pictured here) is a beautiful place to watch a movie. They kept the house lights up pretty high, but they highlighted the artistry of the theater, so I didn’t mind at all.
  • I have a new-found respect for movie soundtracks and the work that goes into creating and recording them. The composer of the Matrix score was the conductor on Saturday, and I’m in awe of how well he captured the essence of the movie.
  • Although I spent most of the evening with my eyes on the screen, every once in a while I’d watch specific musicians. It seemed like the horn and string sections were used a lot, and the harpist had one glorious moment that made people clap. I’m curious if the musicians like that kind of show more or less than a more traditional symphonic concert.
  • I’ve seen The Matrix many times, and Saturday solidified how much I like it. It builds and builds like few movies do, and although it’s sheer entertainment, it asks great questions about mankind, reality, and technology.

Perhaps most of all, now that I’ve experienced a live soundtrack/score, I want more. I want to hear the iconic music of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, Inception and The Dark Knight. I even want them to take it a step further and have cover bands play the snippets of songs that accompany the amazing soundtracks of Almost Famous, Forrest Gump, and an old favorite from my younger years, Empire Records.

What movie would you like to see in that format? Maybe pick one with a traditional score and one with a soundtrack of great bands and musicians.


16 Responses to “The Most Unique Movie-Watching Experience Ever”

  1. Katie says:

    There are some great movies that I think would work really well in that kind of venue. Braveheart, The Natural, The Godfather, A Beautiful Mind and Up all have great scores that I’d love to hear performed live.

    As far as something with a great movie soundtrack, if they could get Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova to come in and do a live performance to their movie Once, I’d be the first in line to see that! I think Pulp Fiction would be an interesting one to see performed as well.

    Cold Mountain has a great soundtrack by T-Bone Burnett; it’s got a lot of interesting instrumentals featuring fiddles, pianos, violins and banjos to capture the music of that time. Plus, there are some fantastic lyrical songs throughout the film. It would be worth it just to hear “You Will Be My Ain True Love” and “Wayfaring Stranger” done well.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Braveheart would be amazing–that just jumped to the top of my list. And Once is a great call as well. I like these ideas!

  2. T-Mac says:

    For original score, I’d have to go with Star Wars. However, the performance I’m most intrigued by this morning would be the Geto Boys rapping live beneath a big screen version of Michael Bolton awkwardly destroying a copy machine in Office Space.

  3. Jasmin says:

    I didn’t know they do movies in the Powell Hall. If they do Fantasia 2000 that would be awesome.

  4. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    I actually think they are doing Fantasia 2000 this season! 🙂

  5. Red says:

    I’ve had a few of these experiences at the symphony. I went to the sound check for one of the Lord of the Rings films a few years back. It was nice, less expensive, early in the evening and Low key. They only opened it up because the performance sold out.

    I also saw a Fellowship of the Ring performance a few years ago at the symphony. This was the same as what you just saw with The Matrix. It was fantastic.

    Most recently (two Decembers ago) I saw the Symphony do selections from John Williams (the primary composer for Steven Spielberg films). They did selections from ET, Star Wars, Harry Potter [Not Spielberg], Jurassic Park, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, Sugarland Express, Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, etc. It was fantastic to hear the pieces, most of which you’d recognize anyway. But not the same as seeing a whole film that way.

    I think if you could have combined Jurassic Park in 3d, with the symphony, your head would have exploded.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s awesome–I wish I could have seen the Lord of the Rings in that format.

      Ha ha…yes, my head would have exploded if that’s how I watched Jurassic Park. 🙂

  6. Rupert says:

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy with live soundtrack and choirs (adult and children) have been the best performances I’ve ever been to bar none, they are held here one per year – 2011 for the 1st movie, 2012 for the 2nd and hopefully we’ll get the conclusion this year. It was so popular they moved from a 2,000 seater theatre to a 14,000 seater arena. You can go see Once on broadway now – https://www.oncemusical.com/

  7. Katie says:

    The Fox just announced six new upcoming shows, and Once is one of them…too bad it’s not for another year!

    https://www.fabulousfox.com/BroadwaySeriesRelease/

  8. […] clear that the show was a big deal from the sold-out crowd at Powell Hall (the same place where I saw The Matrix a few months ago), I don’t think I realized how cool the show was until the lights dimmed and the music […]

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