2001: A Space Odyssey
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DVD Special Features:
Languages: Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English, German
Subtitles: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Italian
Hearing impaired: English, German
Confirming that art and commerce can co-exist, 2001: A Space Odyssey was the biggest box-office hit of 1968, remains the greatest science fiction film yet made and is among the most revolutionary, challenging and debated work of the 20th century. It begins within a pre-historic age. A black monolith uplifts the intelligence of a group of apes on the African plains. The most famous edit in cinema introduces the 21st century, and after a second monolith is found on the moon a mission is launched to Jupiter. On the spacecraft are Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Poole (Gary Lockwood), along with the most famous computer in fiction, HAL. Their adventure will be, as per the original title, a "journey beyond the stars". Written by science fiction visionary Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, 2001 elevated the SF film to entirely new levels, being rigorously constructed with a story on the most epic of scales. Four years in the making and filmed in 70 mm, the attention to detail is staggering and four decades later barely any aspect of the film looks dated, the visual richness and elegant pacing creating the sense of actually being in space more convincingly than any other film. A sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two (1984) followed, while Solaris (1972), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Abyss (1989) and A.I. (2001) are all indebted to this absolute classic which towers monolithically over them all.
On the DVD: There is nothing but the original trailer which, given the status of the film and the existence of an excellent making-of documentary shown on Channel 4 in 2001, is particularly disappointing. Shortly before he died Kubrick supervised the restoration of the film and the production of new 70 mm prints for theatrical release in 2001. Fortunately the DVD has been taken from this material and transferred at the 70 mm ratio of 2.21-1. There is some slight cropping noticeable, but both anamorphically enhanced image and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (the film was originally released with a six-channel magnetic sound) are excellent, making this transfer infinitely preferable to previous video incarnations. --Gary S DalkinSee all Product description
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I'm aware that there is some controversy over this new version overseen by director Christopher Nolan however I don't have any issues with the presentation. If you are a Kubrick aficianado you will have seen this film many times and have an opinion on how it should look. Truth is, only Kubrick could've settled the debate. From what I gather the criticism focuses on the film looking overly teal in tone instead of previous transfers on Blu-ray which are of a more blueish hue. I'm happy to accept Nolan's work on this and since I never saw it on release I can't comment further.
What I can say is that this version looks as good as it ever has. Kubrick's technical ability and that of the effects crew is complimented by crystal clear visuals and the sound clarity is superb. You can choose the original stereo mix or the new re-mix.
In summary I wholeheartedly recommend this version of 2001 which has become for me the definitive presentation of a classic.
I sincerely hope that Warner Bros continues with Kubrick's other works and we get 4K releases for them all, especially The Shining and Barry Lyndon.
The thing is, watching 2001 should be a numinous experience and the original film had an aethereal quality to it that is far removed from the pin-sharp, see-every-detail films that we're used to today. This new release was made from the original 65mm camera negative with as much of the digital processing as possible left out, and it shows. The film looks like I remember it doing when I saw it as a kid. The brush marks are gone. The spaceflight sequences look superb and the scenes above the Moon are tinged with a protean, blue light. The stargate sequence is breathtakingly beautiful and the colours look far richer than earlier releases - I suspect it will become *the* clip to use to show off what HDR adds to the television experience. You get a choice of the original six-channel soundtrack and a "restored" audio surround mix, both encoded in DTS-Master Audio that is crisp and clear; the surround comes into its own in the final hotel sequence.
Surprisingly, there are no new special features on this release - you just get what was on the previous Warner Brothers issue. It would have been nice to see how this version of the film came into being. But the film's the thing, and you really do get your money's worth here.
I was too young to see 2001 in the cinema, the best I've ever seen it previously was on a 36inch widescreen CRT TV (SD DVD). The experience on my new TV is totally different and immersive. On the small screen I got bored during the stargate sequences, but on the big screen it's almost hypnotic - time passes as in a dream. The dawn of man sequence in the beginning was gorgeous, and the "waltz" sequence in space likewise. I was nervous that I was going to see matte lines around the spaceships as I had with earlier DVD, but I could not. I don't know if the video was cleaned up for 4K, or just my new TV has a better colour range.
The visuals is the best aspect of the film. From the tranquil view of outer space, Planet Earth, the spaceship, the planets and the psychedelic colours towards the end, this really is visual film-making at its best, and it's mind-blowing, considering it was done in 1968! I still wonder how the team behind the visuals did those effects they're that good!!
It's a shame that the original Star Wars films always comes to people's minds when thinking about great visuals that came out a few decades ago, when in fact 2001: A Space Odyssey really should get the credit in my opinion, especially considering it came out 9 years before the first Star Wars film.
The music is also wonderful, creating a chilling, eerie and sometimes unsettling atmosphere to the film. It truly fits with the very serious tone of this film.
More can be said about this film, but I don't want to reveal too much information, so watch it with no interruptions or distractions, and just absorb everything that is shown in the film and enjoy it.
Unfortunately, as much as I love this film, I feel that it is not for everyone, as some people might get a little bit confused or even bored by the film, but, this is a film that doesn't have a coherent and easy- to-understand storyline that everyone can grasp, and it's not meant to, as Kubrick wants the viewer to think and contemplate on what he sees, and to come to his own interpretation of the film. In my opinion, the ambiguity and cryptic nature of the film makes it fascinating to watch. If you keep this in mind, I hope you will enjoy the movie immensely, as I did!
After watching this film and really thinking on it, this is my No. 1 favourite movie of all time. I'm 19 years old, so I believe even the younger generation can enjoy and appreciate this masterpiece.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" gets a perfect 10/10 rating from me!