UHD Review A few words about...™ 2001: a space odyssey -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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Now, having spent a bit more time with the new 2001, and examining it from a totally technical perspective, there are several more questions than answers.

I cannot, and will not speak to color, but at least to my eye, everything looks within rational parameters of what is probably either correct or nearly correct. And at some point one must allow more than a nod to Mr. Vitali, who should know - short of accurate 1968 reference - how the color should reproduce, as the actual negative tells us very little.

Resolution seems fine, although with (at least generally) black levels, as HDR makes things more complex.

My only problem with the restoration, is that I'm not certain that it's 100% complete. But here, again, we get into the minutia of what survives, in what condition, and how digital tools might be used to solve certain problems.

The publicity notes are of little to no value, as they in the truest sense of the word, are "fake news." There are so many inconsistencies -- and these have been rearing their heads since the Nolan Expedition and Cannes -- that it becomes difficult to tell truth from fiction.

Does it matter?

Not really.

One of the untruths that the publicity attempts to give us is that the digital scan is of the "original negative," but that's untrue, as it only tells part of the story.

The film was well-loved, and heavily overprinted during the decades. Back c. 1998-9, one of the top large format gurus in the industry, the indomitable Vince Roth, did what he could to save what was left of the original negative, which by then had been re-cut along with a myriad of dupes derived from different masters, on different stocks. He was able to remove years of improperly, or sometimes just old and oozing tape repairs, and help to allow the combined element to survive into the digital era.

His work is the basis of much of what you see today.

But the original negative began it's descent as early as March of 1968, at which time the shot of Mr. Lockwood jogging along the circumference of the spacecraft, apparently cracked up. If one references the old Blu-ray, the registration problems are evident in the shot, which runs about 45 feet in length. That same shot in the 4k appears less problematic, but is still a dupe, with slight halos. Can anything be done to help it?

Possibly not.

Keep in mind, as you read this, that if a dozen people make note of the problems I'm discussing, I'd be very surprised.

Early on, in the film, during the Africa sequence, there appear to be more dupes, again derived from masters, and these, in 4k appear obviously out of registration.

There are dupe shots throughout the film. Some obvious to a moderately trained eye, some far less so.

Do they matter to the general public?

Not a bit.

But to my eye, they give the final work, an incomplete aura, as though time or budget ran out, or possibly a decision was made not to return to the masters - there are at least two sets, which is unusual - or not to attempt the digital work of unpacking and re-packing digital dye laters, and repositioning them within closer tolerances. This may have been attempted, and not have worked.

Again, I view these things from a very different perspective than the general public, but report what I see.

And what I see here, should have virtually no impact to one's enjoyment of this generally spectacular 4k Blu-ray.

Two tracks are available One more attuned to the original, and with a bit of bottle age. The other having been digitally affected, and playing cleaner and more nicely on modern equipment.

Either will do nicely.

Possibly the biggest problem I've had with the entire 2001 debacle, has been one of transparency, logic, and accurate reporting, of which there has been little to none.

Had there been transparency and truth back in May, it would have saved many cinephiles a great deal of angst. But it continues, down to the latest News from WB Entertainment, which "builds upon," and continues with the earlier errors.

Those still intent upon making comparisons between the decade old Blu-ray release, or for that matter, the old laser disc, are best to stand down, as those discussions are futile.

The new 4k bests all attributes at every turn. Don't waste your time.

As to the "Premium Collectible Packaging," it's as if WB has returned to the bad of days of yore, during which time all of those special Anniversary Editions would contain tiny bits of Clark Gable's hair, along with chips and DNA from the original Cross.

In 2001, we get a small box enclosure, along with a few "art cards" - stills of the film - and a tiny "Premium Booklet." None of any consequence.

The film could just as easily been released in the normal plastic packaging that is contained within, and saved production dollars along with the planet.

Extras are of requisite quality.

Image - 4.9


Audio - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray - Without a doubt!

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 
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atcolomb

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I did not seen the film when it came out but have watched it many times on tv, vhs, laserdisc, and blu-ray and always remember the MGM logo having a blue background. On the 4K release it is a dark purple and i did check the settings on the tv and the player. Not complaining but curious why the color change? I did watch a few scenes since i did not have time to watch all of it and did like the picture & sound.
 
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PMF

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I, myself, was never worried about this release. Not one bit.:rolleyes:
 
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Robert Crawford

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I did not seen the film when it came out but have watched it many times on tv, vhs, laserdisc, and blu-ray and always remember the MGM logo having a blue background. On the 4K release it is a dark purple and i did check the settings on the tv and the player. Not complaining but curious why the color change? I did watch a few scenes since i did not have time to watch all of it and did like the picture & sound.
The MGM logo has a blue background on my OLED in Dolby Vision. I checked it again just now and it's still a blue background. Anybody else seeing Purple or Blue?
 

ghostwind

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Is the included Blu-ray disc also from the same new master, or the old one?
 
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atcolomb

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The MGM logo has a blue background on my OLED in Dolby Vision. I checked it again just now and it's still a blue background. Anybody else seeing Purple or Blue?
When i get home i will double check the settings and play my old Blu-ray disc on the 4K player and see if i get the blue or purple background on the MGM logo.
 

atcolomb

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With my Sony 4k player & 55" 4K tv I played the old Blu-ray and the MGM logo is a blue color. When I played the new Blu-ray the blue is darker and then with the 4K disc it looks like a dark purple to me. No big deal and will enjoy watching the whole film this week. Thanks for the input.
 

Robert Harris

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With my Sony 4k player & 55" 4K tv I played the old Blu-ray and the MGM logo is a blue color. When I played the new Blu-ray the blue is darker and then with the 4K disc it looks like a dark purple to me. No big deal and will enjoy watching the whole film this week. Thanks for the input.
Seems as though there may be too many tech permutations & combinations.

A disc should just play back properly on any tuned system.
 

Bill McCamy

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RAH, I had some tears in my eyes when watching the 4K/UHD disc on Saturday. I was more impressed by the picture quality on my OLED than the IMAX showing I had a few months ago.
That is great news. I saw a true IMAX presentation (probably 2K) in late August and was very pleased with the picture. I look forward to seeing it tomorrow night (10/30) on my OLED.
 
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Powell&Pressburger

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FYI my disc kind of freezes at 1:53:34/35ish it freezes then keeps going.

OPPO is my 4K player.

Just in case it happens to others. The other disc that locked up was Christine 4K but that one actually would freeze and not play onward without scanning ahead.



As for the color MGM Logo dark blue / yellow lettering as I recall it being on previous home video releases and prob the 70mm print I saw around 2001, I think it was for a revival.

The white hallway doesn't look as peachy pink on my setup. It looks much more off white with bright white lights.

Everyones calibration will vary of course.
 
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