2001: A Space Odyssey is Unhesitatingly Extremely Highly Recommended! 4 Stars

I was there when it opened, as an NYU film school senior.
There are a short list of films that of which it can be said…
“There was cinema before and after…”
Mr. Kubrick’s 2001 is one of them. In your face. In spades!
To have the opportunity to view it (without drugs) in 70mm on a huge screen, is one of these life altering experiences.
Is it on par with watching the Stars and Stripes being raised at Iwo Jima?
Doubtful.
But in the world of cinema, it doesn’t get much better.
And neither could this high definition disc, for which I set aside the opening game of the World Series this evening to preview. The game actually went on without me.
This is one of those “few words” that is short, sweet and to the point.
The original 65mm negative of 2001 has been over-loved during the decades.
Over-printed, with dupes scattered about throughout, it comes to to this new DVD in nearly transparent condition. My assumption is that this transfer is derived from a 35mm interpositive produced several years ago, and it has yielded a superb master.
Warner Bros. has done a beautiful job with Mr. Kubrick’s magnum opus.
Image and audio quality are superb. And while we are viewing what is essentially the soft cover version of a film which was designed to be seen on a huge screen with audio blaring…
We finally have a version of 2001 on home video of which I believe Mr. Kubrick would be proud.
And then he would change the conversation to baseball, and the World Series.
2001 is a beautifully stuck disc from Warner, which I screened on Blu-Ray. I have no doubt that the HD version will be equally as pleasing.
On the short list of the most important classic releases of 2007…
2001 may well be at the top.
Just beautiful. Hats off to the archival crew at Warner Bros.
2001: A Space Odyssey is Unhesitatingly Extremely Highly Recommended!
RAH

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Robert Harris

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Dennis Nicholls

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I first saw 2001 in its original release as a 15 year old student in the "Century 21" theater in San Jose, which was a purpose-built theater for showing Cinerama films. The Century 21 is a concrete dome theater with fancy sound systems and a projection room custom built for 70mm and Cinerama projections.

I was disappointed that 2001 wasn't a 3-strip Cinerama film. But everything else about the film was a delight.

After owning 2001 in CED, WS VHS, non-anamorphic DVD, anamorphic DVD, and finally HD DVD, the HD culmination is what we have been waiting for all these years.

A pedant will claim that the HD DVD will make more obvious the studio set vs. the background photos in the Dawn of Man sequence. There are many other portions that highlight the limitations of the 1968 special effect. But what the heck did you expect? This is as good as it's going to get.

Having said all this, there are things in the transfer that Bob Harris may wish to comment upon. When Dave brings the pod up to the emergency airlock, the white lighting of the ship is overlaid by pinkish light from the pod's lights. Is this correct? Kubrick had a trademark of having 'halos' around lighting effects so I'm not sure.
 

Seppo

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The review gets me even more annoyed by the fact that DVD Pacific have yet to dispatch my copy of the film on BD.
 

Michel_Hafner

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I heard that the HD transfer is based on a >= 4K scan from a 65mm element. Does someone know anything definitive?
 

Robert Harris

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When Dave brings the pod up to the emergency airlock, the white lighting of the ship is overlaid by pinkish light from the pod's lights. Is this correct? Kubrick had a trademark of having 'halos' around lighting effects so I'm not sure.
I certainly can't answer this. Even if there were a later "approved" print, something this specific may not have translated. Without either Mr. Kubrick or Mr. Unsworth, generally the best that one can do is make the surrounding general colors and densities correct, and allow everything else to fall naturally where it may.

RAH
 

Gary Seven

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Robert Harris said:
To have the opportunity to view it (without drugs) in 70mm on a huge screen, is one of these life altering experiences.
RAH
I cannot help but smile at this statement as I've had the opportunity to experience it both ways on the big screen way back in the day.
Nice to get the enthusiastic RAH stamp of approval on one of my favorite science fiction movies. Great review.
And thank you Warner.
 

Robert Harris

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According to AVS...
"The 65mm neg was scanned within the last few years and was described as being in "perfect" condition to me by the guys that scanned it so there should be a pretty marvelous HD master available."
Not when I wound through it. Overused, dupes, tape...
The word "perfect" obviously has numerous meanings. I have yet to learn all of them.
RAH
 

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Michel_Hafner said:
According to Insider Mr. D. the HD master is not from a 35mm element but a 6K scan of the OCN. Cool.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=880440
A 6k scan is nice to have but more important is that there is no hideous EE added to the picture like with Battle of the Bulge.
Everybody raves about the detail on that one but the EE completely destroys the illusion of a cinematic presentation. I take it 2001 is not affected by it judging by RAH's statements here - good !
 

Michel_Hafner

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Robert Harris said:
According to AVS...
"The 65mm neg was scanned within the last few years and was described as being in "perfect" condition to me by the guys that scanned it so there should be a pretty marvelous HD master available."
Not when I wound through it. Overused, dupes, tape...
RAH
Do you think the HD-DVD could come from this 6K scan? (Have not seen the disc yet.)
 

Robert Harris

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A 6k scan, to the best of my knowledge, is not the way that Warner has been generally handling their 65s. Unless one is seeking to create additional digital preservation elements, it adds little toward the purpose of an HD release which may be harvested from a 35mm element.
Large format scans are horrifically expensive.
Whether they did a digital scan in this case is anyone's guess.
RAH
 

Ken_McAlinden

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The latest SD version (not the subject of this thread, I know) still has noticeable edge halos, especially evident on the horizon shots during the "Dawn of Man" sequence and just about everywhere during the space station/white corridor scenes early on in the picture. They looked about the same as they did in the previous 16:9 enhancded DVD and the HDNET broadcast.

I'm hoping to see the Blu-Ray this evening and will report back. If nothing else, the PCM 5.1 should be ear candy.

Regards,
 

Ken_McAlinden

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Ken_McAlinden said:
...I'm hoping to see the Blu-Ray this evening and will report back. If nothing else, the PCM 5.1 should be ear candy.
...Well, the edge halos were there, but they were lower in intensity and less bothersome on the BRD then on the SD release. The ones on the SD release more or less jumped out at me while I had to look a bit more actively to notice them on the HD. I will now spend the evening trying to train myself to stop looking actively for them so I can enjoy the film.
The PCM 5.1 track is as nice as I hoped it would be.
Regards,
 

BrettB

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Looks like the higher resolution is revealing the matte paintings at the beignning. A few shots are very ugly.
 

Douglas Monce

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BrettB said:
Looks like the higher resolution is revealing the matte paintings at the beignning. A few shots are very ugly.
They aren't matte paintings. They are large format still photographs that are front projected on to a screen that is coated with 3M reflective material. I think what we are seeing is an uneven application of that 3M material.
Doug
 

BrettB

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Interesting. Thanks for the info. At first I didn't know what was going on. It sort of looked like a dirty lens or something.

The 20-30 mins I sampled after that were pretty damned impressive.
 

Carlo Medina

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Talk about an Odyssey...try finding one of these in a B&M store!

The Best Buy store locater says that my local one has some in stock. I'm going to take a long lunch in a bit to try and track a copy down since Amazon is still listing this as 2-5 weeks and I'm not the waiting type...