Friday, January 6, 2012

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey Unlike Any Other Begin

Plot: Mankind finds a mysterious, obviously artificial, artifact buried on the moon and, with the intelligent computer HAL, sets off on a quest.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

Until about 1998 every attempt I made to watch this resulted in sleep. It bored the piss out of me and I could only watch it in pieces before getting to the end. Then something happened in '98 that changed my life forever. I attended a one-time showing of this film on the largest movie screen in New England. It was huge, gargantuan. If I told you that I didn't blink for the more than two hours it was on I'd be exaggerating but not by much. I was captivated. It was like watching a moving work of art at play. It's pure eye candy. I had a similar experience when I saw THE SHINING (1980) on the big screen. Suddenly I saw this movie for what it was and how it was mean to be seen. This is the first time I've seen it since then and it was on my big ass TV. The Blu-ray is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I've used is many times over the past couple of years to show off how good an old movie in hi-def can look.

This movie's been dissected all over the place so I can't add anything to it except you must see this on the big screen. If you struggled with watching it on the small screen you will see what I mean. Having had that theater experience I can watch this flick with a different set of eyes, eyes that allow me to soak up the visuals in a new light. What keeps me from giving this a perfect score is the music. I dislike half of Kubrick's classical music choices. The dissonant ones can stay but things like The Blue Danube Waltz and other more popular tunes are distracting. Alex North (one of my favorite film composers) wrote a score for the film that was never used. There are some examples to follow but I think in some ways it works better. We'll probably never know for certain since it's highly unlikely that anyone will re-do the film with the new score to include the dialogue and sound effects but the following videos come closer than we'll probably get.

The special effects are stunning even by today's standards. It's remarkable how well this 44 year old movie holds up. I haven't met a Kubrick film I didn't thoroughly enjoy and I've seen them all. The way he lights a scene is unlike anyone else. He definitely had a signature style and you can easily see it in this film and each of the ones that followed. I cannot recommend this Blu-ray enough. It will straighten your short & curlies...that is if you still have them.

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