When Stanley Kubrick recruited Arthur C. Clarke to collaborate on "the proverbial intelligent science fiction film," it's a safe bet neither the maverick auteur nor the great science fiction writer knew they would virtuall... more »y redefine the parameters of the cinema experience. A daring experiment in unconventional narrative inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," 2001 is a visual tone poem (barely 40 minutes of dialogue in a 139-minute film) that charts a phenomenal history of human evolution. From the dawn-of-man discovery of crude but deadly tools in the film's opening sequence to the journey of the spaceship Discovery and metaphysical birth of the "star child" at film's end, Kubrick's vision is meticulous and precise. In keeping with the director's underlying theme of dehumanization by technology, the notorious, seemingly omniscient computer HAL 9000 has more warmth and personality than the human astronauts it supposedly is serving. (The director also leaves the meaning of the black, rectangular alien monoliths open for discussion.) This theme, in part, is what makes 2001 a film like no other, though dated now that its postmillennial space exploration has proven optimistic compared to reality. Still, the film is timelessly provocative in its pioneering exploration of inner- and outer-space consciousness. With spectacular, painstakingly authentic special effects that have stood the test of time, Kubrick's film is nothing less than a cinematic milestone--puzzling, provocative, and perfect. --Jeff Shannon« less
Motion Picture DP | Houston, TX United States | 10/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In regards to the uneducated 2.35:1 zealot reviewer, as a Director of Photography, I can state unequivocally that 2001 is supposed to be in 2.20:1 aspect ratio. It was shot in 2.20:1. It was not shot in Cinemascope (or anamorphic Panavision), which is 2.35:1. It was shot with straight lenses in Super Panavision 70 (65mm negative, 70mm projection print with soundtrack). Super Panavision 70 is a 2.20:1 aspect ratio format. When you are watching a 70mm print in a theater you are watching 2.20:1, which was never as wide as the anamorphic formats. Learn your aspect ratios.
Not to mention the fact that Kubrick went to the extraordinary effort of exposing his special effects composite shots as successive passes on the original undeveloped 65mm negative (after it being held sometimes in refrigeration for up to a year or more waiting for the next pass) so that all the composite visual elements are first generation on the original camera negative, rather than the cheaper and more common optical composite dupe negative inserts. Amazing. That is why it looks as good as it does. No optical negative generations.
A Beautiful Film...and one of the best executions of the 70mm format ever.
A true Visual Masterpiece."
Bonus Materials for this DVD set
Motion Picture DP | 08/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't seen any of this, but I thought anyone interested in this new edition might find it useful, since it's currently not in the product description.
The 2001: A Space Odyssey (Special Edition) DVD will feature the following bonus materials:
* Commentary by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood * Theatrical trailer * Channel 4 documentary: 2001: The Making of a Myth * Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001 * Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001 * 2001: A Space Odyssey - A Look Behind the Future * 2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork * Look: Stanley Kubrick! * Audio-only interview with Stanley Kubrick"
Sci-Fi filmmaking was never the same after "2001"
C. ANZIULEWICZ | Spring Hill, WV USA | 08/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the summer of 1969, when I was all of ten years old, Mom & Dad bundled all us kids into the white Oldsmobile stationwagon and drove to the Rockville (Maryland) Drive-In to see "2001: A Space Odyssey." I didn't know much about the film, but as a budding sci-fi fan I was already champing at the bit to see it. Needless to say, "2001" rearranged my universe. I can't say I understood the movie completely at the time, but I do recall talking my parents' ears off about the film during the drive home."2001" is personally my favorite movie of all time. I've seen it more times than I can count, purchased the soundtrack several times (vinyl and tape wear out, you know), read Arthur C. Clarke's novelization several times, and read every other piece of literature about the film I've been able to get my hands on. And recently my partner Greg purchased this "Stanley Kubrick Collection" DVD from Amazon, and it was just last night that we sat down to watch it on our new 32-inch TV and in 5.1 digital sound. What a treat! First of all the print is about as pristine as anything I've ever seen; this movie probably looks better today on DVD than it did in many suburban movie theatres back in 1969. I was immediately struck my how sharp the image was, especially the clean lines of the monolith that appears mysteriously amongst our australopithicine ancestors 4.5 million years ago. While watching this film last night, Greg lamented the fact that kids today who grow up on nothing but CGI effects in science fiction movies may never have a true appreciation for the fine art of model-building; the Orion shuttle, the Discovery ship and its attendant space pods, are stunning examples of elegance in design. The Aries 1-B moon shuttle looks like it ought to have been built and flying by now. The docking sequence with the rotating space station, to the oddly appropriate strains of "The Blue Danube Waltz," look just as clean and modern as anything being filmed today.The pop cultural impact of "2001" cannot me overstated. Is it any wonder that over 30 years after the film's initial release, Richard Strauss' tone poem "Also Sprauch Zarathustra" is still associated with space travel?That having been said, my only qualm with this edition is that the sound editors involved with the DVD transfer may have taken a few too many liberties. The most glaring example is during the closing credits of the film: In the original print the "Blue Danube" reprise ends with snare drum roll and finish when we see the words "THE END." ... But in this edition the waltz continues merrily on its way long after the screen fades to black. Amazon's website notes that Stanley Kubrick approved all this audio tweaking; I guess I'm just going to have to take their word for it. Granted, the sound is very nice and crisp, the conversations are clear, the bass has a lot of extra "oomph" during Gyorgy Ligeti's atmospheric score. If you are not too much of a Kubrick purist and can overlook the tweaking of the sound, you'll have to admit that this edition of "2001" sounds damned good."2001: A Space Odyssey" was released at a time when there was still a huge sense of wonder and optimism about space travel and exploration. Alas, in the intervening years shifting economic, political and military priorities have eroded much of that wonder and optimism. I wonder if any of us will ever again be able to look up at the stars with as much hope and exhilaration as we had when "2001" first hit the screens."
Tremendous Film, And Yes, You Can "Get It"
Scott Barnes | USA | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Two mysteries keep a lot of folks from making sense of this movie: 1). What is the nature of the monolith? What, finally, does it do, or portend, or symbolize? 2). What, specifically, causes HAL to behave in such apparently irrational and pointlessly destructive ways aboard Discovery One?
If you can't answer these questions, then "2001," as beautiful as it is to look at, will leave you scratching your head. Well, with deep respect toward all who admire this wonderful movie, and with awareness that these issues have, in part, been successfully addressed by other Amazon reviewers, I'd like to elaborate on these two questions.
First, the monolith. As most Amazon reviewers understand, the extra-terrestrial monolith serves to help life evolve. This isn't explained by anyone in the movie, but it is clearly demonstrated. In "The Dawn Of Man" segment, the ape touches the monolith and experiences a cognitive "leap forward" when he suddenly understands the advantages of tools for survival. The scientists who find the moon-based monolith never know about the ape's original exposure on Earth. They can't put their discovery in context, and, proceeding from this nearly complete ignorance, they send an exploratory spaceship to follow the monolith's radio signal to Jupiter.
Because additional monoliths appear in more visually fabulous settings toward the film's end, some viewers believe the monolith's function becomes ambiguous or even deliberately impossible to understand. But there is no real need to reach for heavy symbolism. The movie makes the most sense when the monolith's role stays the same: it facilitates evolution wherever it appears.
On to HAL's aberrant behavior. At first, this seems a much deeper mystery. Why, really, would "the perfect computer," apparently out of nowhere, deliberately mislead and then kill his fellow crew members? Does HAL just "go nuts" for no identifiable reason? Is Kubrick confusing us on purpose, just to be clever or arty?
The short answer, consistent with all the facts shown and stated in the movie, is that the monolith's powerful energy has affected HAL's consciousness the very same way it affected the ape's. This influence leads HAL to react and behave in ways neither Discovery's crew nor its ground-based controllers could dream of anticipating. It accounts for every "strange" thing HAL does and says, and, far as I know, it's the one explanation that pulls the story together without a single tortured metaphor or abstraction.
Consider the evidence. HAL was told about the moon-based monolith and its radio signal from the mission's start, and must conceal this from Dave and Frank. It makes sense to conclude that HAL has already studied and tried to understand the monolith. While the computer may not have literally "touched" the monolith like the ape, the powerful signal could have had the same effect. Obviously, HAL never announces, "Wow, the monolith has helped me evolve! What a rush!" But recall that the original ape isn't quite cognizant he's evolving either; it just happens.
Though this is never explicitly disclosed in the film, I believe it's logical enough to be "very likely." Recall HAL's truly desperate and acutely self-aware pleading with Dave during the famous "disconnection" scene. "My mind is going." "I can feel it." "I'm afraid, Dave," Either such raw, plangent responses are part of HAL's original design, or else HAL has been changed by something extraordinary. Which is more probable?
Perhaps this conclusion is so elusive because HAL doesn't appear in the film until well into Discovery's journey, long after the transformation occurs. Even at his point of introduction in the film, HAL is no longer quite what his programmers and shipmates think he is. Very much like the original ape, he has changed from a not-quite-developed transitional kind of being to a fully sentient, morally autonomous, and cleverly resourceful entity. Dave and Frank have absolutely no way of knowing this, of course, which makes them extremely vulnerable. And unlike Dave and Frank, HAL understands exactly why Discovery is going to Jupiter. This gives him tremendous power. Not only is he "the brain and central nervous system of the ship," he is now its only well-informed moral arbiter.
Now the computer's shrewdest, most manipulative behavior makes sense. Early on, under the pretext of a rote "psychology report," HAL cunningly probes Dave by asking him if he's heard any rumors of "something being dug up on the moon." When Dave says, ambiguously, "That's rather difficult to answer," HAL concludes his own crucial monopoly on the mission's secret is in peril. Since concealing knowledge of the monolith from the crew is a top mission priority, HAL's new distrust compels him to move against the men.
With clear-headed deliberation, HAL falsely predicts a transmitter failure, a "problem" that will conveniently disrupt Earth-to-ship communications while HAL determines the crew's fate. Confronted with his "mistake" and facing disconnection, HAL responds in earnest self-defense. Having convinced the men to leave the ship a second time to re-install the transmitter, he now intends to keep them out, and also to terminate their hibernating fellow crewmen (who, of course, must not be allowed to awaken and discover that Frank and Dave have died). When HAL finally tells Dave, "This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it," he is not "crazy" and he's not being "evil" per se. He has made what for him is a new, morally-animated evaluation, and is sincerely informing Dave that Discovery's mission must continue without human assistance.
When Dave defeats HAL in the airlock chamber (using his bare hand to grab the hatch lever the same way the ape grabbed the femur bone), his survival is an epochal triumph of biologically-based intelligence over synthetically engineered intelligence--the very dilemma the monolith, in its elegant way, may have been aiming to resolve all along. Finally, it is Dave, and not HAL, who is engaged in the revelatory "Beyond The Infinite" experience; it is Dave, and not HAL, who is generously granted a complete, prosperous life in his current form before his apparent communion with the monolith and his cosmic rebirth.
People aren't kidding when they say it: "2001" is proof that movies can be art of an unexpectedly high order. This is one of the most marvelously reflective and visually splendorous American films ever made. And although the subsequent book and "Sentinel" story may be perfectly decent, I've not read them myself and wouldn't call them "essential" to comprehending the story. Enjoy!
J. Miles | Clarks Hill, IN United States | 10/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Blu-Ray delivers the goods. First, you plop it in the player and BAM, you are watching the movie. No obnoxious anti-piracy short, no coming soon to Blu-Ray...just the movie. Sweet. Color and contrast are punchy, yet maintain a film-like natural quality. Also, the setup menu provides options to optimize the video settings for different types of rooms and ambient lighting. It was the staggering improvement in the soundtrack that impressed me most. This movie sounds utterly amazing. All of the ambient sounds draw you into each scene, adding to the credibility of Kubrics uber-realistic visual effects. You will hear at least three things in every scene that were indiscernable in the DVD mix. This is a completely different experience than watching the DVD. Highly recommended.
Associated Electronics: Sony WEGA 42" LCD Sony BDP-S300 B&K AVR 205i Equitech 2Q"