2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

After months of fucking up and dithering about on the part of Warner Brothers Studios, I finally received my 4K copy of this yesterday and couldn’t wait to give it a look. Suffice to say, the wait was worth it as it is one of the most immaculately remastered and jaw droppingly transcendent transfers for a catalogue title I’ve yet witnessed. This rivals even Blade Runner. For a 50 year old film to look this vivid and electric, this immediate and alive, is truly something for a cinephile to behold. Here’s some observations from this rewatch. 

-That horrifying, Lygeti-scored three minutes of music and black screen at the opening of the film representing the empty time before god made the heavens and earth really creeped me out alone in my basement in the dark last night. 

-The vicious simian throwing the bone seamlessly transitioning to a gently falling satellite in outer space is objectively the single best cut in cinematic history. To argue otherwise is folly.

-Heywood Floyd is the most gloriously detached operator of all time. I don’t know how you make a space official sent by the government seem like the smoothest pimp in the galaxy, but here we are.

-This 50 year old film that practically invented the effects technology needed to tell its story looks better than all the $250 million CGI eyesores of today. 

-2001 is a sustained cinematic orgasm. If you know anything about film, watching this is like being in the ardor of unrestrained ecstasy for 148 straight minutes.

-Frank Poole running laps in the hamster wheel is just Kubrick showing off from every angle. Love it.

-2001 makes me less afraid to die. Watching it traverse the limits of the known universe opens me up to embracing the adventure of what lies beyond the physical limits of existence. 

-With 2001, Kubrick casually presents you with a multitude of images your brain can’t begin to process as being possible within the limitations of special effects technology even 20 years ago, let alone 50. It’s fucking unreal.

-Unlike Gravity, Kubrick doesn’t need to lean on the crutch of Dave Bowman incessantly yammering about a dead kid and sobbing uncontrollably to make the audience care about him or feel his peril. Kubrick trusts the intelligence of the audience. Or maybe just trusts how stoned they are. Either way, the manner in which this film plays out either wordlessly or in terse, intelligent dialogue exchanges between realistically capable astronauts sets this apart from the emotionally manipulative pablum most modern science fiction has become. 

-Just for the record. Without 2001, there’s no Star Wars. There are plenty of shots in Lucas’ groundbreaking masterpiece that are straight up plagiarism of this.

- I love that HAL had the reaction the government were afraid the American people were going to have to the shocking news of the alien transmission and discovery on Clavius that occasioned the cover story. 

-Dave Bowman decommissioning HAL is just the same as the Simian caving in his competitors skull with the femur bone during the Dawn of Man section. Man evolved from his anthropoid background for one reason and one reason alone, he’s a killer. If Bowman didn’t lean on millennia of self preservation skills and his murderous impulse to dispatch him, it would have been HAL who met the alien intelligence and ascended past the moons of Jupiter. 

-You can’t ask much more from cinema than what 2001 gives you. It is a remarkable achievement and a timeless testament to the unfettered genius of a true master of cinematic craft.

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