2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

Part of Music Box Theatre's 70mm film fest. My second time seeing 2001 in 70mm and I was not disappointed. It confirmed for me that one truly hasn't experienced this film unless you've seen the 70mm version with audio levels set where Kubrick wanted them. It really is transcendent.

2001 is a unique piece of visual art by a director obsessed with every single frame and every detail within that frame. As Kubrick said, 2001 is a "a visual, nonverbal experience" and I think that's one of the primary reasons it doesn't work nearly as well on the small screen. It's hard to describe the visual and auditory experience of seeing that first ship in earth orbit while the Blue Danube fills every nook of the theater with sound and the crystal clear, high resolution of the 70mm frame envelops you.

There is almost no drama or conflict. Very little characterization. These also make the film ill-suited to the small screen. There are certainly big ideas about humanity and artificial intelligence, but on the spectrum from something like Sopranos, a character-based drama, to a laser light show or fireworks display, 2001 is closer to the latter, albeit a visual experience of the highest order.

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