1,145 of 1,272 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2007
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.
303 of 338 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2000
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?
"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.
425 of 476 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2007
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
201 of 224 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2005
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!
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2007
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.
Sony WEGA 42" LCD
B&K AVR 205i
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I saw "2001" in its original run, first at the Broadway Cinerama theater in New York, then at the DC Cinerama. At both theaters I was surprised at the poor image quality, though I assumed it was due to projecting an image -- even one on 70mm film -- on such a large screen.
The principal problem was an overall softness and lack of detail, with generally desaturated colors. It was if there was a lot of scattered light (flare) in the optical system, of the sort caused by grease marks on the lenses. The curved Cinerama screen doesn't help, either, as it allows the brighter areas of the image to "spill over" into the darker.
The Blu-ray disk - presumably derived from the negative -- is a revelation. "2001" looks totally different. The images are razor-sharp, with great detail and natural-to-slightly high saturation. The "trip" sequence is an eye-popper. And you can almost read the zero-gravity toilet instructions.
The Blu-ray sound is disappointing, weighted toward the treble, and not very clean. (No, it's not my system, thank you.) A darker, richer, more "theatrical" sound is needed.
Other than the sound, the only thing wrong with the Blu-ray disk is that even 60" isn't enough. <ahem> You really need to see "2001" on a huge screen that fills your field of view, particularly in the sequence where Moonwatcher throws a bone into the air, and it falls back as a similarly shaped spacecraft, one of the most breathtaking moments in movie history. The docking sequence that follows similarly requires a big screen. Neither is as effective on home video as in the theater, despite the much better image quality of the former.
As for the film's science and metaphysics... "2001" divided critics, with the ever-shallow-and-self-serving Pauline Kael proclaiming it "profoundly unimaginative". Most critics were kinder, with a few negative reviewers reversing themselves after a few weeks. The best review took up an entire page of "The Christian Science Monitor" (which was then full-sized), the reviewer completely "getting" the film on every level. Many other critics needed time to digest a film quite different from anything that had come before. Those interested in the controversy surrounding "2001" should find Jerome Agel's "The Making of Kubrick's 2001".
This is definitely a Blu-ray disk that will sell a lot of 50" and larger TVs.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2002
This has to be THE MOST mind-blowing, intellectual, awesome movie I've ever seen. 2001: A Space Odyssey was and still is a pioneer not only in the science-fiction genre, but in movie-making itself. This film proved that you don't need dialogue or action-packed sequences to get your point across on film.
The opening has to be one of the most creative ever. A science fiction movie beginning in prehistoric times. We see ape-men striving to survive in the hostile, pre-technological world. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a huge, rectangular black monolith (put on earth by alien, intelligent forces) is discovered by the ape-men. (I would also like to take this moment to praise Kubrick and Clark for not relying on the typical "man meets alien face-to-face" approach. The aliens are never seen in the entire movie.) The monolith inspires the apes to make the first discovery.
Jump ahead 3 or 4 million years into the future. In the year 2000, a similar monolith is discovered on the moon. This one beams a "trail" to Jupiter, which man follows in the Discovery voyage in the year 2001. Now, since other reviews on this site have already given you a summary of the rest of the plot (HAL's breakdown, the Star Gate (or "light show") segment, and the surrealistic, dialogue-less end sequence of Dave Bowman's eventual evolution into the Star Child), I don't need to go into any more detail.
Now, don't be fooled by reviews denouncing Kubrick's masterpiece. I'm 15, and I understood this movie to a degree (you're not supposed to completely understand it). Reviewers complaining that the ending is vague and ambiguous are correct: this movie IS vague and ambiguous, but many people miss a crucial point. Kubrick meant 2001: A Space Odyssey to be mysterious and enigmatic. The evolution of man himself from ape to man to Star Child is not simple; the answers aren't always laid down in stone. And as for those who complain about the slow pace of the movie are missing yet another key element: if the movie was fast and action-packed like other sci-fi films, there wouldn't be enough time to experience and actually THINK ABOUT what you're watching. Movies ARE art, and anyone who criticizes art just because it is "arty" doesn't truly appreciate cinema. Oh, and one more thing to clear up: I have read countless reviews saying that the effects were great for their time, but are no longer great. In this world where we rely on computers to give us special effects, it is hard to appreciate the "old techniques" such as models and painted backdrops. Think, everyone: this movie was made in '68. Do you really expect it to live up to today's computer-generated standards? Of course it's a little corny, but special effects don't make a movie: plot (even at a deliberately slow pace) and theme (though hard to understand) do.
Overall, I would highly suggest 2001: A Space Odyssey to anyone. Some people will love it, some will hate it. But at least give it a chance. It's a brilliant masterpiece and an original plot explaining (well, almost) the evolution - and meaning - of mankind.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2008
2001:A Space Odyssey is an absolute marvel to behold. I doubt there is a more pure visual film in existence. It was released 40 years ago, and it still sets the standard for any sci-fi films to follow. It gets better with each viewing.
But it's also easy to understand any criticism. This movie is slow-paced with very little dialogue. It relies on some theories of evolution that some might have qualms with. Plus it advances with an allegorical complexity that is not always easy to decipher. Here's my interpretation--
It explores the very essence of life, manifesting first somewhere way back through the layers of our existence. In this pre-Cambrian timeframe, some hairy ape-humans make a startling discovery--a bizarre, rectangular shaped object or monolith. This vast statuesque piece seems most likely extra-terrestrial.
This entire opening scene is supremely odd. These creatures harness a distinct inclination for violence, which notably reflects our current tendencies.
Then the story abruptly takes a gargantuan leap through time and space, to the year 2001. It is amazing the imagination and the foresight this film envisions. It shows the spaceship crew in orbit using hi-tech computers, debit cards, and picture phones. Granted there are some things a little far-fetched, but still it's an incredible visionary semblance.
Soon there are dillemmas introduced that are relevant in real life. Lies, government cover-ups, people becoming prisoners of truth. Plus we're introduced to one of the most evil, calculative villans ever--the supercomputer named HAL. BTW, that name is an amalgam of "heuristic" and "algorithmic", the two main processes of learning.
HAL is designed to navigate the ship and keep the crew safe, but inevitably it turns against them in terrifying fashion. The desperate plea "Open the pod bay doors HAL" strikes a horrific nerve as the men all seem doomed at the hands of their own invention.
Kubrick does such a great job with this screenplay, which was adapted from Arthur Clarke's short stories. He doesn't feel the need to explain everything or fill in the blanks with pointless gibberish. Plus the camera work is absolutely phenomenal. There are people often times apparently defying gravity, it is mind-boggling how these feats were shot. It all has Kubrick's cold, antiseptic feel with vibrant contrast of colors. AND THE MUSIC!?!?! It escorts, sways, and entices the viewer through this wondrous exploration of space.
Now, the end of this story is up for much debate. A common interpretation is that a mortal man embarks on a journey, both physically, mentally, and spiritually, which changes him forever. I like to think he takes the next step of evolution, becoming....?
the perfect creature...
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2010
Having seen 2001 dozens of times since 1970 in theaters, vhs, laserdisc, and dvd - I can state with a clear conscience that the film has NEVER looked this good before. Even in a theater, you would have had dirt, scratches, some stain or dust on screen. This 1080p transfer is just jaw-dropping from first scene to last. A richness of detail and color, perfect gradations, no oversharpening.. THIS is how you do a Blu Ray, folks. And at $10???? It's the least i EVER paid for a copy of the movie, having spent as much as $125 for a laserdisc.
Few older films will ever look this good on Blu Ray - 2001 was shot in 70mm, so the original negative has twice the detail of most films from the era.
I enjoyed this presentation as if i was seeing it for the first time, or with new eyeballs. This is the best $10 investment you can make to show off your blu ray.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2007
This new two-disc DVD set is well worth adding to any "2001" fan's collection if only to get the second disc, which has all of the interviews and featurettes. The recorded (no video) interview with Stanley Kubrick also is extremely interesting, particularly if you're a film buff; toward the end, Kubrick speaks glowingly of Arthur Clarke, which is refreshing considering that, at the time of the interview, he was keeping Arthur at the end of his financial tether.
The disc with the film is intriguing because of the (sporadic) commentary provided by Lockwood and Dullea, but I consider it a grave mistake not to have included additional commentary from others involved in the production. I am grateful that we have any DVD commentary at all, of course, but many of Gary Lockwood's comments aren't especially pertinent, and both are left to flail and misremember information which they were not fully prepared to conjure up or reference. We do feel, though, that by the end we've gotten to know these two performers better, and that in itself is enjoyable.
I haven't made any inquiries, but it strikes me as reprehensible -- and worthy of some sort of explanation -- that the commentary track doesn't include material from Arthur C. Clarke, Daniel Richter (Moonwatcher), the special-effects wizard Douglas Trumbull or Frederick Ordway, who served as the technical science consultant to Kubrick; all of these gentlemen are still with us, and no doubt would have been glad to be involved. Fortunately we still meet and hear them all on Disc 2, but what wonderful expertise we could have been treated to while watching the film if we could hear, say, Richter commenting on the "Dawn of Man" sequence instead of Lockwood and Dullea, neither of whom were involved directly.
It also would have been a service to include comments at length from one or more noted film critics or historians, who could have put the entire film -- and notable sequences -- into historical perspective from a cinematic viewpoint. On Disc 2, Roger Ebert does provide some thoughts, but they strike me as brief and cursory.
Still, this DVD set is as good as it's going to get for awhile, and -- I repeat -- I'm glad to have it. Though the initial sequence shows the moon too dark to be visible at all (in the theater it was quite clear), the image of the film in general looks terrific and includes colors I haven't seen in years. And yet, because of the glaringly missed opportunities the commentary track represents, I feel as though more remains to be done. Dare we hope for an improved commentary track on the 3- or 4-disc Criterion Collection set someday ...?