Soderbergh has done it again. Last year, he stitched together a fan mash-up of Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Gus Van Sant’s disgraced 1998 remake. He also whittled Michael Cimino’s 219-minute western maudit “Heaven’s Gate” down to a lean 108 minutes, effectively doing Cimino a favor.
And now, “2001: A Space Odyssey” gets the Soderbergh treatment because, what the hell, why not? The original ranges from 140 to 160 minutes depending on what version you’ve seen; the most recent 160-minute Blu-ray is the gold standard. Soderbergh’s reedit is 110. On his website extension765, the director writes:
maybe this is what happens when you spend too much time with a movie: you start thinking about it when it’s not around, and then you start wanting to touch it. i’ve been watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY regularly for four decades, but it wasn’t until a few years ago i started thinking about touching it, and then over the holidays i decided to make my move. why now? I don’t know. maybe i wasn’t old enough to touch it until now. maybe i was too scared to touch it until now, because not only does the film not need my—or anyone else’s—help, but if it’s not THE most impressively imagined and sustained piece of visual art created in the 20th century, then it’s tied for first. meaning IF i was finally going to touch it, i’d better have a bigger idea than just trimming or re-scoring.
He also rails against the transfer of the film, writing “in the dawn of man sequence, the cross-hatched patterns of the front projection screen in several shots. this is INEXCUSBALE [sic] … ANY transfer in which these patterns are visible no matter how your monitor/TV is set up is TECHNICALLY FUCKED AND COMPLETELY WRONG.”
Head here to watch his full 110-minute version.