“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,” Steven Soderbergh writes (in all lowercase) on Extension 765. And he’s not kidding. As detailed in his lengthy list of everything he watched and read last year, Soderbergh sat down with Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” three times in 2014, and then read “The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey” by Piers Bizony. And now, he felt ready to take the scissors to the movie.
As he did for “Psycho” and “Raiders Of The Lost Ark,” Soderbergh has taken Kubrick’s film and put through his own filter, resulting in a shorter version (running a mere one-hour-and-fifty minutes long), that is also radically recut. And for you tech heads, Soderbergh has a lot to say about his many viewing experiences of ‘2001’ (he used the Blu-ray transfer for this):
i’ve seen every conceivable kind of film print of 2001, from 16mm flat to 35mm internegative to a cherry camera negative 70mm in the screening room at warner bros, and i’m telling you, none of them look as good as a bluray played on an pioneer elite plasma kuro monitor….
MY ONE GIGANTIC ISSUE WITH THIS TRANSFER is that you can see, in the dawn of man sequence, the cross-hatched patterns of the front projection screen in several shots. this is INEXCUSBALE. i never saw these patterns in any film prints—this would never have gotten past the polaroid-happy SK—and ANY transfer in which these patterns are visible no matter how your monitor/TV is set up is TECHNICALLY FUCKED AND COMPLETELY WRONG.
If you’re wondering why Soderbergh is so excitable when it comes to transfer issues for ‘2001,’ it’s because he believes “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. And few would debate him there.”
So grab some popcorn and head over to Extension 765 and see what Soderbergh has put together.