January 15, 2015

"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...."

Writes Steven Soderbergh, and if you go to that link, you can watch his re-edit of "2001."

23 comments:

tim in vermont said...

It was sustained visual art right up to the videophone product placement for The Bell System, complete with phone booth.

Quaestor said...

Keep your hands to yourself, Sonderbergh.

Quaestor said...

It was sustained visual art right up to the videophone product placement for The Bell System, complete with phone booth.

Not to mention the orbital Howard Johnson's restaurant. Luckily for the real 2001 we have Applebee's (oh my gawd!)

Aussie Pundit said...

2001: A Space Odyssey has been superceded by Interstellar, which basically does the same thing, except that it does it far better.

We might as well collectively delete 2001.

Quaestor said...

2001: A Space Odyssey has been superseded by Interstellar, which basically does the same thing, except that it does it far better.

Sad. Went to see the Sistine Chapel, and all he saw was plaster.

Aussie Pundit said...

okay, the 'collectively delete' comment was OTT... but even so, although it was amazing in many ways, 2001 was a product of its time and had some pretty major flaws.

The ending, in particular, was a mess.

rehajm said...

I will watch then pass judgement though the 60 seconds of the scene in queston I saw looked brilliant.

Anonymous said...

The end of the movie, 2001, was a bit... too trippy, I guess I'd call it. It packaged up the idea of the next phase of human evolution in a rather mystic manner.

I'm more fond of the novel, and the three sequels by Arthur C. Clarke. Over the span of the novels the mystical becomes less so, the powers behind the monotlith are still mysterious, but the motives are understood, and it still feels like an evolution of sorts, but not so... cosmic.

You don't need to read the middle sequels. 2010 does set up events that have consequences in the final book. 2050 really can be skipped, it's a nice interlude, and begins to hint at the nature of the monolith, but really, nothing important. 3001: The final odyssey is an interesting counter-point to how Kubrick portrayed the world in 2001.

Kubrick seemed to show a coldness in the human race, a bit of distance, as we begin to reach out into the universe. In 3001, Clarke shows a world much more... human and alive, as opposed to Kubrick's 2001.

To be fair Clarke's 2001 does feel "warmer" too, but largely because everything has to be expressed in words, and not images, that even when you are not getting any dialog, you are still aware of the human hands creating the story via the third person narration.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"2001: A Space Odyssey has been superceded by Interstellar, which basically does the same thing, except that it does it far better.

We might as well collectively delete 2001."

Mein Gott. Not even close.

Jon said...

I watched the first 40 minutes or so of this...travesty, is what I would call it. If you hadn't seen the movie before, you wouldn't know what is going on.
Not that the original was easy to grok, either, of course.

John Lynch said...

Watched it.

Big changes- dumped the space station and moon trip sequences with Floyd. Also the Moon briefing. With those changes almost all the dialogue is gone.

Small changes- quicker cuts in Africa and other places.

The running time is over 1/2 hour shorter. I don't think it hurts the movie.

The story is much more centered on the Discovery mission. HAL keeps appearing as a motif... which changes the meaning of the movie. I won't spoil anything.

I've been watching 2001 since I was 8 years old. This is the most accessible version I've ever seen. What's lost is "gee-whiz" space stuff that a modern audience can't care about. The movie itself is much more modern this way.

SteveR said...

At the time it was a great experience to sit in the theater and watch it. So much of it was new and different than anything I had ever watched. But I was young and now I'm just glad to have experienced it, raw and unprepared. Now everyone is an expert and fully prepared to tell us whats wrong. Not interested.

Quaestor said...

SteveR wrote: Not interested.

Well said. Anybody with access to an NLE (Final Cut, Vegas, Premier) and a modicum of skill can re-edit any movie they want and tell a different story (ignoring legalities, of course) so Sonderbergh's fucking with the Kubrick corpus is nothing remarkable. Hell, I could run Der Untergang backwards and turn it into a fable of redemption.

What's amusing is Sonderbergh's complaint about the texture of the rear projection screen being visible. It seems as if he's not encountered this before. He should watch more BluRay. The digital overscans used to remaster 70mm and Cinerama prints to 1080p BluRay are notorious for illuminating details cinematographers never thought would be visible to the audience.

Michael K said...

I remember when it came out. You would try to avoid the restrooms as the marijuana smoke was so thick.

Quaestor said...

One of my all-time favorite Sci-Fis is the 1953 George Pal War of the Worlds. Unfortunately there's hardly DVD or BluRay edition that's truly watchable because of the remastering artifacts. The wires that supported and powered Albert Nozaki's wonderful Martian fighting machines were painted the exact shade and hue that would be filtered into near-invisibility on final the 35mm 3-strip Technicolor theatrical print. Unfortunately every DVD I've seen has been remastered from a 16mm print distributed for 480i NTSC television broadcast which shows the wires plainly. Overscanning and other enhancements have only made the problem worse and the wires even more distracting.

DVD publishers ought to approach these classics with an eye tuned to replicate the original theatrical experience as closely as possible. I don't care to see that man behind the curtain. Give me good old Hollywood illusion!

Revenant said...

The decision to open the recut film with three minutes of staring at rainbow-colored eyeballs is bizarre.

Smilin' Jack said...

Can anyone tell me if HAL wins this time? Cause when I saw the original I was totally rooting for HAL.

Quaestor said...

Can anyone tell me if HAL wins this time? Cause when I saw the original I was totally rooting for HAL.

He doesn't exactly win, but Sonderbergh has him end his self-aware existence singing Freebird.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Soderbergh? Check out TechDirt's article ripping him for doing what he has been in court to prevent others doing. (Ob. legal ref.) (What, this isn't usenet? What?)

John Lynch said...

Smilin' Jack-

Actually... kinda?

Kyzernick said...

Not interested. ACC is my favorite sci-fi author, and his books in the Odyssey series might as well be my sci-fi Bible. "The Songs of Distant Earth", "Earthlight", and "Rendezvous with Rama" were damn good too - "Childhood's End" was less so but still enjoyable.

I'd rather watch three hours of Nicki Minaj reciting Shakespeare than watch someone tinker with Kubrick's "2001". Anyone who thought it wasn't as perfect as it could be, given the source material, is on drugs.

And anyone who truly wants it deleted from our collective consciousness in favor of Interstellar is just begging for a fatwa on their head. The Pope said it was okay.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

maybe this is what happens when you spend too much time with an underage girl...

FIFY

William said...

My own theory about the ending of 2001 was that the universe was a Möbius strip and that if you travelled far enough out in space and time you returned to the beginning......I've waited until now to post this because I want to have the last word and not get caught in an Möbius strip discussion of 2001.