8.03.2009

2001: A Space Odyssey / Two-Disc Special Edition : 5 of 5

I think I've always been a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey (I even remembering listening to the soundtrack and acting out scenes with elementary school friends!), but after watching it recently on Netflix Watch Instantly my interest in this science fiction masterpiece was totally renewed. I had been planning to buy the DVD for years, but since the Watch Instantly version was only pan & scan, I just had to get it right away! It was so wonderful to experience the full widescreen image, and I love that the DVD includes the overture and intermission music. The commentary track by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood (who played the two Discovery astronauts) is really enjoyable since both actors are full of intelligent things to say, including anecdotes about working with Kubrick as well as their thoughts on the meaning of the final scenes of the film. The bonus disc begins with a great 45-minute documentary packed with interviews of the cast, special effects artists, and even scientific advisers (I loved that NASA worked to help design nearly everything in the movie, right down to the food that the Discovery astronauts eat!), but unfortunately this documentary is scored with the absolute worst synthesizer music imaginable. The disc also includes several short 20-minute segments, including a great look at the special effects with Douglas Trumbull - I was fascinated that they had to guess at what the complete Earth would look like from space, since the movie was filmed before the Apollo moon landing. I'm also always impressed by all of HAL's monitor screens, since they are actually 16MM rear-screen projectors (to give them a flat, un-flickering appearance). There's also a 1960s TV show about the filming of the movie, which was interesting because of all the Hollywood buzz at the time about Stanley Kubrick making such a big budget science fiction film. But more important than all the bonus material is the incredible film itself, which I can now enjoy in widescreen beauty whenever I want. I love the slow, silent pace of 2001 that goes beyond Arthur C. Clarke's story to become almost a therapeutic experience for me!

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