Critics' Pick

2001: A Space Odyssey (G)

SciFi/Fantasy 139 min. July 6, 2018
By Bilge Ebiri
Time moves differently in 70 mm: What drags on a small screen becomes immersion in an actual environment on a huge one. With TV, you wait for something to happen. With 70 mm, you are the thing that's happening; you're living in the space of the film, at least for a little while. That's why the "space" in the title 2001: A Space Odyssey has different meanings. Stanley Kubrick's film is a journey through outer space, but it is also a journey through cinematic space. It conjures the future by making you sit through its vision of the future, spending time just being in it. A sense of scale and spectacle is crucial to 2001, because it contrasts with the blase attitude of the humans in the film; the tension between our awe as viewers and their indifference as characters is what the film is largely about.

Watching 2001 in 70 mm, I was also struck by how differently the celebrated Stargate sequence at the end of the film -- the giant, trippy light show that basically obsessed a generation of viewers and helped turn 2001 into the ultimate stoner movie -- plays on a massive screen. The rumbling and howling on the soundtrack, the floor shaking beneath your feet, the blossoming colors and speeding rays of light, the occasional freeze-frames back to David Bowman's face -- at that size, these things actually do cause some physiological reactions. By restoring our sense of awe, 2001 doesn't just command our attention on the screen -- it sends us out of the theater to see the world with new eyes.
Stanley Kubrick Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Douglas Rain Stanley Kubrick Stanley Kubrick Warner Bros. Pictures

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