Pop Culture

See 2001: A Space Odyssey In All Its 70mm Glory This Weekend

Dave looks like he needs another stress pill.
Dave looks like he needs another stress pill. MGM
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is considered one of the most groundbreaking movies of all time, influencing directors from George Lucas to James Cameron. It was a rare combination of visionary cinema and box office smash that is studied and revered to this very day.

One of those filmmakers inspired by 2001 was Christopher Nolan. The director of Interstellar and Dunkirk saw the movie when he was seven years old, where it evidently made a lasting impression, for he's bringing the remastered 70mm version to Houston this Friday, after a Cannes Film Festival debut and a limited theatrical run last month.

Nolan is referring to this as the "unrestored" version, and if that sounds ... counterintuitive, we'll let the man himself explain:

The word “restored” over the last 20 years has come to mean digitization. It’s come to mean cleaning up dirt and scratches, by digitizing a film and putting it back out in theaters. The reality is, whilst digitization is one of the tools in the toolkit of the restorer, these films were made analog, and they were made to be shown analog, with the beautiful analog color, the high resolution of analog and the photochemical process. 
Nolan got involved in the project while undertaking a 4K restoration of his own films last year. Warner Bros. asked if he'd like to see "interpositives" of the original prints, which are copies of the original negatives made after the studio cleaned the negatives and erased other repairs, but because they had faded, no more work was done.

Nolan proposed a new theatrical release and embarked on a color correction process while also restoring the movie's original 35mm soundtrack. And though 2001 has enjoyed several big screen releases in past years, Warner Bros. points out this is the first time since the film's release that a 70mm print has been struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. That means no digital remastered effects or digital edits.

Take that, George Lucas.

2001: A Space Odyssey” opens at the Regal Greenway Grand Palace on June 15 and will run for (as of now) one week.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar