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.