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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is acknowledged as one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, so there is noting I can say in this review that would change anyone's opinion, even if I wanted to. Perhaps there are portions of the story that are a bit too cerebral for some; however, it is the visual brilliance of director Stanley Kubrick's work that makes this movie completely unforgettable. I've watched 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY more times than I can remember and I never get tired of the film- again, a testament to Kubrick's mastering of the visual medium. The "Dawn of Man" sequence is probably one of the greatest snippets of cinema that this reviewer has ever seen. It really places a perspective on how small, primitive and inconsequential man is in the cosmos- even at our current state of evolution.

Based upon the story by Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY shows mankind's humble origins, as well as the moment they stand on the threshold of something greater then themselves. The main body of film is set in the year 2001, and is concerned with a mankind's first mission to the planet Jupiter. Astronauts David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) are supervising the flight of the Discovery One, although the infallible HAL 9000 computer is taking care of all the ship's functions. However, the unthinkable then happens, which jeopardizes the mission, the lives of the crew and Discovery One's rendezvous with destiny.

Warner Home Video has made 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY available on DVD in a 2.20:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. While it would almost seem that there have been too many transfers of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the film was in dire need re-mastering, since old Laserdisc transfers do not cut it on DVD. Warner's new transfer truly blows away the previous two DVD editions of the film, which were both mastered from the same Laserdisc transfer. The image is sharper, better defined and far more film like. All of the blemishes present on the previous edition have been cleansed away, giving 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY a pristine appearance. There is a marked improvement in the colors, which are now more vivid and lifelike. Flesh tones are quite appealing, while the strongly saturated hues are reproduced with rock solid stability. Blacks are pure, as are the whites, which certainly enhance the look of the space sequences, as well as Douglas Trumbull's superb special effects work. Additionally, the picture has very smooth contrast and displays pretty impressive depth. Efficient dual layer authoring keeps digital compression artifacts completely at bay.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY features a very good Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that maintains the film's intriguing sound design. Much of the film is silent or features nothing more that various pieces of classical music. Obviously, the sound elements have been reworked because the quiet passages are now dead silent and the music has greater fidelity than what was present in previous incarnations of the film. Of course, these are older musical recording, so there are some frequency limitations, however this represents a marked improved over past releases of the film. Directional sound effects are present in the sound mix, but they are not used in excess, nor do they draw attention to themselves. By modern standards, surround usage for active effects is limited, but they are well deployed during a few key moments. Music may be the only component to use the rear speakers on a consistent basis. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered, with every monotonic utterance being completely intelligible. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A theatrical trailer is the only supplement included on the DVD.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is a visually brilliant motion picture and stands as one of the greatest achievements in sci-fi cinema. This re-mastered edition of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is the version DVD collectors have been waiting for. Warner Home Video delivers the goods with an impressive video and audio presentation of Stanley Kubrick's classic science fiction film.

The re-mastered edition of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is available individually on DVD at $24.98, or as part of the re-mastered edition of The Stanley Kubrick Collection for $199.98.




 2001 - A Space Odyssey

 The New Stanley Kubrick Collection


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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