It’s difficult to overstate the importance of 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the half-century of its release, it has influenced more films and more filmmakers that perhaps any other film. It set new standards, it broke new ground, it pushed new limits. Kubrick’s vision was the perfect blend of science fiction epic and arthouse panache, setting the stage for generations of auteurs and workhorses alike to build off the back of his hard work.
The influence cannot be denied; in an era where a film is lucky to have a shelf life beyond a couple of years, 2001 has blown minds for fifty years. It’s one of the most beautiful looking films ever made, holding its own next to the cinematic wonders of today and, in many cases, blowing them out of the water. Now, for its 50th Anniversary, it somehow looks even better than ever before.
Fans got the chance to see the new transfer earlier this year with the brief theatrical release celebrating the anniversary. For a film like 2001, the big screen definitely remains the gold standard for viewing (that’s not something you’ll hear me admit often, as a huge advocate for home viewing). That being said, the 4K Blu-ray release is still stunning enough to deserve its place in your film library.
Even if you already own 2001, the newly remastered imagery is so starkly different that it’s worth adding a second copy to your shelf. The last remaster of the film was done in 2007, and a lot has changed in the last 11 years. Always a vibrant film, 2001 is given more dimension with the new transfer, with the color depth, detail, and sound all like you’ve never experienced before.
There’s also a slew of fascinating special features including the commentary from actors Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood (David and Frank, in the film) from the original Blu-ray release as well as a wide array of documentaries and behind the scenes featurettes which take you inside the film and its legacy. The 4K HD box set also features a booklet of pictures taken from the film, though this might be the weakest special feature in the set. For such an important movie on such a special occasion, it might have been nice to include an essay or two about the film and its history rather than just a picture book (nice though it may be).
Still, seeing the new transfer is worth the cost alone. 2001 hasn’t looked this good in 50 years, and the effort certainly shows. It is a near perfect translation of the original release, capturing even the aspect ratios which had been somewhat sullied over the years. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the cinephile in your life and a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest films ever made.
2001 4K Blu-ray is now available to own.