2001: A Space Odyssey UHD Review

Landmark cinematic achievement 5 Stars

Warner celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with a newly restored picture and sound. Highly recommended.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Released: 12 May 1968
Rated: G
Runtime: 149 min
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter
Writer(s): Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Arthur C. Clarke (screenplay)
Plot: After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer HAL 9000.
IMDB rating: 8.3
MetaScore: 82

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: G
Run Time: 2 Hr. 29 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-spindle UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 12/18/2018
MSRP: $41.99

The Production: 5/5

I feel obligated to be completely upfront as I write my review of Stanley Kubrick’s classic masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is a movie I have admired, even from the first time I saw it on television way back in the mid 1970s, but yet have always found difficult to view in one sitting. It is a movie that, for lack of a better term, exists and takes its time telling its very high-brow story. I’m fairly certain that today’s audiences would simply dismiss the film as “boring” and “slow,” and they would be right, to an extent. It is the majestic beauty of its marriage of classical music and picture that are simply breathtaking with then-cutting edge visual effects that still hold up today that allow it to still be considered one of the major and impressive accomplishments in the history of cinema. If 2001 didn’t exist, we likely wouldn’t have Silent Running, Star Wars, Close Encounters, etc.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

It should be noted that this release is not the “Unrestored Edition” supervised by Christopher Nolan and released to IMAX theaters last summer. Warner scanned the original 65mm camera negatives and effects shots in 8k resolution, digitally cleaned up the image and color timed to create a new 4K digital intermediate from which this 4K UHD (and included Blu-ray) was created, and then used both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range on the UHD to improve the wide color gamut and contrast. The results are impressive, possibly the best 2001 has ever looked. Detail is striking, from the hairs on the apes in the Dawn of Man sequence to information on many of the displays aboard Discovery One. Film grain is noticeable but appears natural and is never distracting. Colors are also more natural but are not as bold as one would expect on a 4K release, but that was intentional as a way to replicate the original 70mm release prints. Also, aspect ratio has been corrected to 2.20:1, as it was seen in original 70mm engagements in 1968. Great care was taken by Warner Brothers, and it shows in this release.

Audio: 5/5

Two English options are provided, both in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – the 1999 restored soundtrack (identical to the previous Blu-ray release) and the original 6-track 70mm mix repurposed in 5.1. The restored mix is the one to listen to, which has an overall “cleaner” sound to it, with a much wider dynamic range and greater fidelity. Dialogue is much clearer as well, as it tends to sound somewhat thin with a hint of distortion on the original theatrical mix. Other than that, the two mixes are fairly identical in their use of channel separation and surrounds.

Special Features: 4/5

Warner’s 4K UHD release of 2001 is a three-disc set, with a movie-only 4K UHD disc, a movie-only Blu-ray disc, and a Blu-ray disc of Special Features (all of which have been ported over from the previous Blu-ray release).

Audio Commentary with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood: This track, ported from the previous Blu-ray release, can be found on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions of the movie.

2001: The Making of a Myth (480i; 43:08)

Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001 (480i; 21:25)

Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001 (480i; 21:31)

2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future (480i; 23:11)

What Is Out There? (480i; 20:42)

2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork (480i; 9:33)

Look: Stanley Kubrick! (480i; 3:15)

11/27/1966 Interview with Stanley Kubrick (76:31)

Theatrical Trailer (480i; 1:51)

20-page Color Booklet: The booklet contains several stills and concept drawings from the film.

4 mini Lobby Cards

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 5/5

This newly restored edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey is a must-have for any true cinephile, home theater enthusiast, or film student. Highly Recommended.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

15 Comments

  1. “The restored mix is the one to listen to…”

    Many folks would disagree with this, as the “restored” 1999 track is a remix that removes directional effects, etc.

    Vincent

  2. If you can forgive a quick footnote, the “unrestored” version was released last May to 70mm theaters. This new edition contains the 4K restoration, which did play in IMAX theaters last August. (A handful 15/70 IMAX film locations showed the unrestored 70mm print, but the vast majority of IMAX locations played the new digital restoration.)

    I agree with Vincent that the 1968 track is the one to listen to, but Warner has made this confusing by labeling the 1999 track as “restored,” which doesn’t seem the proper terminology.

  3. Wayne_j

    Especially since I think the "restored" track is the same one that was on the last release.

    Yes, the 1999 track is identical to the previous Blu-ray, previous DVD, etc. That's another reason why "newly restored" seems such an odd term – it's been the default audio track for this title for 20 years!

  4. This is on my shopping list the next time I am out buying 4K movies! This should look very good on my Sony OLED as soon as I buy the movie and the tv arrives.

  5. I don’t think the “Restored and Remixed” track on the UHD is quite the same as the 5.1 on the previous Blu-ray. The older remix centered most of the dialogue, but on the UHD’s “restored” track, at least some of the original directionality is retained (one example is Dr. Floyd’s briefing just after arriving on the moon). Also, it seems like HAL’s voice is a little fuller in some scenes.

    Also, on the “restored” remix, the Main Title music is very slightly out-of-sync (the credits don’t “hit” quite where they’re supposed to).

    Not sure how they went about it, but the new remix does seem to be altered a bit from the previous one.

  6. On the 1968 original and 1977 70mm reissue prints the announcement about the sweater came out of the
    surround track only, so this 1968 version on this UHD is not original as heard in cinemas.

  7. Bryan Tuck

    Also, on the "restored" remix, the Main Title music is very slightly out-of-sync (the credits don't "hit" quite where they're supposed to).

    And that makes it the one not to listen to IMO. "1968" audio all the way!

  8. Do any of you have a full Atmos set up ? Just asking because at least to me the extraction from the Dawn of Man possible that gives full immersion particularly in the ape altercation scenes but also the leopard growling at night seem much more believable and robust in the "restored " track at least for me. So much more coming from the height channels.

  9. DP 70

    On the 1968 original and 1977 70mm reissue prints the announcement about the sweater came out of the
    surround track only, so this 1968 version on this UHD is not original as heard in cinemas.

    Quite right Derek!
    That's always my test to see how much the sound has been buggered up by the "experts"!
    My first viewing of the 4k tonight on my new PJ.
    The 1968 track is the obvious choice.

  10. The original track may have some different directional mixing, but the newer track beats the original all over the place when it comes to the actual quality of the sound. The 1968 track is quite thin in comparison. The nice thing about this release is that people will be able to listen to whichever they prefer. After sampling both, I will probably listen to the 1968 mix once, just out of interest, but the new track will be my go-to for the rest of my viewings.

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