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Friday Finds: 2001 A Space Odyssey

Friday Finds shares a piece of content I’ve recently experienced.

Today’s find: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Genre: Science Fiction, Feature Film
Origin: MGM
Find it: Special engagements in cinemas

2001 poster
It’s hard to believe it is half a century since I dragged my father to see 2001: A Space Odyssey when it opened. To celebrate that anniversary, I dragged my son to see 2001 at a special screening in New York City. The circle of life!

The impetus for our trip to the city? An original 70mm print of 2001 which is visiting different cities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release, with the help of director Christopher Nolan

While I’ve seen the film dozens of times on television – at least the middle, less confusing parts of it – I have no memory of seeing it in a theater. As an print, not a digital remaster, the touring version is much as I saw it in 1968 – although this time we can see much more of it since it is in 70mm format!

The sequence showing Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) traveling from the Earth to the Moon, with a stop at the space station, is probably my favorite movie sequence of all time. It will always be what I think of when I hear the Blue Danube being played.

I was again reminded of the prescience of the movie by its depiction of seat-back TV screens (on the Orion spaceplane from Earth), earbuds (on the Aries shuttle to the Moon), and tablets (on the Discovery One spaceship). These accurate looks forward in technology are countered, however, by worse predictions for brands: Pan Am, the Bell System, and Howard Johnson’s – prominently depicted on the space station – had all but disappeared a decade before the real 2001 actually appeared on our calendars.

Still confused…

While it took me a number of years to get a grasp on the opening Early Man sequence, the end Star Child sequence still leaves me a bit unsure of what Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke are intending to say – although that may have been their intent.

Perhaps by the 65th anniversary there will be another Tice to drag to 2001… if move theaters still are around!

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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