The greatest science-fiction film ever made.
You've seen it, you sort of know the plot: extra-terrestrial guidance, via ANCIENT MONOLITH, shapes Mankind in preparation for his next stage of evolution. For many, it's the quintessential love-it or hate-it experience.
And since we haven't been able to catch STANLEY KUBRICK's masterpiece in a cinema - much less a digitally-equipped one - for over thirty years, I'm assuming that you already possess a HIGH-DEFINITION WIDESCREEN TV, a PS3 (or similar) and want to know if this BLU-RAY edition of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY lives up to expectations, yes?
Well, it does. The picture is fantastic, the level of detail is incredible. THE DAWN OF MAN sequence has astonishing depth of field, which is all the more amazing when you discover that the skyscapes were in actuality stills, or plates, front-projected onto the backdrops of an outdoor studio near Shepherd's Bush. A place, or a moment, in 'pre-historic' 1968 where the ordinary became truly extraordinary.
As we reach outer space, and fractured bone becomes brushed metal, pinpoints of stars twinkle like never before, the exterior cladding of ships, satellites and moon shuttles rendered with similar clarity to allow us the ultimate space vehicle inspection tour. And isn't THE USS DISCOVERY the most beautifully designed ship of them all?
JUPITER AND BEYOND THE INFINITE is where we get to take the ultimate trip in every sense. This is where the high-definition image really earns its money, as far as I'm concerned, and it's the showcase moment let loose in all its glory, a sequence that had much the same effect when I saw it in 70mm Cinerama. Completely mind-blowing.
Soundwise, the film has a very centre-speaker feel but don't be put off too much by that. The dialogue is well placed and significantly superior in uncompressed 5.1 to the regular DVD, right down to the oft-present oxygen hiss in the EVA sequences or the infamous moment when DAVE BOWMAN literally pulls the plug on the "incapable of error" HAL 9000 series. I wonder whether Daisy would have had such a heartless response to his distortion of information?
Music is used sparingly but to brilliant effect. For example, STRAUSS's THE BLUE DANUBE and KHACHATURIAN's haunting GAYNE'S ADAGIO sound wonderful and complement perfectly their out-of-this-world setting (a quite audacious leap of faith on the director's part, incidentally, seeing as both pieces were only intended for use as guide tracks on the rough cut).
Whichever way you look at it, this REGION FREE BLU-RAY DISC is a stunning example of what the format stands for.
Did I also mention that the film's pretty good, too?