My odyssey to see Kubrick's '2001'

There's one movie I refuse to watch on a TV screen - and you should, too. That film is "2001: A Space Odyssey," which begins a limited rerelease in theaters today.

Never mind the wall-sized digital TV with Dolby surround sound in your living room. Unless you're from Lilliput, it just won't do.

The closest I came to experiencing director Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film as a teenager was to absorb the otherworldly soundtrack, filled with symphonic pieces I couldn't pronounce (my tongue still struggles with the name of the "2001" theme, "Also Sprach Zarathustra").

"Wait to see it on a giant screen," my father would tell me, as I gazed at movie stills inside a pristinely preserved gatefold record sleeve.

My opportunity finally came in 1991, during my first trip from England to America. I was elated to discover a cinema in Washington, D.C., that was hosting a screening.

It was worth the wait. And I truly understood why it was meant to be seen inside a darkened auditorium. "2001: A Space Odyssey" is meant to be a pure experience.

Kubrick once said, "In '2001,' the message is the medium. I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does...."

I can't wait to immerse myself in this evocative, and provocative, film again, if only just for the scene in which spaceships waltz along to Strauss's "The Blue Danube" - still the best 'music video' ever made, despite an incongruous "PanAm" logo on one of the space shuttles!

* * *

"2001: A Space Odyssey" opens today at the Seattle Cinerama theater. In December it moves to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. It expands to other cities and theaters in early 2002.

Write us at entertainment@csps.com.

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