- Kylie Antolini
- FILM HISTORY Dan Halsted readies one of the Hollywood's Norelco AA11 projectors.
"It is meditative," Roger Ebert wrote, in 1997, of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. "It does not cater to us, but wants to inspire us, enlarge us. Nearly 30 years after it was made, it has not dated in any important detail." For Ebert, 2001 wasn't just "one of the greatest films ever made." It was an experience that went beyond staring at a screen with strangers in a dark room: "Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape."
You can watch 2001 any number of ways: It's on DVD. It's on Blu-ray. You can stream it via Amazon; you can download it from iTunes for $14.99.
But there's one way to watch 2001 that's better than any of those: When Kubrick, working alongside science-fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke and special effects genius Douglas Trumbull, shot 2001, he did so on 70mm film—a format prized for its brightness and stability, rich colors and sound, and immersive detail.
These days, shooting on the format is reserved for a few prestige filmmakers. These days, less than 40 theaters in America even have the equipment—let alone the skill—to show a 70mm print.
Which means if you want to experience 2001 the way Kubrick intended—staring at a screen with strangers in a dark room, watching images projected from a 70mm print—you're out of luck.
Unless you happen to be in Portland this weekend. Because this weekend, the Hollywood Theatre is bringing 70mm back.