Yesterday afternoon I watched WHE’s 4K Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I saw it on a mint-condition 65-inch OLED, and it really is quite wonderful in nearly every respect. Magnificent colors, needle-weave detail, awesome sound, fine beard-stubble, Discovery space-suit fabric contemplation — just about everything looks right.
In my mind and as we speak, the most glorious aspect of the 4K is that there isn’t a single trace of Chris Nolan‘s urine-and-teal color scheme. Thank God that awful nightmare is over. Why WHE marketers chose to announce to the world last summer that the 4K is “built upon” Nolan’s 70mm non-restoration is just…I don’t know what to think but the mind reels. Anyway, five remarks:
One, the background color of the opening MGM logo used to be a bright, medium-toned blue, and the MGM letters used to be pretty close to white. On the 4K Bluray it’s a dark, just-before-nightfall blue and the letters are now yellowish — a whole different beginning than ever seen before.
Two, at least one closeup of aging Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) during the French chateau finale seems needlessly dark. As far as this scene is concerned I still prefer the 2007 1080p Bluray version…sorry.
Three, the absolute blackness of space isn’t quite there. It’s not a huge problem, but it could and should have been darker in this respect.
Four, the space-station lounge scene in which Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) spars with Dr. Andrei Smyslov (Leonard Rossiter) is supposed to end with a fast fade to black and then quickly fade right back into a static establishing shot of Floyd’s shuttle heading for the moon — and the fade-in timing (which could been correctly presented if WHE had wanted to be precise) is wrong. Not a disaster but weird all the same.
And five, I watched portions of the 1080p Bluray version also, and I could definitely spot differences between this and the 4K. The regular Bluray will seem completely fine to one and all, but oh, mama, the 4K version is noticably sharper, cleaner, fuller-toned and more pristine. I’m thinking hard about springing for a 4K player now.