The release date of WHE’s upcoming, highly controversial 4K Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey was recently bumped back to 11.20. A colleague reports, however, that Amazon and other retailers “are apparently getting limited stock in early and have already begun shipping, and so some people got it in the mail [yesterday].”

Here’s the big news: “My copy arrives on Monday, but I have readers who have it in hand already and are saying it’s not the Chris Nolan version” that played in theatres last summer — i.e., no piss-yellow or teal tinting.

Frame capture from 2007 Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Same image copied from WHE trailer for forthcoming 4K Bluray, which contains the same colors and specificity seen in the Chris Nolan version now in theatres.

This is excellent news if true. But if the disc has indeed been shorn of Nolan’s influence I’ve no choice but to presume one of two things.

One, that the WHE publicists and marketers who told the world last June that the 4K version had been “built on the work done for the new 70mm prints” (i.e., Nolan’s yellow and teal-tinted nostalgia version that premiered in Cannes) and then double-confirmed this by releasing a 4K disc trailer that contained the dreaded yellowish-teal tinting…I have to presume that these people didn’t understand what was happening and thereby passed along erroneous information.

Or two, that WHE honcho Ned Price considered widespread adverse reactions to Nolan’s urine-and-teal version and got cold feet and decided to produce a 4K Bluray that — shocker! — would present Stanley Kubrick‘s classic as it actually looked when it opened in 1968.

If the second scenario reflects what actually happened (i.e., that WHE marketers were in fact told by management that the 4K would in fact contain the values of the Nolan version, only to be made to look like absolute fools when a cleaner, truer version is released to the public), then Hollywood Elsewhere has to take at least some credit for changing Price’s mind.

Because I hammered and hammered on this story for months on end, bemoaning the urine-ization of a great film and wondering why WHE would willingly vandalize 2001 just to fortify a sweetheart relationship between Price and Nolan.

My source is going to get his 2001 4K disc on Monday, and has promised to get back to me. I’m naturally hoping to be able to report that the de-urineizing and untealing of 2011 has in fact happened, and that everyone can take to the streets and shout with glee that Nolan’s 4K Bluray version is indeed dead and that the whole urine-and-teal nightmare is over. Talk about a happy ending!

Posted on 6.28.18: On 6.21.18 Warner Home Entertainment posted a trailer for the forthcoming 4K Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which will street on 10.30. And it’s horrifying! Because the yellowish-teal color tint in this trailer is obviously the same color tint as the currently-playing Chris Nolan version of 2001. Watch it and tell me what you think.

It seems obvious (and please tell me how I could possibly be wrong about this) that the 6.21 4K trailer is proof that the yellow-teal Nolan version has been used as the basis for the forthcoming 2001 4K Bluray.

This means that WHE wasn’t kidding when an official press release (also issued on 6.21) stated that “for the first time since the original release [of 2001 in April 1968], new 70mm prints were struck from pristine printing elements made from the original camera negative” — i.e., the Nolan version. “A longtime admirer of the late American auteur, Christopher Nolan worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. Pictures throughout the mastering process.

Building on the work done for the new 70mm prints, the 4K UHD with HDR presentation was mastered from the 65mm original camera negative,” the press release said. “The 4K UHD also includes both a remixed and restored 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track, as well as the original 1968 6-track theatrical audio mix.”

Posted on 6.21.18: “The key words, obviously, are ‘building on the work done for the new [Nolan-approved] 70mm prints.’ Question: If color-timer Leon Vitali told me that “the 4K has more clarity and sharpness and detail” than the 70mm Nolan version (and he did tell me this), why would the WHE people indicate that the Nolan nostalgia version and the 4K version are close relations if not more or less the same?

“One could surmise that Vitali’s 4K version was one thing back in April, but that Nolan has recently stuck his nose into the mastering of the 4K and that things have changed for the worse. I’m not saying he has stuck his nose into the process, but the WHE press release certainly suggests this.”

Unless the person who presided over the making of the 2001 4K trailer is deranged or incompetent, there’s very little ambiguity about this now. WHE’s trailer for the 2001 4K proves that the Nolan nostalgia version (i.e., a replica of the film Nolan saw on 70mm when he was 7 or 8 years old) and the 4K Bluray version are indeed one and the same. So Nolan did in fact stick his nose into the 4K Bluray mastering and changed the look of it.

Please consider two seemingly crucial factors about Nolan and his perspective on Stanley Kubrick‘s 1968 classic.

One, it has been claimed in some quarters that Nolan is red-green colorblind. (I’m looking for definitive sources on this but here, for now, is source A — here is source B.)

And two, Nolan has stated that he wanted to create an “unrestored” 70mm version to look like a 70mm version he saw with his father in Leicester Square when he was 7 or 8 years old. Except Nolan was born on 7.30.70, or more than two years after 2001 premiered in the big cities. The 2001 Nolan saw with his dad in Leicester Square presumably screened in ’77 or ’78, so he didn’t see the original roadshow version.

Please once again consider a comparison trailer (posted on 4.24.18 by Krishna Ramesh Kumar) that presented the differences in color in the 2007 Bluray of 2001 vs. the then-forthcoming Nolan version that premiered in Cannes. It showed that the yellowish-teal colors in the Nolan version were quite different than the 2007 Bluray colors.

I believe that WHE’s decision to kowtow to Nolan’s yellow-teal vision of 2001 is nothing short of vandalism. I think it’s a flat-out tragedy. I think Leon Vitali, who did the color timing on an earlier version of the 4K Bluray and who is supposed to be the keeper of the Kubrick flame, needs to stand up and say “no, this is wrong…the Chris Nolan nostalgia version is not how 2001 should look.” I think anyone who knows what 2001 should look like should speak up also. This is horrific.