The unrestored, original-elements Chris Nolan version of 2001: A Space Odyssey screens early tomorrow evening (6:45 pm) at the Salle Debussy. Remember that the trailer for this looked yellowish, teal-tinted and minus the sharpness found on the 2001 Bluray. If Nolan’s version looks yellow-teal on the big screen, bombs away.

Examine the 2007 Bluray version of Dave Bowman‘s face through his red space-helmet visor vs. the far less distinct Nolan version. Anyone who says Nolan’s is preferable needs to be hunted down by men in white coats right now.

2007 Bluray capture above; unrestored Nolan version below.
Nolan discussing his non-restored 2001 at the Salle Bunuel earlier today.

Remember what film restoration guru Robert Harris told me on 3.28.18 (“Not So Fast On That 70mm 2001 Mastering”): “The new 70mm print they’ll be showing in Cannes will not look like 2001 did in 1968. It can’t be an authentic recreation of how the film looked 50 years ago for any number of reasons. Color stocks, black levels and grain structure are different now, color temperature of the lamps has changed but can be adapted. They were using carbon arc lamps in ’68 and they aren’t now, and on top of everything else the film stock is different — the stock used for original prints was a stock that arrived back in 1962. And so the images [may] ironically look too clear.

“What they show may be beautiful, but they’re not working from the original camera negative, which has been badly damaged. They’re working from ‘new printing elements’ taken from the original negative, which basically means a fourth-generation print. All original prints were struck from the camera original. They won’t be using the original film stock that the original 2001 was printed on, which was Eastman 5385, a 1962 film stock, that had appropriate film grain to the way the film had been designed. So it’s not off the negative, they don’t have the original film stock, and they’re be making it off a dupe rather than using 4K or 8K files. “All of that noted, stocks are so good today that the fact that a print is fourth-generation may not matter.”

From “Yellowish, Teal-Tinted “2001” Obviously Sucks,” posed on 4.27.18:

On 4.24 a guy named Krishna Ramesh Kumar posted a video essay that compares the forthcoming, Christoper Nolan-approved, unrestored 50th anniversary re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey with corresponding images from the Warner Home Video 2007 Bluray. Please watch the essay but pay particular attention to three sets of comparison captures that I’ve posted below. The 2007 Bluray images are on top; the unrestored 70mm Nolan versions are below. The Nolan is obviously warmer, yellower and even teal-ish with weak contrasts and less detail. Plus it has no deep blacks or true whites.

And this, the Nolan, is apparently what’s being re-released into theatres in May. The images rendered for the upcoming 4K Ultra HD version of 2001, which pops on May 8th, will be restricted to those with 4K Bluray players. It seems obvious to me that the colors in the Nolan aren’t as satisfying and the images are less precise than even Warner Home Video’s 11-year-old Bluray, much less whatever the new 4K version will deliver. This seems absolutely NUTS.

Examine the “Dawn of Man” bone-bashing images — the sky in the 2007 version is true blue but a kind of greenish teal in the Nolan version. Examine the two close-up images of HAL — you can obviously see more red-glow detail in the 2007 version while the Nolan is darker and murkier. Who in their right mind would say “the Nolan versions are better”? This is FULL-ON INSANITY.

Bluray above; Nolan version below.