Movies Steven Soderbergh reimagines 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY written by Robert Reineke January 14, 2015 One of the milestones for the science fiction genre, which directly opened the doors for everything from STAR WARS to today’s superhero films, is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. It’s loved and admired by many as one of the pinnacles of visual storytelling. So, it takes some guts to mess around with it. Apparently, the supposedly retired Steven Soderbergh has those guts. Not too long ago, he played around with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK as an experiment to showcase Spielberg’s visual storytelling skills. Just today he released an experimental recut of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY removing nearly an hour of run time. Obviously, Soderbergh has some friends in high places to avoid getting his pants sued off. But, it’s also this type of bold experimentation that may tell us something useful about the form. Especially in the hands of someone as talented as Steven Soderbergh, who has the hardware on the mantel and the box office receipts to show for it. I haven’t watched this yet, but you can be darn sure I’m going to. Frankly, I find this type of experiment a lot more interesting that someone “homaging” a great film by attempting a straight remake. Steven Soderbergh reimagines 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was last modified: February 20th, 2016 by Robert Reineke Related 12 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Robert Reineke previous post Get Ready For Tonight’s AGENT CARTER With 2 Clips next post Academy Award Nominations Scored By Modern Myth Movies You may also like Harrison Ford’s Indy Interest Remains As Sharp... August 6, 2013 Nolan Officially Piloting ‘Interstellar’ March 8, 2013 A Cornucopia Of New Images From THE... September 20, 2013 DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES... 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In a weird way, it actually didn’t feel any different (which revealed that, despite Kuberick’s brilliance, there actually was a lot of places he *could* have cut but chose not too…), but then somehow, simultaneously, enhanced the experience by quickening the pace in many subtle ways. I am curious to see how soderbergh’s cut differs from my film teacher’s, but i may just skip it since I already saw it about a decade ago 😛 Joshua Nathan Strong Thats cool and I would love to watch it but personally I dont know about touching a director’s work like that. It’s like remixing Michael Jackson or Prince, which is something that no musician should do. 2001 was meant to be seen a certain way and I don’t know about cutting footage out, I understand that you had a time restraint but the meditative and methodical nature of the movie is what helps make 2001 what it is, for me at least especially in the setting of a film appreciation class. You read this and look at my comment that I posted earlier, yeah it makes me feel uneasy when people touch a director’s work but what Soderbergh is doing an experiment. I just wouldn’t cut 2001 if I’m showing it in a film appreciation class CaptainJack Hey Robert, thanks for posting this here – definitely enjoy seeing articles like this pop up on the MMM site. I agree with Joshua, what Soderbergh did with Raider’s was a really cool experiment in refocusing a classic, and from what I have glimpsed from this 2001 cut, once one get’s over the initial sacrilege of such a thing :), it’s equally interesting to see another perspective on classic material. It’s a great time we live in, really, where a re-cut / re-imagining or re-edit of a film is extremely easy for anyone with a computer and even the most basic of editing software. My profession is an editor, and as a hobby I have often dabbled in this, making an HD cut of Star Wars to my liking without some of the added nonsense, I was able to extract Viper from the The Wolverine completely without skipping a beat or any plot inconsistencies. I have also re-scored Goddard’s Alphaville with Amon Tobin’s beats. Of course these things can’t be shared around for legal reasons as you point out, but it is nonetheless a lot of fun to work in other people’s material for a change and present these cuts to friends. Thanks again for the heads up on this. stock Haven’t seen any recut of ROTLA, but I have to wonder what the point is. He’s deciding to do a director’s cut even though he’s not the director? I do that too sometimes when I’ve got an often watched film in the DVD player, but that’s just for my convenience, not because I think it’d be better if they just cut out some stuff. If Kubrick thought that was the best cut of the flick, who the hell is Soderbergh to say different? I liked some of his flicks, but there’s nothing about him that tells me he should rub another man’s rhubarb. CaptainJack Hey Stock, I do agree in essence about the rhubarb, haha 🙂 , but I honestly don’t think that was his intention. I look at it less like Soderbergh trying to show Kubrick was wrong, and more like a remix of a beloved song. He is experimenting with pace and other ideas with a classic film, and seeing if it works, not necessarily saying this is how it should have been. That’s what I get from it anyway. As for the Raiders thing, it is more just an experiment in showing how the visuals and the choreography of the players alone tell the story of that film, even without the aid of dialogue or colour, or even John Williams fantastic iconic music. It’s not him disrespecting the original, it’s just an interesting refocusing for either film fans learning about lenses or camera placement, or the way camera moves and angles communicate their meaning, often subliminally. stock I appreciate you saying that. I’m sure it will be tasteful. My concern would be of a rush to water down classics to give a cliff note version of a film or that people far less talented than SS will be doing “sampling” like what’s done in the music industry. But I’ll check it out before judging based on what you wrote, Jack. But TBH, I hate most remixes. Robert Reineke I think Soderbergh just enjoys playing with films as a way to understand what makes them tick. I think it’s also important to remember that a) Soderbergh never claims that any of his recuts, like his Psycho experiment, are better, b) these will never get an official release, and c) he’s not making any money off of this. It’s just experiments that he shares with the public that he thinks help understand the nature of film. In some ways, I find this a more interesting type of “experimental film” than the rather avante garde and abstract things that generally get called “experimental”. He’s taking a familiar subject and reframing it basically and seeing if it changes our view of the original. How powerful are Kubrick’s visuals, for instance. The Raiders experiment is a great way to strip away everything familiar until we’re left with only Spielberg’s composition and editing as familiar touchstones. I like that Soderbergh is trying to draw attention to the original artist as a point of many of these experiments. To me, it beats “homaging” a great film through a remake. CaptainJack Exactly, perfectly said 🙂 stock I must admit that I am completely out of the loop here. Psycho experiment? He did this to Psycho too? I’m going to have to look this up. At least he’s consistently picking great movies. Robert Reineke Yeah, he cut together the Hitchcock and Van Sant versions of Psycho into one film. Which is perhaps the ultimate compare and contrast experiment. http://extension765.com/sdr/15-psychos Robert Reineke So, I started watching it. There are two main differences that I see right up front. The first is inserting an eye metaphor, Dave Bowman’s and H.A.L.’s, to tie the various segments together. The second is that Soderbergh is ruthlessly cutting exposition and letting the images stand even more by themselves. In some ways, Soderbergh’s version is even more abstract than Kubrick’s.