The landmark film is being re-released in select U.S. theaters this month, to mark the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction blockbuster.
You should go see it, either again, or for the first time.
First of all, it’s an artistic masterpiece that stands up well, even after five decades of cinema technology advancement. And the story, at the very least, is thought-provoking. Never mind that the allegory is at times radical, to say the least.
But there’s a technical reason to go see it in a theater: if you’ve only seen it on a video display in your home, you’re missing out on the way Kubrick captured the images. This is because the film was shot in Super Panavision 70, which uses a 65 mm negative, and spherical lenses, to create an aspect ratio of 2.20:1.
Since your “puny” HDTV at home has an aspect ratio of 16:9 (1.78:1), this means that every electronic reproduction of the film has either been heavily cropped (at the sides), or has been letterboxed. The former means you’ve lost parts of the image, and the latter means you’ve lost resolution.
Plus, seeing it on a large screen in a theater completely outperforms seeing it on a little screen in your home. And the distribution is in a clean, unretouched 70mm print.
Go see it! In New York City, it’s playing at the Village East, May 18 – May 24. Check your favorite website for other cities.