Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Re-Edited Version of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Free Online

kubrick soderbergh 3

In 2013, Steven Soder­bergh told me dur­ing an inter­view that he was retir­ing. “Five years ago, as we were fin­ish­ing Che, I said, ‘OK, when I turn 50, I want to be done. I’m going to jam in as much as I can, but when I turn 50, I want to be done.’ ”

Yet Soderbergh’s con­cept of retire­ment must be dif­fer­ent from most mor­tals. In the past year, he not only exec­u­tive pro­duced the Show­time series The Knick but he also direct­ed all ten episodes. Using the han­dle @Bitchuation, he wrote an entire nov­el on Twit­ter called Glue. And he pro­duced and direct­ed a Broad­way show star­ring Chloë Grace Moretz called The Library. And in his copi­ous free time, he’s been pro­duc­ing var­i­ous cin­e­mat­ic exper­i­ments on his web­site Exten­sion 765, which includ­ed a piece that spliced togeth­er Alfred Hitchcock’s Psy­cho with Gus Van Sant’s bizarro shot-by-shot remake, a black and white ver­sion of Raiders of the Lost Ark and an edit of Michael Cimino’s famous­ly bloat­ed Heaven’s Gates.

In his lat­est work, Soder­bergh takes a crack at Stan­ley Kubrick’s mas­ter­piece 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can watch it here. As he writes on his site:

i’ve been watch­ing 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY reg­u­lar­ly for four decades, but it wasn’t until a few years ago i start­ed think­ing about touch­ing it, and then over the hol­i­days i decid­ed to make my move. why now? I don’t know. maybe i wasn’t old enough to touch it until now. maybe i was too scared to touch it until now, because not only does the film not need my—or any­one else’s—help, but if it’s not THE most impres­sive­ly imag­ined and sus­tained piece of visu­al art cre­at­ed in the 20th cen­tu­ry, then it’s tied for first. mean­ing IF i was final­ly going to touch it, i’d bet­ter have a big­ger idea than just trim­ming or re-scor­ing.

What that big­ger idea is, how­ev­er, isn’t imme­di­ate­ly clear. Soderbergh’s ver­sion is a good 50 min­utes short­er than the orig­i­nal. Unlike the orig­i­nal, which unfolds in a delib­er­ate pace, Soderbergh’s ver­sion moves briskly. Most of the cuts aren’t imme­di­ate­ly missed.

But there is one clear, and jar­ring dif­fer­ence between the two – he drops HAL’s unblink­ing elec­tron­ic red eye into unex­pect­ed scenes. It pops up right in the begin­ning, then again when the tribe of ear­ly humans first encounter the mono­lith, and then again dur­ing the film’s trip­py light show deep at the end. Where­as Kubrick used the HAL’s eye as a sin­is­ter exam­ple of the per­ils of tech­nol­o­gy and mankind’s hubris, Soder­bergh turns it into some­thing else, some­thing more spir­i­tu­al. Does it work? I don’t know. But it’s inter­est­ing.

Soder­bergh goes on to argue that Kubrick, were he alive, would be a big fan of dig­i­tal video and he makes a pret­ty com­pelling case.

i believe SK would have embraced the cur­rent crop of dig­i­tal cam­eras, because from a visu­al stand­point, he was obsessed with two things: absolute fideli­ty to real­i­ty-based light sources, and image sta­bi­liza­tion. regard­ing the for­mer, the increased sen­si­tiv­i­ty with­out res­o­lu­tion loss allows us to real­ly cap­ture the world as it is, and regard­ing the lat­ter, post-2001 SK gen­er­al­ly shot mat­te perf film (nor­mal­ly reserved for effects shots, because of its added steadi­ness) all day, every day, some­thing which dig­i­tal cap­ture makes moot. pile on things like nev­er being dis­tract­ed by weav­ing, splices, dirt, scratch­es, bad lab match­es dur­ing changeovers, changeovers them­selves, bad fram­ing and focus exac­er­bat­ed by pro­jec­tor vibra­tion, and you can see why i think he might dig dig­i­tal.

Again, you can watch Soder­bergh’s re-edit of 2001 here. More films can be found in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Steven Soderbergh’s Cre­ative Mashup of Hitch­cock and Gus Van Sant’s Psy­cho Films

Steven Soder­bergh Cre­ates Silent, Black & White Recut of Raiders of the Lost Ark to Explain the Art of “Stag­ing”

Steven Soder­bergh Cre­ates a Big List of What He Watched, Read & Lis­tened to in 2014

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of bad­gers and even more pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

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Comments (11)
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  • Paul Tatara says:

    Hon­est to God- what gives him the right to “touch it” in the first place?? I’m not down with this any more than I’d be thrilled by some­body “re-paint­ing” a Picas­so to make it more in keep­ing with their per­son­al sen­si­bil­i­ties. No.

  • Gary says:

    My favorite part of this post is the use of “in his copi­ous free time.” Long live Tom Lehrer!

  • chris says:

    This was inter­est­ing until the part when Dave begun com­mu­ni­cat­ing. First i thought this was an error, but the echo­ing — repeat­ing words from Dave are so super annoy­ing that i had to turn the entire thing off.

    The best part about this ver­sion appears to be the for­mat changes, but clear­ly the echoes are annoy­ing.

  • maxCohen says:

    I could only take about 27 min­utes of it. It is so dis­joint­ed, removes the mys­tery of what is hap­pen­ing with the dis­cov­ery of the mono­lith, and cre­ates con­fu­sion for why Dr. Floyd even goes to the moon.

    Who is that guy with Dr. Floyd as he gives he goes through secu­ri­ty?

    The scene is cut where Dr. Floyd talks to the Rus­sians, so the mys­tery is miss­ing.

    Dr. Floy­d’s con­ver­sa­tion on the moon shut­tle, gone, again mys­tery tak­en away.

    It’s just so bad!

  • david brower says:

    I ‑under­stand- the cuts, and don’t mind short­en­ing the Star­gate or Dawn of Man much. I ‑do- miss the con­ver­sa­tion with the Rus­sians on the sta­tion, and the Clav­ius meet­ing where the loy­al­ty oaths are hand­ed out. With­out those, the secre­cy cha­rade seems less estab­lished.

    A might lack­ing on the Zarathus­tra as well, but that may be a vic­tim of its own suc­cess in this very film.

    Prob­a­bly some­one even younger would chop anoth­er 20 min­uts to a neat 1:30.

  • Doug Stead says:

    Film no longer seems to be up at the link!!

  • Julio says:

    Could you be more igno­rant?

  • Tom Scoot says:

    Jumpin’ Jesus, what’s up with the echo­ing? Just extra­or­di­nar­i­ly annoy­ing.

  • Pablo says:

    Thanks God some­one had the guts to do this.
    I get that is the first sci­ence fic­tion movie as we know it but by mod­ern stan­dards this is just insuf­fer­able!
    The whole mon­key thing is a fine metaphor if it goes on for like 2–3 min­utes, not 20! Three min­utes of black screen at the begin­ning and the mid­dle? No, thanks.
    And the music… ALL of it is painful. Even when it is nice clas­si­cal music it gets so loud that it becomes painful.
    And cut down the psy­che­delia, for Heav­en’s sake! Some­one’s going to get epilep­tic seizures.

    Watch­ing 2001 was just painful and sad. So thanks, Mr Soder­bergh. Maybe some­one will be lucky enough to see this short ver­sion first instead of suf­fer­ing through three hours of pure painful noise.

  • Zyanya says:

    Fan­tas­tic movie! I got the rec­om­men­da­tion to watch this edit­ed ver­sion first instead of the orig­i­nal and it’s just an absolute mas­ter­piece. I real­ly don’t know what every­one else is com­plain­ing about here — snob­bism as usu­al per­haps.

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