My Odyssey with 2001; see it in IMAX through November 11!

2001 50th anniversary Film Poster

I wasn’t born yet when Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey changed the world, but thanks to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, I was able to experience what it must have been like to be there—and I even got to meet the film’s star, Keir Dullea!

Kristi in Front of IMAX

Me, outside the IMAX theater entrance at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

When my housemate, Charles, heard this was coming, he was excited…not that he hadn’t already been to a few showings in New York and elsewhere this year already. But it is a film that had a profound affect on him. He saw it multiple times when it opened in 1968, and he not only has the program that he bought the first time he went to see the film, he has other ephemera as well. And there was also something special about this presentation in particular.

IMAX ad placard

When 2001: A Space Odyssey opened in 1968, it was shown in 70 mm Cinerama. I’m no film history expert, but Cinerama in the late 1960s was shown on a large, curved screen and is considered a lynch pin in the development of the widescreen format we have today (if you’d like to know more about this, visit here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/movies/long-before-imax-the-curious-tale-of-cinerama.html)

As far as I know, the MA’s presentation may be one of the closest anyone will get to experiencing the movie the way it was intended: it’s on real film instead of digital, and the IMAX’s largest screen in Connecticut is certainly an immersive enough stand-in for Cinerama. In addition, this presentation includes subtleties such as the overture, intermission, and entr’acte. While yes, IMAXes in malls are doing this as well, most of those presentations are in digital, and there doesn’t seem to be quite the meticulous attention to detail to get it as close to the 1968 experience as possible (Charles went to one of these showings recently and noted that, at the intermission, the house lights weren’t turned up to half as they should have been).

The Shining Lobby

Waiting in the IMAX lobby. Charles calls this “The Shining picture” because it really IS reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s THE SHINING. Even the way the lights are blurred gives it that feel. Nice shot!

I’ll admit it—the opportunity to see 2001: A Space Odyssey in this format wasn’t really something that made me jump. I guess I didn’t really understand what the huge deal was. Yes, 2001 was a huge deal to my late parents, and a huge deal to Charles, but I’d never seen the whole film, and had not only cut my teeth on the subject matter with the rather lackluster, hot mess 1980s sequel 2010 when I was just 13 years old, I’d grown up thinking 2001 was probably scads of beautiful imagery with a story I couldn’t follow: so abstract I wasn’t going to understand what was going on and therefore be bored. But as we got closer to the aquarium on our drive down, I asked Charles to tell me what it was about so that I wouldn’t be confused. He basically noted that, at its heart, it is about the evolution of man, and gave me a few plot details (I am not a person who cares about spoilers, in case you’re wondering).

Keir Dullea introduces the film.

The film blew me away, and much of what I’d thought wasn’t true. It was so awesome I don’t even think I have the words to give it a review (fortunately, not everyone was as inarticulate. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the twenty-something I overheard say to his friend, ‘you know, for a 1968 film, that was pretty good’). But as much as I chastised myself for never having seen it due to incorrect assumptions, I was glad that I had waited this long and gotten the chance to see it under the best possible circumstances. I also think that if I had seen it when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the benefit of certain life experiences and therefore wouldn’t have appreciated it as much. There were moments in 2001 that will haunt me for the rest of my life, for sure, but there were a couple of other interesting things that went on in my head.

My late parents loved this film and had the LP of the soundtrack, which I remember them playing quite a bit (which is odd; if you’ve seen the movie then you know that much of its brilliant score, like György Ligeti’s Atmosphères, really doesn’t classify as dinner music). I didn’t realize how much of it had been burned into my brain until I heard some of it and could anticipate the next chord. Which led me down another rabbit hole: seeing it on a big screen like this was similar to the way my parents would’ve seen it fifty years ago. I felt a strong connection to them, as though I were actually experiencing what they did, seeing it through their eyes.

Another exciting experience was the wonder of watching a film that was made before CGI was used for everything. Nowadays, we go to movies, see a special effect, and don’t even give it a second thought—we know it’s all done with computers. The joy of seeing an older film like this is that we can see something amazing and suddenly stop and think, “Oh my God, how did they ever do that?” Getting to experience that again was a reminder that going to the movies, for me, used to be so much more magical than it is now.

Biggest bag of Reese's Pieces EVER

They DO, in case you were wondering, sell popcorn and candy at the IMAX. This may sound silly, but part of the night’s magic was this GIANT bag of Reese’s Pieces. It took me two days to finish it.

After the showing, Keir Dullea (the famous “Dave” I’ve heard about my whole life) signed autographs and was available for photos. Having been to a lot of cons and met my fair share of celebrities, I have to say he is one of the most kind, gracious, and down to earth. And yes—his eyes are still that incredible shade of blue.

IMAX Keir Sign

While Keir Dullea was only visiting for opening night, you shouldn’t miss the chance to have your own odyssey with 2001 on Connecticut’s largest IMAX.

Keir signing for Charles

Keir gets ready to sign an original lobby card that Charles has had since the film’s opening in 1968.

Kristi and Charles with Keir

I very rarely get starstruck, but THIS WAS AMAZING!! I totally couldn’t even talk to the man. Oh well.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s IMAX theatre is located at 10 North Water Street in Norwalk, CT.  Tickets to see 2001: A Space Odyssey are $15; showings are at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 (today) and 21, and then on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays through Nov. 11.

Tickets can be purchased here https://14972.blackbaudhosting.com/14972/page.aspx?pid=196&tab=2&txobjid=70828ce4-45da-4345-9718-0c4bc4b8b386 or at the box office.

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About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, served as a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, has judged both writing and grant competitions and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on October 21, 2018, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, Events and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. 2001 is one my husband and my favorite movies. I can’t imagine how great it was in an IMAX theatre. Thanks for telling us about it!

    • Hello, Priscilla!! It’s so nice to meet you! I don’t know where you live, but YES, if you get the opportunity to see this–even if it’s in digital–DEFINITELY DO IT (even if you saw it way back when; I don’t know how old you are). It was really awesome. And again, I’m glad to meet you! I’m trying to get back into the swing with my blog here–I have a new book coming out, so I’ve been so busy with that it’s been tough to keep posting. But I’m always grateful to meet new people and know that someone finds what I post helpful or at least interesting. Happy movie watching!

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