Steven Soderbergh’s retirement has been more creatively fruitful than most. He made a TV show, desaturated Raiders of the Lost Ark and now, he’s taken it upon himself to re-cut Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can watch the edited version at Soderbergh’s site Extension 765, where you’ll also find his explanation as to why he trimmed the movie by 50 minutes. Here’s a taste:
sometimes you have to cross the line to know where the line is. just ask any two-year-old.
maybe this is what happens when you spend too much time with a movie: you start thinking about it when it’s not around, and then you start wanting to touch it. 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.
I haven’t been able to watch just yet, but if the opening two minutes are any indication, this is a major rearrangement of material. And like his version of Raiders, I’m not bothered by this in the slightest. Maybe I should be, but I don’t see this as anything other than an editing experiment.
What do you think? Is this piracy? Did Soderbergh just take a can of spray paint through the Louvre? Let’s hear it.