2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

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Part of My Autumn Rewatches 2.0 Challenge
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Task #8: Rewatch one of your Top Ten favorite films of all time.

I have seen this incredible film at least seven times before, so I know the story, the dialog, the music, the camera angles, almost by rote. I am NOT going to write a review of Kubrick's magnus opus today or any time soon. If you want interpretation, watch YouTube. However, this particular viewing was extra special for me -- I saw it stoned -- so I will try to share the experience with you as it unfolded.

August 01, 2018 - I read in the trade press that "For the first time, the film, initially released in 1968, will be hitting IMAX screens across North America for a one-week engagement, beginning Aug. 24."

August 03, 2019 - Tickets went on sale. I checked Fandango and found four IMAX theaters in the Las Vegas area would be showing the film in its large screen format starting 8/23, with ticket prices ranging from $11.99 for children to $20.40 for adults full price.

August 05, 2018 - I posted on my Facebook page that "I am seriously considering going to a showing and maybe (just maybe) trying our legal marijuana for the first time." Response included nine "likes" and one comment to "Do it!" Nobody tried to dissuade me.

August 12, 2018 - I popped into a legal pot shop and purchased a couple of THC+CBD Chocolate Chunk Brownies. With my senior discount, that came to $30.15, taxes included. Each brownie is equivalent to two highs or $7.54 per serving.

August 13, 2018 - On Fandango, I booked my IMAX 2D experience at an AMC multiplex with reserved seating for 2:40pm on Friday, August 24. I selected seat #H-9, pretty much in the very middle of the theatre, but that's not the reason I chose it. Anyone familiar with the film can imagine why that seat might have special significance. The cost with senior discount was $13.99.

August 17, 2018 - I toyed with the idea of eating half a brownie as a test run. I was interested to know how long it took to kick in and how long/strong the high might be. But then I thought better of it. If this is going to be a special and unique experience, I might as well do it clean ... gotta go "all in" as the poker players say.

August 23, 2018 - Excited. And a little scared. Tomorrow is the big day. I hopped on YouTube to watch clips of a few key sequences. Amazing how good this still looks after 50 years, even on the small screen.

August 24, 2018 - Skipping lunch, I ate half a brownie at 12:20pm, about 140 minutes before showtime. The sales clerk at the pot shop had said it could take effect as quickly as 40 minutes or as long as 120 minutes, so I consumed it early because I wanted to be high for sure by the time the lights went down. In fact, it started to hit me after 45 minutes while I was riding the bus to the cinema venue, and after 90 minutes I could tell it was definitely in full effect.

But this was not what I'd call zonked or stoned so much as a mellow buzz. As is often the case with THC, I noticed my senses were heightened, more open to input, especially sight, sound and smell. Walking to the cinema through the shopping complex, I was especially noticing all the tantalizing aromas coming out of restaurants. I also took note of what a widely varied clientele comes to the center. People-watching is greatly enhanced by weed.

Remembering how much the munchies affected me the last time I got high 47 years ago, I purchased a large popcorn at the AMC concession stand -- a $7.99 value, but I had a discount ticket so it was just $3. My total investment for this excursion, prorating the grass-laced confection, was $24.53. I took my seat, ready for "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," the apes, "Blue Danube," HAL and (of course) that colorful 9'38" corridor of visual effects referred to as The Star Gate sequence.

Some impressions about watching the film in IMAX when enjoying a THC-brownie buzz:

- The big screen experience is absolutely the best way to watch this. The views of planets and spacecraft are particularly better seen as large as possible. The sets for the "Dawn of Man" sequence seemed shabby compared to the 21st century sets -- all incredible.

- The soundtrack is phenomenal, of course, and the IMAX sound system is optimum. I loved the orchesteral pieces, as always, but the weed made me ultra sensitive to one-off sound effects such as alarms going off as well as the deep silences of many space-vaccuum scenes. I also found Dave's labored breathing in the space suit incredibly emotive.

- Although I gained no new insights this viewing, I did appreciate the minor characters a bit more, such as the Aeroflot scientists at the space station and the group of specialists assembled on the moon for Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) and the briefing about the discovery at Clavius Base.

- Again, again, again... the scenes of weightlessness are just astounding. I think the pot made me enjoy the special effects even more.

- The Intermission 80 minutes in was hugely appreciated by my full bladder and empty water bottle. Many viewers just sat there and did not take advantage of the break other than to respond to text messages. But exiting the auditorium via its track-lit labyrinth of corridors and seeing the clean tiled walls of the men's room made me feel like I was inside the spacecraft Discovery One bound for Jupiter.

- The Stargate Sequence was absolutely designed to be seen when high. Trust me!

In retrospect, I could have handled a stronger dose, and my seat could have been a couple of rows closer to the screen. But all in all, I'm glad I did this. After the show, I spoke with a young man who said he was a major Kubrick fan, and we both agreed that IMAX is totally worth the extra cost for this film -- the bigger the better. Stoned or not, see this in IMAX before it goes away!!!

Ranked #1 among my Best Films of 1968
Ranked #1 among my Stanley Kubrick Ranked
Ranked #1 in my Showdown #30: Outer Space
Ranked #2 among My 50 Favorites
Ranked #3 in my Bucket-of-Bolts Awards
Ranked #15 among the revised AFI 100 (2007)
Ranked #22 among the original AFI 100 (1998)
Ranked #44 among the Vatican’s 45 Great Films (1995)
Ranked #104 among the IMDb Top 250 (June 2014)
Representing 1968 in My Life as Sci-Fi

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