2001 Forever

With a tip to the excellent Daring Fireball where I heard this story, It seems that a) 17+ minutes of “lost” footage from the classic SciFi movie 2001 has been “found,” and b) That Warner Brothers has no intention of making an expanded edit of 2001. To wit: 

“The additional footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey has always existed in the Warner vaults. When [director Stanley] Kubrick trimmed the 17 minutes from 2001 after the NY premiere, he made it clear the shortened version was his final edit. The film is as he wanted it to be presented and preserved and Warner Home Video has no plans to expand or revise Mr. Kubrick’s vision.”

There are people violently averse to re-issues and post-facto changes and modified “editors cuts – and George Lucas is probably to blame for a lot of that. There are those that relish seeing “what the editor intended.”

For me, it depends. 

On one hand, the extended editions of The Abyss, and Blade Runner, already long movies, a) were in line with what the director wanted to do in the first place, and b) clarified or improved the story. Story elements that were vague, or unclear after the supporting information was edited out were made clear once more without having to read the excellent Orson Scott Card companion novel.

On the other hand, despite enjoying the improved FX in the Star Wars trilogy rerelease and the scene where Solo negotiates with Jabba that had been in the novel since day one, George went back and fundamentally changed the nature of Han Solo’s character by changing a scene after the fact in a way that had nothing to do with time, studio, or FX limitations.

In most cases, I’d side with the Director (and even Lucas has the right to do what he wishes with his movies), and I’m glad that here, Warner chose to say that the director put down his vision, and they’re sticking with it.