2001 on the Extreme Screen: A Visual (and Sound) Odyssey

Astronaut David Bowman and the iPad of 1968: the IBM TELE PAD. On COSI’s Extreme Screen, the TELE PAD name is clearly legible.

I love Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I've seen this epic space film dozens of times since childhood, probably once or twice in a movie theater, but almost always at home on TV.

Yet, in a way, I'd never seen 2001 before last month.

That's because I finally saw it on COSI's Extreme Screen.

COSI's Extreme Screen is the largest digital screen in central Ohio. It's 75 feet across. That's fifteen feet longer than the length of a standard tractor-trailer truck. The screen itself is seven stories tall. The projected image is 45 feet high.

Think about that: on the Extreme Screen, Kubrick's wheeling, orbiting Space Station 5, shown in the film's iconic Blue Danube sequence, is almost five stories tall.

Seeing 2001 on a screen this size, combined with a new, super-high-resolution, digital print, was truly like seeing the film for the first time. I noticed tiny details I'd never noticed before.

• The white, four-finned satellite that floats past the camera during a panning shot from the Earth to the Moon has a red Soviet star on it.

• Astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole's computer tablets onboard spaceship Discovery bear a tiny IBM logo and even a prophetic model name: TELE PAD.

• Heywood Floyd's Russian friends have shoulder bags with the logo of AEROFLOT, the Soviet airline (which incidentally, has outlasted the other airline seen in the film, Pan Am).

The famous "stargate" sequence, where Astronaut Bowman blasts through space and time at light speed in a vortex of color, is almost overwhelming on the Extreme Screen's huge scale.

There's another aspect of experiencing 2001 on the Extreme Screen that's unrivaled: the sound. Hearing 2001 in COSI's Extreme Screen theater is as mind-blowing as seeing it.

Consider this: the standard Mark Levinson sound system in the 2013 Lexus LS 600h L, a $119,910 luxury sedan, boasts 450 watts. COSI's Extreme Screen, on the other hand, is a twelve thousand watt system.

The Extreme Screen's sound system gives Kubrick's classical soundtrack an unsurpassed depth and texture. Thus Spake Zarathustra's drums are felt, not just heard. Aboard Space Station 5, space ship Discovery, and the film's other visionary vehicles, you can't help but come away with a new appreciation for the film's meticulously-crafted layers of humming machinery, whirring air handlers, and computer chimes and chirps that come through with crystal clarity.

Here's hoping COSI decides to run 2001 again next summer. Look for me in the front row center.

Note: COSI's summer Sci-Fi Movie Series continues through August 31, 2013. Visit for details.

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