"2001" fills the theaterRoger Ebert hosts wide-screen showing at the Virginia Theater
By Matt Wargin and Michelle Denney
Every seat was full at the Virginia Theater March 13,
the return of "2001: A Space
Odyssey" hosted by renowned film critic and UI alumnus Roger Ebert.
The Virginia Theater, located in Champaign, went to a lot of
show the film. Special equipment was brought in to accommodate for the 70
mm format which is four times the size of the standard 35 mm format, Ebert said.
People from all over the Illinois and from as far away as
Australia, Ebert said, paid $12 to see "2001" on the big screen. An
experience Ebert called "almost religious". The sold-out crowd cheered,
whistled and clapped as the infamous HAL9000
stated, "I became operational at the HAL plant in Urbana, Ill."
They whistled, hissed and booed when HAL said he
was born in 1992, however. Ebert said "2001" director Stanley Kubrick
insisted HAL was born in 1992, rather than the 1997 date Cyberfest is
celebrating, and refused to be a part of this week's events.
"(Kubrick) sent a very tart note when he was informed of
Cyberfest," Ebert said. "He was told that the University of Illinois is
going to celebrate the birth of HAL which was born in Urbana in 1997. And
Kubrick's tart response was that HAL was born in 1992, and if you didn't
have a birthday party then, it's too late to have one now."
Steve Friedrich, an employee at the Virginia Theater, said he had
never seen such a large crowd for a showing there.
After 30 years, the movie is still amazing crowds and competing
with even the newest blockbusters. Andreas Zodinates, a 15 year-old from
Champaign described "2001" as "infinitely better than 'Independence
Day'. The special effects were clean and crisp."
In today's dollar, "2001" would be "a $100 million experimental
art film," Ebert said, espcecially since the special effects in the movie
Kubrick and Arthur
Clarke, the co-authors of
thescreenplay, played close attention to detail. The slow motion docking
scene was used with simple model photography, Ebert said. But even with
the close-ups, the models seemed flawless and perfect.
"2001" touched audiences and gave them a real feeling of "what it
would be like to live in space, more so than in any other movie," Ebert said.
On stage after the showing were Gary Lockwood, who
played Astronaut Frank Poole in the movie and Piers Bizony, the author of
Joined by Ebert, they answered audience questions about the movie.
In Ebert's mind there is no question as to the impact and magic
"It will last longer than any other film in the first 100 years
of film," Ebert said. "No other movies made in 1968 would fill this theater."
See also: Shooting with the NICAM,
A high-tech camera developed at Beckman takes panoramic images of the Virginia Theater