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Revisiting '2001': Kubrick's masterpiece returns to area theaters for 50th anniversary

The time has come to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” From its riveting depiction of primitive humanity’s violent discovery of tools to its sublime vision of an advanced civilization’s mystical journey to Jupiter, “2001” holds viewers spellbound like no other film. Perhaps the clearest sign of the film’s brilliance is that, though the actual year 2001 is long past, Kubrick’s forward-looking 1968 vision does not seem dated: rather, its aesthetic power seems timelessly wonderful.

Besides its breathtaking visuals of space travel and gloriously unearthly soundtrack, “2001” offers something truly exciting — profound mystery. While the cheerful but secretive Dr. Heywood Floyd (played by William Sylvester) and the eerily polite yet dangerous computer HAL clearly signal modern anxieties about technology, Kubrick never tells us exactly what to make of the opaque monoliths that puzzle humanity or of Dr. David Bowman’s (Keir Dullea) strange destination. Kubrick invites us to come up with our own answers — by watching a film great enough to provide deeper answers with each viewing.

To celebrate the semicentennial of “2001,” noted director Christopher Nolan supervised a team that painstakingly “unrestored” the film, using interpositive film stocks from the original 70-mm negative to reproduce a “new” film print as close to the original analog visuals and sound as possible.

Here's where you can see the film locally.

The Regal Transit Center Stadium & IMAX (6707 Transit Road, Williamsville) will screen an IMAX version of “2001,” beginning with multiple daily screenings through (at least) Aug. 29.

The Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.) will screen the film with 5.1 sound four times daily from Aug. 31 until (at least) Sept. 6.

The North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.) will screen a 4K digital version four times daily from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 (with only three screenings on Sept. 1).

Home collectors also have something to look forward in this special year for “2001.” In honor of the film’s 50th anniversary, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment will release a special Blu-ray edition of “2001” in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution and with High Dynamic Range (HDR). Set for Oct. 30, this release will also include a high-definition version on Blu-ray, a digital copy, collectible packaging and numerous special features.

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