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Soderbergh remixes '2001: A Space Odyssey', says Kubrick would 'dig digital'

The "Ocean's Eleven" and "Traffic" director says the sci-fi classic has never looked better than on Blu-ray.

Keir Dullea in "2001: A Space Odyssey", directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the writing of Arthur C. Clarke. Warner Brothers

Just what do you think you're doing, Steve?

"Traffic" director Steven Soderbergh has opened the pod bay doors on a sacred piece of cinema, re-editing Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction classic "2001: A Space Odyssey". With the original running 2 hours 41 minutes long, Soderbergh's version trims nearly an hour from the film, and, with its opening shots, links the earlier sequences to the famous trippy climax.

Since quitting making movies (or going on hiatus, anyway), Soderbergh clearly has a lot of time on his hands. Instead of directing more films like "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "Out of Sight," "Ocean's Eleven" or "Magic Mike", he's taken to tinkering with other people's flicks and posting the results on his Extension 765 blog.

Previous experiments include a mashup of the Alfred Hitchcock original and Gus Van Sant remake of "Psycho"; a re-edited take on Michael Cimino's infamous western flop "Heaven's Gate"; and a silent, monochrome version of . Soderbergh also launched a range of with high-end camera maker RED.

Soderbergh has form at messing with sci-fi classics, having remade Andrei Tarkovsky's " Solaris" with extra George Clooney. Despite claiming of "2001" that "If it's not the most impressively imagined and sustained piece of visual art created in the 20th century, then it's tied for first", the director justifies his tinkering by asserting, "Sometimes you have to cross the line to know where the line is. Just ask any 2-year-old."

The Oscar-winning director describes how he has been watching "2001" for four decades. Despite having seen it on "every conceivable kind of film print, from 16mm flat to 35mm inter-negative to a cherry camera negative 70mm in the screening room at Warner Brothers," he asserts that the best way to watch the film is on Blu-ray disc played on a Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma monitor.

Soderbergh says he believes that Kubrick "would have embraced" digital formats, because of his dedication to realistically reproducing the light sources of his filming and his attention to image stabilisation. With digital formats ending problems such as dirt or scratches on film and the hassle of changeovers, framing and focus during projection, Soderbergh reckons "you can see why I think he might dig digital."

This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.