2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

5 STARS

General Information

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/

U   141 min  –  Adventure | Sci-Fi   –  6 April 1968 (USA)

Director

Stanley Kubrick

Writors

Stanley Kubrick; Arthur C. Clarke

Stars

Keir Dullea; Gary Lockwood; William Sylvester

Plot:

A mysterious monolith appears throughout the course of human history and mysteriously makes the human race develop and evolve.

The mysterious monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey

The mysterious monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Review:

When watching Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (or just: “2001”), it is better to think of it as a visual poem rather than a film.

A poem is very much like a song: it is mysterious, yet intriguing; a certain song may say something different (or may say a different story) from one person to the next. 2001 is very much like that certain song or that certain poem. It is as mysterious as space itself, and so mysterious, that millions of interpretations can be drawn from it. After all, Arthur C Clarke said: “If you understand 2001 completely, we failed.”

We start off at the beginning of the human race: “THE DAWN OF MAN”. Half an hour of scenes showing beautifully composed shots of monkeys giggling, growling and bashing each other with bones unfold. Perhaps Kubrick is suggesting something about the instinctive nature we have for committing violence, or how far we have developed as a species – yet at the same time: how little. 2001 is a very subjective film, and all very much down to interpretation. For some viewers, this may be the movie’s downfall, as you could argue it off to be pretentious, ambiguous nonsense. (I imagine you can already guess what I think of 2001 anyway).

Later on, a black monolith mysteriously appears in their habitat – chaos ensues and panic arouses in the apes. They start waving their arms frantically and moving about whilst screeching. The monolith makes the apes develop into humans. We jump cut millions of years later. Humans are in space.

The humans then find another monolith on top of the surface of Jupiter. The human race then develops, but into what? Why? How? Is this good? Bad? What will become of us?

Judging by the questions above, 2001 is a difficult movie to describe; after all, it is difficult to describe why a poem or a song is good, as it just has to be experienced. 2001 poses so many questions, it doesn’t just pose one, but in every scene, every shot, every frame, it is not answering anything, and refuses to give anything away, it makes us think. Yet, if we don’t know what to make of it, 2001 at least blows us away. Kubrick was often noted on saying about how a film made you “feel“. 2001 is a good example of this: I felt an intense sense of intrigue and awe at the film’s astonishing achievement.

On a technical level, 2001 is flawless. Its slow tracking shots, its precise cinematography and it has one of the best CGI in the history of cinema (no thanks to Douglas Trumbull) – the ‘stargate sequence’, the ‘docking sequence’, the use of music to match with the choreography of the machines. Everything is perfect.

Verdict:

To be honest, I haven’t served this film justice with my review, but then, no words can, it cannot be described, but just experienced. To put it simply, it is as complex and as beautiful as the most complicated maze one could create. And it is as visual as the hallucinations of an acid-addict.

I think the important thing to consider with 2001 is even if you understand it or not, at the very least, it’s an experience. A mind-blowing one at that.

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