2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is the genre’s best film and in my opinion one of the best films ever made.

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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In this movie review I am not going to talk about the story in-depth as I have already done that analysis in my review of the book. But let’s compare the two works. I guess I am in vast minority, but I think I actually prefer the book. The movie is absolutely fantastic, but some elements, especially the main character and the plot itself, were slightly better in the novel.
But Clarke and Kubrick are both geniuses and this movie is the quintessential example of how to properly adapt novel into visual medium such as film, it is actually a better example than ‘The Shining’ which is another Kubrick movie which was perfectly adapted from the Stephen King book. Whereas the novel is much better explained and detailed, the film is just the opposite – it doesn’t give many explanations and it leaves many things unanswered and to the viewers to analyze themselves. That is why this film is such an admirable work of art, wonderfully ambiguous, timeless and always fascinating to behold. The book and the film are the same at their core, but are so different in approach and that is why I loved what Kubrick did here.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I thought that Bowman, Poole and Floyd were all better in the book, but here they aren’t particularly important and that is why they aren’t as much developed. In the ambitious scope and context of this epic story, characters are almost irrelevant which is why I liked that approach even though I would usually criticize it. The performances from its far from famous cast are pretty good too.
HAL 9000 is absolutely magnificent. It is interesting how the only non-human character in the movie is better developed, more flawed and in the end more human than the humans themselves which is an interesting conversation point. But whatever you take away from it, you just cannot deny the power of this character who is in my opinion one of the best villains ever in a film and probably even the very best. Calculated, yet so human, he is also very creepy and all of the scenes with him are so powerful with the lip-reading sequence being the most memorable. Complex and fascinating, HAL truly is an unforgettable creation.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most cinematic films in film history. And that is in and of itself a pure miracle because the book seems so unfilmable and the story seems that it could only exist in the literary form. That is why Kubrick’s direction here is probably the best of all time, it is that great! Without any doubt, this is his magnum opus and that says a lot as his filmography is truly phenomenal. His direction here is always consistent, artistic and epic and he is the person most responsible for the existence of this masterpiece. He was such a talented individual.
Naturally the special effects are the most memorable aspect here. Wow, not only is this movie the best looking classic film, but I would go so far as to call these effects the finest ever created in a film. I have actually read how it was made and it is still mind-boggling to me that this film came out in the sixties. The ship, the planets and the overall space is just visually stunning. There are many scenes here that contain such jaw-dropping visceral beauty that it overwhelms your senses entirely. The cinematography and the effects work in line to create one of the best looking movies of all time.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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I constantly use those superlatives, but this is just that powerful a movie. And it is another strong proof that some movies have to be watched many times in order to fully understand them. When I watched 2001 the first time, I actually disliked it. When I watched it the second time, I found it to be very good, but kind of boring. But upon third viewing and on the big screen, I was riveted throughout the whole running time, I was fascinated by its sheer magnitude and now I deem it to be one of the best films of all time. It is in fact now in my top ten films list, sitting at the seventh spot for now and it may only move further to the top as I definitely intend to watch it every couple of years for the rest of my life.
This wouldn’t be such a strong artistic achievement hadn’t it been for the score. Using classical compositions, Kubrick again managed to create a timeless masterpiece. I loved how wonderfully the music accompanied the action on screen and that creepy score accompanying the monolith scene was just astonishing to behold and immensely unnerving.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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As I said, it is a timeless film. Mainly because it uses spacesuits, the ship and especially the production design that feel so futuristic and definitely timeless instead of the usually timely portrayals in other science fiction films of this period. The furniture and the sets are just magnificent and couple that with those accomplished effects and you have the movie that looks and sounds great even in this 21st century and do believe that it is going to stand the test of time for many centuries and millennia to come.
Now I have to touch upon my favorite sequences. I adore that opening with the apes. Now I do love ‘Planet of the Apes’ from the same year, but this is how you make apes that look realistic and fantastic to this day. The transition from the bone to the space object is stunning and the next unforgettable scene is of course the monolith scene which is unforgettable in its creepiness. I loved all of the scenes with HAL 9000 and the entire ending is jaw-droppingly beautiful and artistic. I loved the ambiguity about it. I still do think that those who haven’t read the book would have a hard time understanding the film, but I’ve read the book myself and I love both of these works so much.

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2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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The dialogue is sparse, but phenomenal. I loved that this was almost a silent film in many ways and I loved its ambitious approach. The film deals with so many things from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrials to weapons to space exploration, but it is above all one ambitious and timeless look at the never-ending human quest for knowledge. In its plot and scope, it is almost universal and all-encompassing which is why it is a quintessential science fiction film whether you love it or not.

With the best special effects ever created, one of the best villains ever, splendid production design, stunning cinematography, beautiful score and absolutely fantastic direction from Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey truly is a timeless masterpiece and undoubtedly a work of art. It encompasses all of the essential science fiction themes and that is why it is the quintessential genre film. Ambitious in scope and plot, epic in feel and filled with many scenes that are overwhelming in their majesty, 2001 is a marvel to behold and it is indisputably one of the best films of all time.

My Rating – 5

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Posted in 1960s, 1968, FILM DECADES, Highest-Rated Movies, MOVIE REVIEWS, Science Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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