I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey for a number of reasons:
1. Christopher Nolan, one of my favorite directors, hails it as one of his favorite films.
2. It is considered to be one of the greatest, most influential and beautiful films ever made.
3. I wanted to write a review on the subject.
So anyhow, I watched it. And I was to-ta-lly blown away.
Here are thoughts, criticisms, and notes on the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey:
1. The Opening Scene
The opening of 2001 is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ever filmed. The iconic music (See: The Theme below) plays as the sun rises above a planet, and the words: "2001: A Space Odyssey" show on the screen. Someone on YouTube commented that even if the whole movie was just the opening scene, they could have walked out of the theatre--feeling they had gotten their money's worth.
I totally agree!
Thankfully for us, there is more...much more!
2. The Dawn of Man
This is my favorite scene in the film. Why? It simply has the most action and plot (See: Criticisms below). It revolves around a clan of Australopithecus in Africa, apparently 4,000,000 years ago! The ape-men live a hard life: scrounging for food, defending themselves from leopards, and being driven from their water-hole. I'm not going to spoil the plot for you but allow me to bring your attention to one scene. In my opinion, this is the greatest scene in the film, and one of the greatest, most iconic film scenes of all time!
I speak, of course, of the Tool-and-Bone-Scene (just made that name up)
An ape (Moon Watcher, in the book) approaches a pile of dry bones. Picking one up, he wields it as a tool. Bones fly, music plays, wild pigs fall dead and skulls are smashed in a scene that sends shivers down my spine (in a good way).
3. Special Effects:
For a film made 50+ years ago, this film has flawless special effects. Impeccable. Perfect. Faultless.
Truly, endless scrutiny will find nothing wrong with the effects. Endless scrutiny will just further my opinion that great cinema can be achieved WITHOUT CGI.
(George Lucas, James Cameron, and Michael Bay, I'm looking DIRECTLY at you.)
Stanley Kubrick, how you achieved this is beyond me. You were a perfectionist, a control-freak, and a brilliant mind in cinema. There will never be anyone else like you, ever again.
4. HAL 9000
HAL is part of the reason this film is so famous. A state-of-the-art computer, whose "face" is just an unblinking red eye, serves as the antagonist of the film.
And he's a damn good one, too. I can't go into detail because that would spoil the film for you. Just remember, HAL steals every scene he is in, is one of Kubrick's greatest inventions, has influenced everyone from Hannibal Lecter to Apple's Siri, to and is part of the reason YOU should watch 2001.
Memorable quote: "My mind is going. I can feel it."
All movies, even the greatest, have their cons. Even Classic films. ESPECIALLY Classic films. No one can deny Citizen Kane is a truly good film, but who'd watch it for fun? To me, 2001 has but one con, but it is a big one:
2001: A Space Odyssey is abominably slow.
- The first section: (The Dawn of Man) is not slow at all. It is marvelous.
- The second section: (Moon) moves fast and has lots of great dialogue--something you begin to miss in the latter half of the film.
- The third section: had scenes so long one could skip 5 seconds ahead and the camera had not moved, still, it had some dialogue. The scenes with the "pod" were the slowest in the film. The pod was so slow!
- The fourth section had no dialogue, which is sad, but that is made up for by some of the most amazing, moving scenes I have ever witnessed in a film.
Also note the lack of dialogue. This is not really a con. Stanley Kubrick intended 2001 to be a visual experience (The Ultimate Trip), not a verbal experience. Still, for about 30 minutes, all you hear is Dr. Bowman's breathing, nothing else. (This is also intended--space is perfectly silent)
Plus, (and this also isn't really a con) you will NEVER, EVER be able to fully understand, comprehend, or wrap your mind around the mind-blowingly wondrous ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's impossible, trust me.
So stop trying!
This is what Rotten Tomatoes has to say:
"One of the most influential of all sci-fi films -- and one of the most controversial -- Stanley Kubrick's 2001 is a delicate, poetic meditation on the ingenuity -- and folly -- of mankind."
And this is what I have to say:
With 2001, Stanley Kubrick has created a visual masterpiece. It is a film that cannot be described in words; it must be SEEN to be experienced. A beautiful, moving, voyage of wonder through space. 2001: A Space Odyssey is truly...the Ultimate Trip.
P.S. Watch this film, I hope you enjoy as much as I have. Also, LIKE this review, POST a comment, and READ my other reviews.