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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest science fiction film of all time
Once upon a time, when the year 2001 seemed aeons away, director Stanley Kubruck (Dr. Strangelove) contacted author Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End) to discuss making "the proverbial good science fiction movie". Both were sick of films that passed for science fiction, but were actually monster movies set in space, or were fiction films with the science replaced by...
Published on Dec 23 2009 by LeBrain

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3.0 out of 5 stars Odd Indeed
Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey is a visual marvel and a director's dream. Mr. Kubrick reduces the role of the actor in film as only about one quarter of the film has spoken parts (and a good part of the dialogue is from an inanimate object, the HAL 9000 computer) and relies on the unspoken visual to relate the story. The story is starts at the dawn of...
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by P Magnum


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest science fiction film of all time, Dec 23 2009
By 
LeBrain - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Bilingual) (DVD)
Once upon a time, when the year 2001 seemed aeons away, director Stanley Kubruck (Dr. Strangelove) contacted author Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End) to discuss making "the proverbial good science fiction movie". Both were sick of films that passed for science fiction, but were actually monster movies set in space, or were fiction films with the science replaced by fantasy.

The result was 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film, and a companion book of the same name which is actually a completely different animal. The film -- striking, innovative, visually engrossing, ambiguous, and scientifically solid -- is as good today as it was in 1968, even if many of the "predictions" of the film have failed to come to pass. (Perhaps if the shuttle didn't explode in '86, we'd be closer to having moon bases today?)

Separated into four chapters (The Dawn Of Man, TMA-1, Jupiter Mission (and an intermission with music), and finally Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite), 2001 has no dialogue at all for the entire first quarter of the film. Beginning with a blank screen and "Atmospheres" by Ligeti, this is a film paradoxically anchored by both music and silence. The screen changes to the Earth rising over the moon, and the sun rising over the Earth (an important clue and recurring symbol) accompanied by "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". We are then introduced to a tribe of pre-human apes (Australopithecus, perhaps), starving and on the verge of extinction. Other tribes are stronger and out-competing them. There is no dialogue here but the barking of the apes, yet that and the scenery speak volumes. Suddenly one morning, the game has changed: A mysterious black monolith has appeared. The apes are drawn to it, and soon find that they are now able to compete with predators thanks to a new discovery: weapons.

The TMA-1 chapter begins with what Clarke has called "the longest jump-cut in history" and we see that humanity has evolved into a spacegoing race. Orbital weapons platforms orbit the earth as a shuttle is making way to an under-construction space station. The Blue Danube plays as the spacecraft dance in calculated perfection. Our first main character, Dr. Heywood Floyd, arrives on the station and we are given some tantalizing clues as to why he's made this trip: Rumours of a plague outbreak on the moon. Yet this is just a cover story. As Floyd makes his way to the moon in another beautifully choreographed sequence, we learn that a magnetic anomoly was discovered in the crater Tycho (named after astronomer Tycho Brahe) -- Tycho Magnetic Anomoly 1, or TMA-1. This discovery is so important, that the cover story was created to keep everyone far away from Tycho.

The discover of TMA-1 leads to another jump forward in time, to a mission to Jupiter helmed by David Bowman (the perpetually young Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood of the second Star Trek pilot episode). Aboard their ship the Discovery are three sleeping astronauts and the most famous computer of all time, H.A.L. 9000 (voiced by Stratford resident Douglas Rain). Bowman and Poole do not know why they are going to Jupiter, but we are given a glipse into the possible life of two men with nothing but a computer for company, in space for years as they make the long transit to the biggest planet in our solar system. H.A.L. is a character to himself, perhaps the one with the most emotion onboard the Discovery.

Things go wrong when an antenna is predicted to fail by H.A.L., requiring one of the astronauts to go outside and repair it. H.A.L., who controls the life support and every function of Discovery, begins to show signs of what humans call mistakes. Yet no 9000-series computer has ever failed, or found to be in error. You will be haunted by the song "Daisy" by the end of this chapter.

After an intermission, Discovery finally arrives at Jupiter and its true mission is revealed. This chapter too has no dialogue, bringing us full circle. David Bowman once again must venture outside the ship and find out just what was discovered on the moon, how it relates to Jupiter, and perhaps even how it related to our millenia-dead ancestors. What follows is one of the most baffling and strange sequences in movie history, one which will require dozens of viewings to appreciate, let alone understand. The beauty of this final sequence is that there is no right or wrong interpretation. While on the surface it may appear to be a psychedelic caleidoscope of colour followed by a bizarre dialogue-less encounter with a being that seems to have no bearing on reality, it is actually Kubrick's way of showing the audience something that is beyond anyone's imagination. Like the audience, David Bowman and humanity have come full circle.

Lacking what modern audiences might call action, lacking typical space sound effects (there is no sound in space!), lacking dialogue for most of the movie, and lacking any sort of warm human characters (except maybe H.A.L. who is not human), this movie was a challenge to watch in 1968 and is still a challenge today. It is, however, a piece of art that trancends its genre and is a landmark in film making. Kubrick, always a visionary and always breaking through boundaries of what could not be done in film, outdid himself and made a science fiction film that still has not been topped 40 years later. Nobody has made anything this epic, this beautiful, this deep or this scientifically sound since. The special effects -- all practical effects and mostly in-camera, as CG did not yet exist -- still stand up today. Nobody will ever forget the rotating Dicovery set that allowed one character to be seated while another seemingly walked from the top of the cylinder, down the side, and sat down next to him.

Sure -- we don't have a moon base. We haven't sent anyone to Jupiter. However, we do talk to each other via video conference. We do have a space station. We have created computers that can beat the best humans at chess. This is not that far off. If they had named this film 2031: A Space Odyssey, we might be in the right ballpark. In the end, the year does not matter. You never see modern Earth in the movie at all.

This DVD release is loaded with special features and has a beautiful transfer in 2.20:1, as Kubrick shot it and intended it to be. Both Dullea and Lockwood provide an audio commentary. There are documentaries about Kubrick, about the predictions of the film, and about the effects. The only thing missing is the Arthur C. Clarke lecture from the first issue DVD.

2001: A Space Odyssey is, without any doubt or any argument, the greatest science fiction film of all time. With Kubrick and Clarke now both gone, I doubt we will ever see anything like it again. 5 stars is not enough of a rating. I give this movie 200 billion stars, one for each star in our galaxy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the movie that set the standard in sci fi, July 18 2004
This review is from: 2001: A Space Odyssey (VHS Tape)
in 68,this movie was the best sci fi film ever.in it there is this force referred to as the monolith.it shows up at different points in time.finaly,a space crew goes to check it out.it is too intellectual for children.stanley kubrik directs so you know-since hes the greatest directer ever and all-that this movie is a classic!it is better than the sequel.thinkers will like it.in 68 there wasnt a computer paranoia like today.in this film,kubrik explores what would happen if the computer decided to just take the hell over.an idea not toyed with for years to come.he was a visionary.the music in it is very good too.for you wrestling fans,ric flairs theme song begins it.an abselute must for sci fi fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars From Ape to Man to Srarchild, Nov. 17 2010
This 1968 science fiction will always be a classic. It is a story starting 4 million years ago, lasting to infinity. No movie on earth has had that length of time.

But does time matter?

With extraterrestrial help, apes learned how to use tools. Having made his great leap (it was so vividly and beautifully illustrated in the movie ' the leap from the animal bone to spaceship! Visually stunning!), man has relied on technology. We made computers intelligent enough to think for us; and emotional enough to fee for us; so that there isn't much left for us to do but to eat warm-up food while watching TV; get tanned in artificial sun while hearing our parents video message wishing us 'happy birthday'; being bored and boring; lying down in a coffin like container virtually 'dead' in order to get around' It seems at the end of evolution, tools(computers) don't need us anymore to fulfill a mission.

Yet, in space, we still need to breathe ' there was a three minute space walk in the movie when we don't see much going on but hear heavy breathing from David's space suit. This almost upset me as the breathing becomes heavier and heavier (maybe not really. It's just that I became less and less patient without much happening there and being left, as an audience, to feel that in the ultimate space, man is so fragile.)

Stanley Kubrick shows us the master of earth is only a child in the space. We see spaceship attendants walk slowly and mechanically like a child learning how to walk; we eat baby liquid food; we need retraining to use zero gravity toilet'

And we almost lose control of our tool ' Hal 9000 the super computer. In the fight between man and his computer, ironically man used only one small tool, a screwdriver, again an amimal bone shape, to finish Hal 9000.

Some days later after I saw the movie, I was still reflecting on it. To some degree, Hal 9000 is like human ego. In going through earth life, we make up this identity, for the purpose of helping and protecting us navigating through life. However, as it goes, the more power we give to it, the more controlling it becomes, to the point it thinks it can override us ' so 'Jupiter Mission' is not human's mission. It becomes Hal's mission, and humans are in his way. It needs to be always right ' 'I never make mistakes.' Hal 9000 claims. It constantly feels threatened, to the point it kills. It collapses and is ready to re-negotiate when facing its inevatible death'

We have to grow. We can't let ego take over our lives forever. However, without his tool the super computer, in the space, what becomes man? Unknown is what he has to face. And that almost certianly means death.

But that force, that supernatual force which deliberatedly planted a monolith on earth near a tribe of sleeping apes and the moon 4 million years ago draws man to, not just Jupiter, but beyond the infinity. Is it not God?

Man has his last supper. And a glass is broken.

Is this the end?

But the wine is still there ' container; content ' body; spirit.

Man, are we ready for our next evolutionary leap?

In the end of the moving, a starchild is born.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive feat regardless of personal philosophy, Aug. 15 2007
By 
Rob Larmer (Harvey,NB,canada) - See all my reviews
2001: A Space Odyssey Very few films deal with humanity in an abstract
verb very well, often despite trying to give a universal message about
humans they end up giving a message about individuals. This is
perfectly fine, and many of the truly great films deal with people this
way, it is natural because we relate more deeply with individuals.
However, Stanley Kubrick's crowning achievement is one of the
best-regarded films at showing humans not in an individual sense, but
rather as a species.

The film basically comes down to the core philosophy of evolution,
about our need as a species to keep going, despite where we get
ourselves. A short cut scene at the beginning of the film shows us as
apes, wherein a black monolith (possible God allegory) reveals itself
to us as we first begin to comprehend tools as hunting mechanisms. We
proceed to separate ourselves from the apes that don't comprehend tools
through harassing them and ultimately separate ourselves as unique. We
then jump many years later to a theoretical 2001, wherein people have
become lazy; they lack emotion and have mechanical usages for almost
any regular job. What's implied is that we have evolved to a point of
slothfulness due to a lack of this theoretical God. Most of the
conventional story isn't the point; it is put in largely to begin the
plot where the truly insightful message on human beings is revealed. An
alien signal is picked up and a crew with a computer (Hal 9000) is sent
to investigate. What is shown is that Hal 9000 is more human then the
human beings, a creature stuck in a world void of life in a
metaphysical sense. Ultimately he destroys all but one crewmember in an
attempt to keep things safe, through his own poorly figured sense of
the situation. When the last member finally succeeds in unplugging him,
he regains what it means to be human and what follows is one of the
most impressive sequences ever revealed in any film.

What struck me at first with 2001 was its cold lifeless nature; though
this comes off as the films nature it truly is only the coldness of
space that gives it the sense. 2001 is a life affirming film because it
shows that humans will keep going, we are still evolving and we will
never really die. I don't connect with it like some individuals,
because as a believer my theology is different, but the film is a
moving sense of life and color, and it is affirming in many ways to
know that were not done. We as a species have a long way to go, but we
will ultimately make it.

2001 often lacks the philosophical qualities that make people connect
with the cinema. It isn't easy relating to an abstract verb as oppose
to an individual, but this quality alone separates 2001 as a truly
significant piece of the cinema. Regardless as to how deeply anybody
relates to the plot, the use of sound and color is unrivalled in any
film, and lovers of the cinema will inherently appreciate this aspect
alone. Truly nothing has ever surpassed it in terms of raw energy and
beauty and any admirer of film will be impressed with this aspect
regardless of philosophical merit to one's personal life.

Kubrick has left us with a masterpiece I think we will all grow to
further appreciate in time, just as we will further evolve, our tastes
will as well, and I see further recognition ahead of 2001. A true
masterpiece and the film that defined a genius, I give 2001: A Space
Odyssey a deserving 10/10.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Look at the far future with optimism., July 17 2006
By 
Jan Dierckx (Belgium, Turnhout) - See all my reviews
Look at the far future with optimism.

This review contains possibly a spoiler. I explain what happens at the end of the film. I do this because the end is confusing if you don't know something about the ideas of Arthur C.Clarke, an English scientist and SF writer who wrote the script for this movie along with Stanley Kubrick.

The basic idea of the film is that the 'Homo Sapiens' evolved from the apes (Darwin) and the 'Homo Cosmos' will in time evolve from the 'Homo Sapiens'(A.C.Clarke). The 'Homo Cosmos' will be a human creature that is able to live in outer space like we are able to live on Earth. Space will be his natural environment.

Arthur C.Clarke writes about this idea ( and many other scientific speculations ) in his book 'Profiles of the Future', first published in 1962 - he calls it 'An inquiry into the limits of the possible' - and revised in 1999 for millennial edition published by Indigo.

Before I carry on I have to say that the characters in this film are very cold and distant (all of them with perhaps the exception of the six year old daughter of one of the scientists.)They are polite but they could be mindless robots. I don't know if this was on purpose or that the scriptwriters didn't care about human psychology.

The movie has four parts.

First is the long winded part where you can witness the daily life of large apes. I presume that stunt men crawled almost literally in the skin of those apes. The special make-up must have cost a fortune. I give the film 4 stars because this first part is extremely slow-paced and is of very little importance for the rest of the film.

You start wondering if you are watching the wrong movie but at the end of that first part, you understand that the basic idea was that the apes are climbing up the ladder of evolution by using large bones as a tool or a weapon.

In the second part some scientists travel to the moon (there are already several colonies on the moon), to visit a mysterious artifact dug up in the vicinity of one of the colonies. We are told that the artifact points toward Jupiter where possibly another artifact can be found, floating like a satellite around the giant planet.

The third part is the mission to Jupiter. Something happens and the only survivor of the mission takes one of the space-capsules. He uses the gravity of Jupiter to gain speed and he makes a discovery voyage beyond Jupiter. The enormous speed he has is one of the most impressive scenes of the film.

In the fourth and last part of the movie, we witness the decay of the Homo Sapiens and we look at the foetus of the Homo Cosmos, floating in outer space.

A professional reviewer called The Space Odyssey a movie with a pessimistic vision. He apparently didn't read 'Profiles of the Future' because if there is one SF movie that is optimistic and welcomes the future with open arms (so to speak) it's The Space Odyssey.

After all, a whole new kind of humans with different and powerful possibilities is about to be born.
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5.0 out of 5 stars science fiction classic, June 28 2004
By A Customer
I am writing this review for those who claimed this movie has parts that are incomprehensible. Let me begin saying that you are right. The thing is this. There are movies wich are so successful, that a book is written afterwards based on it, like Star Wars. There are books so great that someone attempts to make a film of them, like The Lord of the Rings. Neither of these is the case of 2001. This a very peculiar situation in wich movie and book were developed simultaneously and were released within only a couple of months of difference. And even though there are some slights differences between book and movie, both belong together as a unit. Each one explains the other, so you can't read the book wihout the movie or watch the movie without having read the book. If you like good science fiction, that is science fiction wich is not like Star Trek or the Chronicles of Riddick, you should buy the movie and the book. 2001 is the proof that it is possible to make great science fiction: a story that portraits extraordinary events wich allow to explore the human condition and at the same time give entertainment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very influencial piece of artwork history, June 27 2004
By A Customer
the opinions and reviews I encounter reguarding this film are always ones of love or hate. For those who have seen and have hated it, I have one thing to say and that's... everyone has their own opinion, so it is crazy to chastize you for disagreeing with me. with that said, I think it is arogance on both parts to tell the other half that they suck for liking it or disliking it when the fact is, they don't understand it themselves. I love this movie for a number of reasons, the compositions and colors chosen for each and every scene were not from impulse or what might look 'cool', instead, the way each scene is set up visually tells the story better than any dialogue could. True, the special effects are very well done and makes one wonder how they were made, but more importantly is how they help tell the story. You can agree or disagree with me on that one, but when I watch the movie, I see how the spinning rooms bring us into a world of technology that we understand but so unlike everyday living. Throughout the movie, one can't help but notice the fact that "man, where's the dialogue?", that's just it. Dialogue, narraration, and captions can (it CAN, but doesn't always) make a story less interresting as it is likely to be used as a substitute for creativity and laziness on the filmmakers part. At the beginning, it tells us, "The Dawn of Man", an that is all we need to know. So with that in mind, mankind becomes the main character, since there is no single person that the film follows. We see its past, its present and imagine the future. it shows us that tools are what makes man "man" and how the very tools we make can become smarter than us and may bite us in the ass. This movie is not for everyone, for those who like it because of its philosophical aspects, cool. For those who like it for its special effects, sure. I choose to like this movie because of the challenge. The challenge to show a story instead of telling, to have the special effects be apart of the story instead of a gimick, and to keep a person's (like me) interrest during a mundane or routine activity or journey. I understand the overall Philosophies involved, but i chose not to write about that. I like the movie for reasons I have written about and for me to write about why it is a "celebration of mankind" would be more of a book report than anything else, in fact I don't agree with the overall message. If you want the movie explained, look for essays. I recomend this movie for those who enjoy watching a story that trusts the viewer and does not have to spoonfeed information.
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2.0 out of 5 stars One Giant Yawn, June 27 2004
By 
JR (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This is surely one of the most overrated films of all time. I really wanted to like this, I tried hard but I just found myself struggling to stay awake. The plot is virtually incomprehensible, it's got something to do with evolution apparently but the different strands of the movie are not linked together in any meaningful way. The first 30 minutes or so are excruciatingly dull - these scenes with the apes are pretty pointless. So they discover that they can use bones as weapons. Wow. They find the black monolith and go nuts. Double Wow. Then we get a bunch of painfully long space landing sequences set to music, boring dialogue (when there actually is any), and a bunch of characters who you just don't care about. I can admire Kubrick's direction here, he obviously has a wonderful talent for visuals (though they are dated now), but the whole film just leaves you feeling empty. The best thing in the film is actually Hal, the computer on the Jupiter mission, who is genuinely creepy and at least interesting. But the ending is just ridiculous and I'm tired of reading reviews by these self-proclaimed film experts who say that if you don't "get it", then it's just a demonstration of your lack of intelligence. I'm not stupid and I didn't know what the hell was going on, much less how it related to the rest of the movie. I read one review on here that interpreted the ending as a rebirth of man as the superman (hence the foetus overlooking earth), based on Nietzche's philosophy. Having read a lot of Nietzsche's philosophy, at least this made some sense and would somehow join the different strands of the story together as a path of human evolution from the dawn of man to the superman. But most of these reviewers don't actually give any suggestions about what this film means, what the point of it might be. If you guys are so supremely intelligent, then maybe you would be kind enough to explain to the rest of us philistines what exactly you got out of it (or even just what the monolith is). But no, they're happy to go along saying that's it's too profound to pinpoint a single meaning blah blah blah. In other words, they don't have a clue. Hey, the movie could have meant something profound but the point is that by the end you just don't care. The fact is that truly great movies engage audiences. This movie never does that, it always feels like you're on the outside looking in. It feels like a technical exercise from start to finish - there is no emotion, no suspense, barely a hint of a coherent story - it may be a film that many people can admire, but I can't imagine how anyone could truly love it and want to watch it more than once. So, all in all, a colossal bore. One star for Kubrick's direction and one for Hal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An immortal , and mythical film, May 31 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This film was the greatest work made by the master Stanley Kubrick.
This movie is built like a Symphony in four movements.
Introduction: the dawn of man; we watch in the first thirty minutes , two apes society ; with unsaid rules and a certain perception of the landness. When a monolyte suddenly appears, the sparkilng light of the intelligence enlights them. The aspects concerned with violence, sense of possesion, cruelty, and the taste for meat are visible shown; this step ahead in the evolution is one of the most powerful and extraordinary take ever filmed; the use of a bone as a lethal weapon is linked with the Second movement; we are now in XX century and we are witness of the purpose of the mission to Jupiter.
The journey would be the third movement; more specifically depicted as the Adagio , think in the Ninth Synphony's Beethoven; and this long sequence of the experience in the planet will carry us to the Fourth and last movement in which the relativity theory appears: this is the real meaning of the calelidoscopic journey beutifully depicted by a wide and dynamical spectral color frequency ; the concepts of time and space are broken and our hero; (after the epic struggle fight with HAL 900)will land in other dimension in a twilight zone; , a simmetry hall watching himself in a bed surrounded by a barroque style, with the monolyte as silent witness, in which he will reborn in that unforgettable ending sequence.
Inmediatly after Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick engaged literal and really with this tale of Arthur Clark, and five years were spent to get that challenging work.
And finally Kubrick shocked the whole world with a movie out of its time ; one legendary cult movie ; a real artistic and cinematographic winner; but the complex lines that support the film easily would surpass the limits of this review.
I've always thought since I watched it in 1968 , that Michael Collins in one of his countless thoughts when he turned around the dark side of the moon; the journey sequence certainly would be a leit motive when he faced this vertigo sensation in front the huge universe and the infiniteness sense he felt.
The musical employed were another genius touch; from Ligetti to Kachaturian and from Strauss Johann to Strauss Richard 's Zarathustra as a smart link motive between the first and second movement and the end sequence.
The special effects are worthy even today. The loneliness in which Dullea is involved when he talks with his family, is suggeted with a dark poetry , visual and musically speaking.
You don't have any excuse for not watching this major film.
A must in your DVD collection.
This film remained until 1972 as the major scifi achievement, but when Tarkovsky filmed Solaris , this one became in a second place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The genius of Clarke and Kubrick, May 14 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: 2001: A Space Odyssey (VHS Tape)
Clarke wrote an excellent book, and Kubrick brought his story to life beautifully. Rather than elaborating on my positive thoughts, I feel compelled to respond to the people who simply don't "get it".
Some of you think the movie is too slow. Here are my responses:
1. So many people today have a "fast-food" mentality that prevents them from appreciating the sheer intellect and craft involved in the storytelling and filmmaking process. How hard is it to sit still for a couple of hours? It is refreshing to see directors take their time when appropriate. Which brings me to my second point:
2. A key idea of the story is that traveling through time and space is a slow process. We don't just get on a spacecraft and arrive at our destination the next day. More over, evolution is an even longer process, spanning millions of years. Having short scenes and fast edits like many other films would have robbed this story of the overall mood and pace that was essential.
Some of you think the film lacks any sort of logic. Again, here are my thoughts:
1. I first saw this film as an adolescent child, and even at that young age it made sense to me. If anyone out there has half a brain, they can figure it out. So many people are accustomed to being spoon-fed answers, and are unable to comprehend something truly profound. I won't go into detail about the philosophical meaning of this film, because there are many resources out there that discuss this subject in a much better way than I can.
Even thought this film makes sense to me, I have come to realize a very comforting idea. Many things in life do not make sense, and are not meant to be understood. That is what makes life so interesting and mysterious.
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