Synopsis: Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.
This week my local Cinerama movie theater was having a 70 MM film festival and I had the opportunity to see 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time and I’m glad it was on the big screen. This 1968 classic directed by Stanley Kubrick is considered one the all-time greatest movies and I was happy to see that it lives up to its reputation. The best way to describe this movie for me was that it was an experience. There were so many things in this movie that were just incredibly unique, intriguing, confusing and beautiful. Let’s take a look.
2001 made so many interesting choices with the movie that you don’t really see these days. First off it’s pretty ballsy to start your movie off with a bunch of prehistoric monkeys with absolutely no dialogue for a good 20 mins of the beginning. It does leave the viewer a little confused as to what you are watching and why, but you just go with it out of sheer curiosity. Then it moves to a dramatically different movie into the more modern sci-fi movie that I was expecting but the next act of the movie brings up even more questions then it answers until you get to the third act of the movie which was easily the most exciting and famous part of the movie with the HAL 9000 computer. Somehow Dave and Frank’s interaction with HAL is comical yet very tense because you just know that something is eventually going to go wrong. That’s where this movie really succeeds it really creates these moments by giving you just enough information to keep you informed and interested but never enough to ever make you feel comfortable or like you have a handle on the situation. I will be honest though I don’t quite understand the ending of this movie or what the movie was trying to tell me overall. I have some ideas but I may need to re-watch this movie several more times to really get a grasp on what this movie was trying to say because let me tell you this movie does not come right out and tell you what it means. Through the entire end of the movie I was waiting for some explanation or payoff but it never really does and it really leaves you sitting there thinking about what was Stanley Kubrick trying to say.
2001 is a beautiful movie, especially for a movie that was made in 1968. There are some incredible shots that are really awe inspiring and it seems like he knows it too because throughout the entire movie he will just linger on particular shots or scenes for a while like “hey, this shots awesome look at it.” The set design and effects were pretty astounding throughout the movie and to this day still hold up very well. I was wondering how they accomplished the zero gravity effects so convincingly as well as actors walking sideways and upside down. The sets and the exterior shots of the ships in space were all really impressive as well produced by well-made miniatures and models. I could probably go on and on about the special and visual effects alone. Along with the visuals the audios were used to great effect as well. The sound was used in very specific ways to create tension by increasing the volume of certain sounds or just completely removing all sounds so it’s completely silent which helps create the isolating feeling of deep space. The soundtrack to this movie really adds to the grand scale of this movie it doesn’t use any original music but uses classical pieces to great effect with the most famous pieces of music, Also Sprach Zarathustra composed by Richard Strauss. This is easily one of the most recognizable tune in all of movies thanks in large part to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m sure most of you know the tune even if you’ve never seen the movie.
2001: A Space Odyssey is considered one of the all-time greatest movies in history and now that I’ve seen it for myself I can see why. It does things that you really don’t see done in very many movies and does them very well. The visuals and sound are amazing and create quite the experience. The story while a bit difficult to understand is so good at keeping you on your toes making the audience figure out what is going on and I believe that was what Kubrick was going for with such an open ended ending. This movie may not be for everyone but I believe if you like movies you really should do yourself a favor and watch it!