2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother Special Edition)
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Overall Rating 75%
Overall Rating
Ranked #162
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 26, 2007
In 1969, the nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards were "Funny Girl", "The Lion In Winter", "Rachel, Rachel", "Romeo & Juliet" and "Oliver!", which eventually won the award. How many of those films are half as memorable as "2001: A Space Odyssey"? How many of those films are as influential? The truth is that the 1969 Academy Awards won Stanley Kubrick his only Oscar, for special effects. "2001: A Space Odyssey" is now widely considered to be the greatest science fiction film ever made, and while I won't say it's the greatest, I would be hard pressed not to put it in the top three. "2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of those films that sticks with you because you automatically realize you're dealing with something for more than a motion picture.

The opening of this film is historic, with the primates jumping around and thrashing their bones against the rock, in the midst of the strange black monolith, with the pounding score driving it home. Even in the opening scene, we know we're in for something truly unique -- a commentary on the rise of technology and the intelligence of the machine in our everyday lives. We then cut to a Pan-Am spacecraft, where Dr. Floyd (William Sylvester) is told of a similar monolith on the surface of the moon, which leads to an investigation. The men sent to unearth the black monolith are the crew of the Discovery One, led by Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea). They are traveling to the moon to make their observations, guided by the ships' computer, HAL9000. This final section of the film is the most haunting and the most indicative of what Kubrick wanted to accomplish with this film. The computer, HAL9000, goes berserk and starts murdering crew members and making sure they never reach their destination, leading to the final battle between HAL9000 and Dave that gives us a historic cinematic ending of epic proportions.

That was the generic plot description. Written by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, it would be impossible to give you all of the insight you need to fully appreciate and understand this film and what it means, both in terms of its cinematic relevance and its cultural and social relevance. This is a film about the alienation of man and the rise of the machines. It's a commentary on artificial intelligence and how, ultimately, man's resourcefulness will be able to defeat even the most complex of machines. But, the film is also a warning. Sure, in 1968, they might have thought that 2001 would look a lot like it does in the film. Maybe not. The point is -- we're actually leaps and bounds more advanced, technology wise, than this film imaged -- in different ways. So, that makes this film even more frightening when you think about all of the study into artificial intelligence that is happening as we speak.

The special effects in this film are revolutionary, which I suppose is why Kubrick won an Oscar for them. It's a pity he never saw a Best Director Academy Award, but any Oscar is better than none, I suppose. The score is powerful and appropriately placed and unforgettable. "2001: A Space Odyssey" features 10 or more of those scenes you just never forget -- scenes that stick with you long after the credits have rolled. I have had the privilege to talk to people who saw this film when it was first released in theatres and people just didn't know what to make of it. They'd never seen anything like it before. The more and more they thought about it and the more and more they analyzed it -- long after the film had left theatres -- the more and more they came to the realization that "2001: A Space Odyssey" was a masterpiece. I would tend to agree.

Edd #1: Edd - added 09/26/2007, 02:15 PM
Each hour of this great film holds some sort of... it's unexplainable. It's like 4 movies in one. Each their own respective masterpieces of genre cinema. 10/10
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/26/2007, 05:08 PM
This is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. I immediately went out and bought the soundtrack, because it is breathtaking. Any movie that has 40 minutes of nothing but music will have to be pretty damn good visually. This movie went far beyond "pretty damn good" 10/10
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