Movie Review: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey- Stanley Kubrick- 1968

Score: 3/4

Patience.  If you don’t have any, then 2001 isn’t for you.  In fact, I could see many who lack patience giving up in the first 15 minutes.  To be fair, watching the monkeys in the beginning, I thought to myself, “what the heck is this?”  Going into the film, I knew that it was considered one of the more polarizing films of all time.  Some thinking it was a masterpiece, while others thinking it was a bore.  I’m somewhere in between, but I can see arguments made by both sides.

Let’s start with the good.  This movie is a visual masterpiece.  Kubrick, much like in A Clockwork Orange, excels in bringing us into a whole different world.  Movies just don’t look like this anymore.  The imagination and talent of Kubrick is on full display here.  The score is outstanding and if you will recognize it immediately and say “wow it’s from this movie!”  Add on the outstanding camera angles and shots and the whole film achieves technical greatness.

Now, some of the complaints that will come in will likely involve the pace of the movie.  It is slow.  There are long stretches where there is no dialogue.  Kubrick tells the story through his visuals and sounds.  And sometimes without sound too.    Sometimes this is riveting, while at other times it is boring.  I think with crisper editing, this movie could have been chopped down about 10-15 minutes and would’ve been a meaner and leaner motion picture.

As far as story, there are four distinct acts.  The dawn of man, the moon, the mission to Jupiter, and Jupiter and beyond.  I found the 2nd and 3rd acts to be the best, especially the introduction to HAL.  The final act will no doubt raise some questions and possibly disappoint depending on your perspective.

I was always hesitant to watch this movie because Science Fiction is one of my least favorite genres, but for any true fan of film, 2001 cannot be missed.

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