2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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I got a chance to see 2001: A Space Odyssey today for the first time ever and, man, what a trippy film to watch.  I am really not sure exactly what I saw.

2001 was being re-released in IMAX theaters for a week and I was anxious to see it.  I mean, I knew of the film, the way the AI Hal 9000 took control of the space station and would not follow instructions of the humans any longer, leading to some dramatic events, but that was just a part of the film.

Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s story The Sentinel, 2001: A Space Odyssey stretched what a film’s narrative structure was and how a film was presented.  This was a bold chance taken by Stanley Kubrick, the film’s director, but it reached a new level of filmmaking.  Not every scene worked, and honestly, there were some sections that were somewhat dull, but the originality at the time cannot be ignored.

It starts at the dawn of man and ends up going through the weirdest light show you can imagine.  It is all really about (I believe) the evolution of the human species, as only Stanley Kubrick can see it.  All this plus large black monoliths floating in space and buried in the earth.

There is no doubt that the special effects were amazing and WAY beyond its time.  The film is literally a visual odyssey through every imagined acid trip possible.  The music was awe-inspiring as well.  Even more than just the music, the use (or non-use as the case may be) of sound was as brilliant as any movie has ever done.  The sound kept the audience off guard and downright anxious.  This film is a technical masterpiece.  Art at its highest level.

Hal 9000 is a great villain as well, but it still was a difficult thing when he was basically begging Dave for his life near the end of the film.  That made Hal very human and allowed us to understand his motives for his evil actions.

2001: A Space Odyssey felt too long, but the beauty of what was seen and heard out weighed any nagging issues over the narrative structure.  There is a reason why this is seen as one of the all time classic films ever made.  If you get a chance to see the film on an IMAX screen, take advantage of it.  It is a beautiful event, even if parts of the film are a tad boring.

vintage

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