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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

 
 

Space Oddity

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

During a mission to the moon a black obelisk is uncovered and suddenly it becomes of high importance to find out not only what it is but also where it comes from and if possible who made it. So a team of astronauts along with a high tech computer known as HAL 9000 are sent to investigate.

I think it is in "Bambi" where on of the characters say "if you can't say anything nice don't say nothing at all", so I had better say bye now and review over. Okay it is not that bad but I do not think "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a great movie, certainly not a classic and most definitely not for everyone. In fact I think that "2001: A Space Odyssey" is overrated. But then "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a Stanley Kubrick movie and one thing I have learned is that Kubrick is definitely not to everyone's taste and whilst there are many who proclaim him as a cinematic genius there are just as many who will say he was overrated, they just don't say it as loud as those who proclaim his genius.

Now I have watched "2001: A Space Odyssey" three times, well in truth twice as the first time I aborted the mission because everything about it was annoying me. That time I was too young for the movie and the most recent viewing was a 40 something and still I found it mind numbingly boring to the point I swear Kubrick was seeing how far audiences will go to sound cool by praising what is art rather than entertainment. I say this purely because understanding "2001: A Space Odyssey", making sense of what is going on is not easy and alludes many people because Kubrick appears to go out of his way to make the movie about anything other than the story.

So to put it simply from a storyline point of view "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a no go for me. But visually it is a love hate situation as you have to say considering when it was made it is visually spectacular and I am sure many of the camera tricks to pull of the look of having no gravity would have wowed audiences back in the 60s. But for me Kubrick takes it all too far and "2001: A Space Odyssey" becomes laborious because he dwells on the visuals far too often and the movie becomes painfully slow with what come across at "look at me" scenes which have no purpose other than to show off what Kubrick and his crew had constructed.

But there is something very important about "2001: A Space Odyssey" which needs to be said and it is a lesson to other film makers. Firstly he delivered a movie at the perfect time with the space race heating up. But he also created interest by keeping everyone out of the loop so no one knew what he was doing other than making a movie like no one had seen before. It guaranteed interest on release and in fairness making some visually spectacular but not pure entertainment would guarantee people paying to see it out of simple curiosity.

What this all boils down to is that as a technical exercise "2001: A Space Odyssey" is impressive the sheer strength of the visuals and the sets makes it worth seeing. But from the pacing through to the almost no interest in telling a storyline "2001: A Space Odyssey" is incredibly hard work to the point that for all those great visuals it becomes unwatchable.

SPOILER ALERT: I believe anyone who is looking to watch "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the first time should do so unclouded by what others think the movie is really about but I have read various explanations as to what "2001: A Space Odyssey" is about. For me the one I kind of agree with the most is that "2001: A Space Odyssey" is about the astronauts being made robot like through the boredom of space. And what Kubrick was attempting to achieve was for the audience to feel what the astronauts did which if that is true he succeeded as it bored me senseless.

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