2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey follows two astronauts as they attempt to investigate a bizarre artifact with possible interstellar origins, all while dealing with the effects of space travel on the human psyche, and the AI HAL 9000, designed to aid them in their journey, which may have sinister intentions.
This movie has been analysed over and over again from many different perspectives. Infinite people could analyze it, each through different lenses, and neither of them would be incorrect. 2001: A Space Odyssey is designed to be interpreted. If you don’t want to think while watching movies, this is not going to be for you. It’s important to keep that in mind, as I will not be speaking for the people who took a higher meaning from it. After all, this is not an analysis, this is a critique.
That being said, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a very strange movie. Regarded as acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick’s most experimental film, large portions of the movie don’t make any sense, and could, arguably, be done without. The film has an intermission, for whatever reason. The strangeness is particularly evident in the beginning and the ending. For the first half hour, the film focuses on a group of apes as they go about their lives. The film’s theme music plays in the background. The last half hour, and this is a spoiler so if you don’t like spoilers skip to the next paragraph, is essentially a display of lights followed by a scene in an all-white room. Neither have anything to do with the rest of the movie, except for film analyzers who find meaning in them.
For the middle hour and thirty minutes, however, there is some plot, and a very good plot at that. We’re introduced to two astronauts in their journey across space, as they deal with AI HAL 9000, one of Kubrick’s many unsettling characters. HAL specifically is so unsettling because he’s close to being human, but isn’t. The dialogue between HAL and the two astronauts is ingenious, as HAL starts off sounding like a human being. But, after a while, the illusion is shattered, and we’re left remembering that HAL doesn’t have human emotions.
The music and production design is also incredible. Especially given that it was made in 1968, the film has some mind blowing shots. This is especially true of the landscape shots of the spaceship that are seen throughout the film. This movie was made a year before Apollo 11, but somehow contained shots in space. Also, while the ending makes very little sense, at least for some, there are plenty of incredible shots that are mind blowing given the time period in which it came out. The ending is an acid trip, and a massive one at that. It serves as great visual eye candy, all of the shots being interesting to look at, despite having no real reason for being there. The soundtrack is incredible, filled with wonderful and complex classical music, including the iconic Also Sprach Zarathrusta, which was used in other movies, primarily to satirize 2001.
If you enjoy film analysis, you’ll enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you don’t you won’t.
Amazing Science Fiction: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Acting - 9.7/109.7/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 10/1010/10
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