← Back to Reviews

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick(screenplay), Arthur C. Clarke(novel &screenplay)
: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery

This film needs no introduction! Everyone has heard of it.
In 1963 master film maker Stanley Kubrick released his genius on a sci-fi short story by another genius, Arthur C. Clarke. The result took the next 4 years to complete but when this film hit the theaters in 1968, the movie industry would never be the same.

Initial audience reaction was less than stellar. At the film's premier over 200 people got up and left the theater during the movie... including Rock Hudson who's reported to have said, "Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?"...Rock might not have 'got it', and either did the critics who panned 2001...But the film became an instant cult hit with the younger generation, some who reportedly did drugs while viewing the movie for the ultimate space trip.

My thoughts: I hadn't seen this film in decades and I remembered nothing of it, so in a way it was like watching it for the first time. I did have the advantage that I had read the novel so I did know what was going on, in what could be otherwise a very confusing movie.

I was blown away by the sheer beauty of the film! The sets look so real, and this was done in the mid 1960's even before men had landed on the moon. The attention to detail is amazing as in the special effects. Maybe most impressive was: for the first time in sci fi movies a director had taken great effort to get the science right. As with all of Kubrick's films, the cinematography is skillfully done thus creating a visual triumph.

The soundtrack too which uses classical music, is the stuff of legends. The Blue Danube is used for the second act which takes place in Earth orbit and at the moon. This classic waltz by Johann Strauss sets the mood for the second act, with its lightness and beauty, thus making the vision of man's journey into space seem ethereal. This balances well with the darker soundtrack that comes towards the films climax....Then there's the famous 2001 theme song, which everyone knows.

The film does slow down in the third act, when the astronauts are on the way to Jupiter, the movie slows to a crawl. Each scene is done slowly and there's a good reason for that. Kubrick is giving us the feel for space, where task are tedious and time can seem to stand still.

This is truly one of the all time great achievements in movie making.