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2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

If you don't like 2001: A Space Odyssey that is your right. It has always been liked though. It earned an enormous amount at the box office in 1968 when it was released and has always been massively popular. This is from the common viewer's perspective and not something limited to critics and "art house snobs" if you believe such a group exists. Now, the fact that it can be studied and discussed in film classes throughout the world just adds to its accessability to "everyone". Once again, I realize that not everyone likes it but there is no film which everyone likes.

I have my own interpretations of what happens in the film, and I believe many others do too. It's not that we know everything; it's just that we know enough to understand what seems to be the intended meaning of the overall film. It doesn't seem that difficult to grasp what's happening since it's all told chronologically and the evolution of Man seems directly related to the Monolith appearances. Now, who's responsible for the Monoliths and what the ultimate act of evolution (if any) is, that's open to interpretation and what makes the film complex and personal. Within the film are all kinds of other messages, including a mistrust of technology and governments and the fact that a single human being seems to be more important than all the technology in the world, even if you believe that human being to be incredibly boring.

I'm not sure what else to say. Kubrick was always a perfectionist and he certainly is here. I have watched the film dozens of times dating back to seeing it at the theatre in 1970. I'll admit to not "getting it" the first time when I was 14, but I knew I was watching something which was spectacular and unlike any thing I had ever seen, so it made watching it a compulsive experience. I certainly do think that movie audiences of the late '60s/early '70s had some awesome movies to watch and didn't consider themselves any more pretentious than you consider yourself. If people want to call Kubrick pretentious, go ahead, but trying to make a super realistic film in the context of a visionary sci-fi plot is something nobody had ever done before. The audiences of both 1968 and 2021 still enjoy the ride, at least for the most part.