Eclectic Cinephile’s review published on Letterboxd:
2001: A Space Odyssey, for all its worth, is neither a plot-centered nor character-centric film. Sure, it has plot and character, but these two are merely vehicles in the telling of a grand epic tale ranging from the prehistoric to the modern to the super-modern.
In short, my personal experience with the film was this: Yes, it did bore me in certain areas, and i sometimes did miss some of the rich details in this film. But still I could follow through the story, with the help of Tim Dirks's excellent and in-depth analysis. I found this a thoughtful, slow-paced and super-realistic science fiction masterpiece that is a true epic, punctuated by many silent moments, beautiful cinematic visuals, and the skillful direction of Stanley Kubrick.
I didn't see this film in a theater or even in a home theater (I probably will do both in my lifetime) but rather on a mere iPad. Still, I got the general point of this film and could still be impressed by the masterful special effects and the beautiful story being told.
The acting is brilliant and the cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth is vividly beautiful and luscious, but ultimately the reason I loved this film is because it told a complex and deep story by taking its time, not rushing but rather slowly developing all the detail and all that grand storytelling with the beautiful power of 65mm to tell it.
The script by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick is majestic and grand with feeling excessive, as it spans throughout long periods of history and uses a seemingly simple story (finding out about an artificial object) to tell a deeper tale of greatness. The acting of Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman is brilliant and superb, capturing tension and awe; the other actors are brilliant in their roles too, but the other noteworthy performance is Douglas Rain's menacing voice as HAL 9000, whose character remains one of cinema's best villains. Rain manages to successfully create villainy without resorting to over-the-top vocals but rather uses an emotionless and artificial voice to capture that. And the skillful inclusion of different pieces of music into the film is wondrous, using classical and strange-sounding music (from such masterpieces as "The Blue Danube," "Gayane," "Atmosphères," and "Also sprach Zarathustra") to capture the visual experience further. All the music pieces are themselves brilliant, and they feel fitting for the wondrous tale that is 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Stanley Kubrick's magnum opus—his masterpiece—did live up to the hype. I probably didn't get the same effect as I would have had I seen it in a 70mm-equipped cinema or a home theater with the Blu-ray Disc of the film, but I still think it deserves its high reputation. It is a masterful science fiction film and a true epic masterpiece.
I believe this will deserve re-visits and repeat viewings, and I am sure that this beautiful film will grow on me as time goes by.