2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★½

I've had this movie on Blu-Ray for maybe 4 years now and I've always been worried to watch it because it seemed like something I had to be in "the right mood" for. When a friend told me it was playing at the Arclight in 70mm, I said "fuck the mood" and bought myself a ticket, presuming that a 70mm theater screening is the best way to see this thing.

Honestly? I still don't know if that's true. It felt like a huge experience. But this is the second time I've seen a 70mm movie in theaters (the first time being The Hateful Eight) and both times I came away thinking: it doesn't really look better to me. And with 2001 I came away also thinking:

a) I don't know what that ending meant.
b) Wait, did I know what that beginning meant either?
c) Holy shit, is it supposed to be that loud?
d) I hate that every important classic film is also so fucking slow.
e) Alright, now that I think about it, I might be a little confused on the middle part too.

Despite all of that, I also thought– Fuck. Stanley Kubrick is a genius.

The way he wants to show without telling whenever he can, the way he takes the time to set every scene and let the story come out of it instead of slapping together some expository scenes, the way he wants to depict technology as futuristic by function instead of by design (which goes a long way in making the design seem smart instead of dated)– it's all outstanding. And grand. Even as I tried to repeatedly figure out what's so different/special about a 70mm screening, I could see and feel how grand it was.

It was also very funny to me how small the "story" of the movie (as people discuss it, I guess) compared to the runtime. It feels like 1 hour of this is the actual story, and the other 101 minutes are meant to tell you about the world. Maybe not! We'll see if that's actually true when I read the Wikipedia and one (1) article about this movie, then declare myself a 2001 genius.

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