2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

I never told myself I would be ready to write analytically about 2001: A Space Odyssey on the internet, because I knew that would never be the case. To cover the academic research paper's worth of points that I wanted to make before and still want to make prior to having seen it again, frankly, there just aren't enough hours in the day. This film's reputation precedes it and there really is nothing significant that I can add to the discourse at this point. What I will bring myself is a personal summation of my experience with the film, and is as follows:

Today, I saw the IMAX re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This particular occasion is 1) the first time I've seen the film in its entirety since some time in high school, 2) the first time I've the whole film in a single sitting, and 3) the first time I've seen it in theaters. I've frequently seen bits and pieces from it, infrequently read excerpts on it, and generally retained a firm understanding of its greatness and why it's considered as universally great as it is. I have proof through it's inspiration on countless numbers of creative projects since it's release of it's landmark direction, cinematography, editing, production design, sound design, use of music, and experimental narrative storytelling. While not necessarily an active participant in it, I'm aware of the constantly evolving debate around its symbolic and interpretive purpose and merit. For certain scenes and narrative devices, I've formed interpretations of my own, just as I have accepted the fact that there are certain scenes which I don't understand well enough to generalize their potential extra-narrative significance and probably never will. I believe that the Monolith symbolizes any knowledge which is transformative on a level that affects entire populations rather than individuals, and that it's used by the film in service of a pacifist message that the usage of this knowledge to invent new ways of destroying each other (as seen by the onset of violence between the primordial humans in the film's opening scenes) will result in all life, not just humanity, being destroyed as well, as can be seen in the barren, miscolored landscapes in the famous "Star Gate" montage. I find this message to be sensible and relevant within the context of the Cold War period during which the film was released, and the universality of this concept is why the film needed to be science-fiction. I do not believe that it could have worked as well under literally any circumstances. As far as I am concerned, this film is perfect. I felt every intended emotion at its intended cue, specific examples of which are far too many to list in a timely and efficient manner, and was left with an overwhelming urge to do it again once it was over.

2001: A Space Odyssey will continue to accrue similar acclaim in the future, because it deserves it.

10 / 10 - Nigh Flawless

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