Hayden Welch’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it.”
As the lights fade and the orchestra emerges I can feel my heart pound in my chest as I see a birth on screen; the birth of mankind as the sun eclipses over our Earth.
Stanley Kubrick has crafted a genuine piece of artistry that is lightyears ahead of its time in every way. It’s a technical and thematic marvel. The way humanity is examined, or more accurately, critiqued, through the eyes of our primal ancestors, a malicious supercomputer and a man was so compelling. 2001: A Space Odyssey ponders a very interesting philosophy: what does it take to be truly human? Our protagonist is alone in the desolate void of space; could this be a reflection of humanities insignificance in the grand scheme of time? Maybe. I always had many different interpretations of the final scene, however, the interview in which Kubrick explains the ending has somewhat tarnished my imagination. Though I am happy to report I was very close to the truth in my prediction.
2001: A Space Odyssey is an absolutely gorgeous film in every sense of the word. In our first chapter the colors are vibrant and breathtaking, while in the other acts it’s more drab aside from aspects like HAL 9000 or David Bowman’s spacesuit; I adore this little touch. Then, in the last half hour the tables are completely turned as the film puts you in a hypnotic trance of which you’ll never recover.
Stanley Kubrick‘s direction has always been admirable and 2001: A Space Odyssey is no exception. Kubrick perfectly manipulates the camera and actors to make you feel like you too are floating with the characters. The direction is absolutely flawless, this is my third go-around and I haven’t noticed an out of place or poorly done shot.
It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick is a big fan of classical music and nowhere is it more apparent than in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon and A Clockwork Orange. The haunting vocals over the plucking strings as the monolith enters the frame will always be unnerving. The sweeping opening shot is paired perfectly with Also sprach Zarathustra.
While the debate of the line between getting a good performance and abuse prevails Stanley Kubrick always got fantastic from his performers. Keir Dullea’s increasing paranoia is shown with so little words is a very effective manner. Douglas Rain’s voice work on HAL 9000 is brutally intimidating.
Stanley Kubrick calculated that it would take one person 13 years to hand draw and paint all the mattes needed to insert the assorted spacecraft into the starry backgrounds. Kubrick hired 12 other people, and did the job in one year.