Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Finally, I have seen what is claimed to be Stanley Kubrick's magnum opus, his best film ever. He is known to be one of the greatest directors of all time, which I cannot deny. His trademark style and visuals are beyond unique and something that cannot be replicated. Kubrick is one of kind, a pioneer and trailblazer who has paved the way for so many filmmakers working right now, and to come.
First off, I barely have a clue what was going on, story-wise in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is easy to see that the film is about evolution, with the monolith evolving monkeys into humans, and the humans searching for the next monolith to seek the next stage in the evolution process. But, I really need to see this again, probably multiple times to actually consider it to be one of my favorite films of all time. But the reason why I like it so much, is because it is not just a film. It is an experience and shows what cinema and film can really do at it's maximum.
One of the aspects of films that are necessary is authenticity. If the film feels authentic and real within its own world that has been created, the more I can feel for the characters and everything that is happening to them. While on the topic of characters, the chilling performance by Douglas Rain as the brilliant super-computer, HAL 9000, is nothing short of amazing. This film has to be one of the most puzzling things I have had the pleasure of viewing. It really is a "hate it or love it" film. You can either see it as a boring, aimless film or as a interesting experience that is so beautiful and something that is needed to be seen.
It is unbelievable how Kubrick can construct and deliver such a film that still holds up technically and visually. The way he works the camera is out of this world. 2001: A Space Odyssey had a budget of about 10.5 million dollars and looks better than most films released with big budgets! Yeah, I'm looking at you, John Carter. The film is filled with long scenes with ballet and orchestra music, which has beautiful and speechless visuals. I envy those who have had the chance to see this in the theater, where this film should be watched, just for the looks alone.
Some shots and scenes may feel dragged out from time to time, but every one of them show the grand scope and spectacle in which Kubrick gives us perfectly. 2001: A Space Odyssey is something really special. It's just beyond fascinating and simply brilliant. It balances its style and substance so well. The set design is top-notch and the film blends science, technology, and philosophy together very well, making this a masterpiece that has been ground-breaking ever since its initial release.