2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★

This marks the end of the my Kubrick Virginity. And indeed, if you are reading this, I have not yet watched The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon - the list goes on and on. Some will call me an "unworthy" cinephile, others will express their jealousy as 2001 has evidently rendered an experience they want to relive anew with their previous memory of it erased entirely.
Be it was it may, what I can say is my unswayed opinion about a film that has been deemed a great pioneer of cinema. A pioneer in many regards I had to acknowledge during this rather lengthy adventure through space and time. Kubrick's vision and what he ultimately put into effect has been stuck on my mind ever since the chapter The Dawn of Man had ended. The film follows up with an enormous leap in time that truly characterizes its merits and brings the perplexing opening into context.
2001: A Space Odyssey is about man.
From the moment we seized the utilization of tools, demonstrated in the The Dawn of Man , Kubrick essentially tells a story spanning over millions of years and generations with a technique so simplistic it is mind-boggling. A cut. Where we are and what has happened appears so intuitive, because he provided us the very root. Relinquishing the opening would not have depicted our progression and advancement over the course of time so pronounced and striking; we would have taken everything for granted, cherishing another trip into space without bearing in mind the road that has been tramped on to get to the this point. This, however, is by far not the only aspect Kubrick touches on with his first chapter. The mysterious black obelisk invokes the primal instincts in form of fear and inquisitiveness in the beginning, but a similar observation sees this "phenomenon" reoccur wherein progressed descendants convey an identical reaction. The unknown attracts us and space is filled to the brim with it! Kubrick delves further into this territory in the last section which comprises elements of space horror, rendering a Lovecraftian nightmare, albeit less terrifying.
Prior to the most accurate manifestation of a "space odyssey" in the film, a theme - probably disregarded by many back then and considered impossible - gets its fair share as well, and that in 1968.
Man vs Computer, or should I say, Man vs Man, because it boils down to the later confrontation persistently. Whether it is a ruthless, primitive fight for resources or the question of who gets to control a spaceship; authority and dominance have consistently been fundamental to us. Computers are man-made; needless to say, they are going to exude familiar demeanour and behaviour, including flaws in decision making and apathy. Thus, HAL is treated like a human character which becomes manifest in the POV shots, the camera coverage during conversations and the close ups. The death of the hibernating crew members in which HAL allegedly malfunctions, encompasses shots used in an "ordinary" murder scene that emphasize his human resemblance. In fact, this is my most favourite scene in 2001 that instilled genuine terror in me and proved to be a surprising diversion to the film's patient meanderings.

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