Luke Robertson’s review published on Letterboxd:
There is an entire scene in this that if somebody told me they based it off of a lava lamp I wouldn’t have any doubt in what they were telling me.
Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a visual and musical marvel. Half of the time I felt like Chandler “I have no idea what is going on but I am excited!”. The film is expertly crafted and every section is so different. It’s not a film that is necessarily easy to watch though. You need to be watching all of the time because it is not dialogue heavy. In some films you can look away or quickly answer the door because you can hear the dialogue. For the most part in this film you cannot do that. You need to be watching, even if sometimes you do feel like you have taken some kind of hallucinogen.
Honestly, I have attempted to watch this before. I reached the initial briefing and then turned it off, not for me. Well this time I did persevere and oh my was it worth it. That initial setup is paid off with some of the best visuals I have ever seen and an excellent “villain” in HAL9000. I use quotations because he only actually became hostile after the humans said they would shut him down. I felt much sadder when HAL eventually went down than I would have if harm had come to Dave. I think Kubrick wanted it to be that way. Since this we have seen the AI kind of villain seek the utter annihilation of humans etc. But we don’t really know HAL’s motives because we never actually see the full briefing. Of course he murders the professors in a pretty chilling sequence but I cannot label him a full on villain.
The film specialises in talking points too. From the iconic score to the excellent costumes. Everything comes together so beautifully and it really is like a painting. I’d love for this to get the remaster treatment and be brought up to 4K or beyond because it will look truly gorgeous.