2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Watched as part of Lise's HAL's Birthday viewing session.

Started watching the film around 8:15pm EST. Wide awake and excited to see what is on many days my alltime favourite film (though on other days there are even different Kubrick films that could take that honour).

I'm in a reflective mood tonight. I've seen the film a dozen or so times but this is my first viewing on blu-ray (from the Kubrick boxset). I'm also watching it at a friend's place, via his massive projector while babysitting (I was called into action last minute as a favour, though the kids are asleep) adding to the unique viewing environment. I've seen the film on many different formats (in order: rental VHS, cable TV, owned VHS, owned DVD, on the big screen via a touring print, better quality owned DVD, and now blu-ray). This is obviously one of those films that I'll continue to seek out on any new format. No matter how many times I see it, I never get tired of it and am continuously in awe of Stanley Kubrick's beautiful work.
The prologue of blackness sets the mood perfectly, getting me exited for all that lies ahead.

A Stanley Kubrick Production. Greatness awaits.

The Dawn of Man opening is far and away one of my favourite film beginnings, setting the grandiose mood. Takes me back to my first time seeing the movie, renting it when I was about 11 years old when I lived in Montreal, from a great video store I went to almost every weekend with my folks. Bringing this film home, I didn't know entirely what to expect, other than a really good science fiction movie. I sure didn't expect to watch apes and evolution and a compete lack of outer space for the first 20 minutes of the movie. I can't imagine it beginning any differently now.

Little Vivian Kubrick as "Squirt" reminds me that I haven't watched her "The Making of The Shining" in a while. Must rectify that.
And so begins our journey in space. I remain enraptured by the sets and choreography of both the ships and the humans walking inside them.

At no point am I taken out of the picture to think about dated costumes, references or technologies. The film is equally timeless and a perfect encapsulation of its time. I'm sucked into the world presented by the film and love staying there for the entire running time.

Tension, unease and suspense run throughout the film. Love that kind of mood in a film. This was one of the first non-horror, non-Hitchcock films to give me that feeling (I'd later learn that Kubrick was a master at this).

Time for some plot and conflict as good ol' HAL 9000 begins to charm and then terrify.

Intermission time. Fresh bowl of popcorn and hot cup of coffee (a weird combo, I know) join me for the final hour.

Frank's silent death-fall through space chills me every time. Dave's Kubrick-stare is a stunning shot. But so is every other second of this film. The camera following Dave from different unnerving angels while he goes to kill HAL is a great short sequence. And the slow death of HAL is easily one of the best on-screen death scenes of all time. Both thrilling and sad.

Jupiter portion of the film begins and my excitement keeps mounting, knowing that so many great moments are ahead, visually and thematically. This film just does not let up at all. The chanting score while touring space is hypnotizing. And now Dave's decent through the infinite colourful abyss. Stunning. Could watch these visuals for hours. The tremendous craft behind this epic film lasts from start to finish.

Rebirth compete. As in my adoration for this film is reborn each time I see it. Another fantastic viewing. I really should try to watch it once a year or so (along with all my favourite films) as I always get so much out of it.

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