2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

It had been some years since I’d last seen Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film I’ve long admired as a technical achievement but have never been able to fully commit to a 5-star rating due to it always coming off a little too slow and cold/ambiguous for me. It remained stuck at 4.5 stars: the most perfect boring film ever made.

All of that changed, thanks to the restored 70mm IMAX screening I was able to attend at the Franklin Institute last night. On the big(gest) screen, Kubrick’s masterpiece shines as exactly that: a work of such extreme care and awe-inspiring detail. The intricacy in which Kubrick and his team designed every set piece and costume is simply outstanding, and it is never more noticeable than in the IMAX format. You can see every IBM, Bell, and GE logo on each piece of future technology; heck, you can even read all of the instructions for the anti-gravity toilet (I wish I could’ve paused)!

Even for a late night screening, I wasn’t bored in the slightest this time through, and found myself drawn in by Kubrick’s masterful visuals and expert use of sound (and silence). I’m not sure there’s another film (save, perhaps, Fantasia) that has so expertly married its music to its visuals. 

The narrative is still slight, but the themes and interpretations of Kubrick’s vision are so grand that it doesn’t really matter. As I’ve gotten older, plot has started to mean less and less to me in films, and the raise in score here is further evidence of that. A film that truly screams to be appreciated in the theater, 2001: A Space Odyssey is an all-time classic.

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