2001: A Space Odyssey

Aaaaand I'm back. Sort of. I suppose. For those wondering why I haven't watched / reviewed anything in the past three weeks or so (unless you count this), I've been really busy with my study lately and there were too many things I had to do to count (last monday alone I had 4 different deadlines). Luckily, I have some more free time for the next week or two to watch some films, old and new.

To me, rating 2001: A Space Odyssey is like rating an abstract but elaborate painting; simply put, I can't and won't do it. My appreciation for it (which is high) and my experience with it (which is mostly indifferent / slightly bored) clash in such a way that giving it a rating feels like either a disservice to the film or to myself, no matter how high / low that rating is.

The special effects are amazing. I'm just going to say it: this has probably my favorite practical effects of any film ever made. I've praised Douglas Trumbull in the past for his work in Star Trek: The Motion Picture - the many similarities between that film and 2001 are even more apparent to me now, but I digress - and Blade Runner, but this is easily his best work. I highly doubt the best CGI can replicate these effects, you literally feel like you're watching real ships float around in space. These effects and thus this film have a timeless quality to it that you probably won't find in (sci-fi) films released in that time period. 2001 really was ahead of its time.

But what do I get out of the film? Very little. There are many times when I think "yes, we get it, move on". Prime examples being the trip to the moon (which takes roughly 8 minutes) and the first 15 minutes of the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite segment. Was it really necessary for these segments to be so long? I know it's part of the 'experience' and whatnot, but I don't see why these scenes have to be that long. I guess it harks back to my preference of substance over style; not to say that 2001 doesn't have any substance, but I don't think anyone would disagree that it's definitely more driven by its style than its substance.

So in conclusion: mixed feelings. In technical terms, it's brilliantly put together and hardly dated at all, but in terms of enjoyment, I gazed off a few times. As for people responding with that I don't get it, well...yeah, I won't deny that. I'm not sure what the monolith stands for (Wisdom? God? A Cinema Screen?) I don't know what the space fetus is all about, I don't know how the first 20 minutes connect to the rest of the film. But even if I did know, I don't think that would change my opinion on it. It's not a bad film, not at all, and I completely understand its lasting appeal; it just doesn't work for me, I suppose.

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