2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

You know, I've always wanted to review this film, but now that I'm sitting here after only my second viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I can't really figure out what to say. I only saw it for the first time a little over a year ago, and I was immediately enamored with it. As a big sci-fi fan, 2001 seemed like a big oversight in my film-watching life, so I felt that needed to be rectified as soon as possible. It's really the ultimate sci-fi film, a monumental achievement in cinema and it's easy to see why it's so beloved (and polarizing).

A funny thing I noticed is that, both times I've sat down to watch the movie, I felt slightly intimidated by it. It's such an immense film within the realm of cinema, frequently regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time, and one of such epic length and scope, that, just like that iconic monolith, it inspires both a sense of fear and awe. It's primarily a visual film, with very sparse dialogue, so it feels more like an experience than anything else. And it's a hell of an experience. There's nothing quite like 2001, it's such a hypnotic and beautiful film that you never want to look away. Of course, part of that is due to the absolutely breathtaking and lush cinematography, with some of the most gorgeously framed shots I've ever seen. And not just that, but the pioneering special effects totally suck you into Kubrick's world, and almost 50 years on, they hold up remarkably well. So well, in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find better looking effects even today. The whole movie has a real timeless feel to it, not at all like a movie made in 1968. It was supremely ahead of its time.

Is it possible to even find issues with the film? Well, that depends. The pacing of the film is...deliberate. To put it bluntly, it's got molasses-like pacing at times. It's easy to see how that can be infuriating to some, hell, even I sometimes wish it'd move a little faster, but I'd never classify the movie as boring. It takes its time, letting its beauty wash over you. If that can be considered a "flaw", so be it. The film can also feel somewhat cold and clinical, but I'd chalk that up more to just being Kubrick's style. It might take some getting used to, but it's well worth it.

The movie was purposely left ambiguous, free to be interpreted however you see fit. I myself don't really have an interpretation for that famous final act, to me it's all a messy blur. But it's a beautiful messy blur, and that's what I love about it. Whether the film was ever supposed to make any sense or whether I'm just not getting it (or am too lazy to get it, which is probably the truth), the fact is that even taken at face value, it's still one of the finest films of all time.

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