2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

"You filthy old soomka!" - Steve G Does Kubrick

Yeah, ok. It's amazing.

But just to annoy Jonnie White, I'm going to pretend I watched a 240px Betamax upload of it from YouTube. On my phone. Ssh!

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In all seriousness though, I feel like I should defend myself a little bit here. It must seem like a strange thing to say considering that I'm giving this 5 stars and considering that I am echoing an opinion on this film that is shared by most of the people that have ever watched it.

But for many years I held the view that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a colossal bore. One of the very best things about joining Letterboxd has been reading opinions on films that I have not understood the majority of people holding an opposing view to me of. This film has been one of the main examples on that front, perhaps mostly due to Lise's brilliant Hal's Birthday gathering, one of the very best ideas that anyone has ever had on this site.

It allowed me to read lots of opinions on this film and actually understand where people were coming from here. I know I could easily have read critics' opinions on it but I wanted to read some newer thoughts on it. Not to change my mind or to give me reasons why I'm wrong. Because I wasn't wrong that first time round. I did find it a colossal bore and it did not interest me one iota.

I wanted to read them just to try and fully understand what people saw in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I wouldn't do this for just any film, you understand. But I figure for some things you should make the extra effort. After all, this is a Stanley Kubrick film and in The Shining, Paths Of Glory, Dr. Strangelove and The Killing he has made at least four of the very best films I've ever seen. It could be more by the time I've got round to watching all of his films in this retrospective of his work.

What I quickly realised is that I didn't recognise this film that many people respected, loved and were mesmerised by in the film that I saw. I saw it when I was 17. It was on after 11:30pm one night after a show called The Word. Anyone who has ever seen The Word will tell you that you could not have scheduled this film any worse if you tried. Putting The Exorcist on after In The Night Garden would be a better fit than this.

So after spending an hour watching various idiots eating their own pubic hair in a sandwich and Mark Lamarr disdainfully interviewing some crap celebrities, was it perhaps the right time to be watching a highly ambiguous space epic that was going to clock in at over 3 hours long once Channel 4 had added in lots of adverts? Probably not. I'm fairly sure I must have fallen asleep at some point as well.

It wasn't an ideal viewing and it was stupid of me to retain an opinion of this film from a viewing under those circumstances. But that's one of the great things about opinions - the ability to reform them. In the case of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I couldn't be happier at reforming my opinion. See you on January 12th!

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