Tucker Hazell’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie puzzles me. By all facts beforehand, I really should have loved this film, its a pure classic, highly rated by friends, has a director who's made some of the most unique and interesting movies I've ever seen, and hell- I just love science fiction. I read the book a few years ago and loved it, especially the in-depth look you get at the characters (including HAL) aboard the Discovery One. But in all honesty you get basically none of that when watching this movie. The characters are as bland as one can get, and just act as conduits to move the story to its unsatisfying and confusing ending. HAL-9000 is one of the best aspects of this movie, from his amazing voice to scheming plans, but unfortunately he gets majorly underplayed. He's the only one who feels important or interesting in the movie, but he doesn't get enough dialogue/ screen time to become the complex character he should be. This film is also unnecessarily long- nearly 3 hours- but only because of the insane amount of time just looking at something floating in space while listening to either silence or droning ambience. Not every movie needs to be fast paced, don't get me wrong, but this is seriously crawling to the point where it feels like you're watching an animated computer wallpaper. I will give credit where credit is due though- this movie is BEAUTIFUL. The set design may be some of the best I've ever seen, the costumes are great, the special effects are exquisite even by todays standards, and the sound design is amazing too. Of course you also get that incredible theme song as well. Outside of the physical things though, I was terribly disappointed. This movie has nearly no dialogue, and even when there are conversations, they're so full of pauses that it's difficult to remain interested- especially when almost no context is given to anything. The acts are also separated awkwardly- it doesn't flow at all- mostly due to the lack of context as I mentioned. To be completely honest, I think I was just expecting a more character driven narrative. My expectations were set high after watching the complex, curious and fascinating world of A Clockwork Orange, but 2001 just feels empty. Beautiful (and worth the watch just for visuals alone), but terribly, terribly empty.