2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★

"Well, I don't think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error."

It must be human error on my part because I really just don't get this film. I know there are layers of symbolism and profound statements throughout, but it all culminates in a lackluster and relatively boring movie for me.

I first saw this film about seven years ago. It remains my most disappointing first viewing of a film ever. I didn't know anything about the plot, but I knew that this was one of the supposed cinematic masterpieces that anybody even remotely interested in film had to see. So I was excited for that first watch. This was back in the very early days of Netflix streaming when you still needed a disc to access it on your PS3. 2001: A Space Odyssey was my first attempt at streaming. When I first started the film, I thought something was wrong with the image. I spent several minutes messing around with PS3 remote trying to fix it, only to realize it was intentionally solely audio. Later on in the movie, the stream froze (as was often the case back then). I sat there, staring at a frozen screen for nearly five minutes before I realized it wasn't an intentional part of the movie. That is how dull this film was to me.

It has been several years now, so I felt it was time to give this film another shot. Having just recently watched The Planet of the Apes franchise and Moon, it seemed like the right time. I was wrong. I still don't understand this film at all. Sure, I can pick up on the basic themes, but the overwhelming praise this film gets utterly baffles me. I like the apes (especially the goofy over-the-top screamer). I also like HAL and the storyline that involves him. The movie looks great and has some really iconic music, but that's where my praise ends. I wish I liked sci-fi more; maybe then I could appreciate it in abstract form.