Thursday, April 5, 2012

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Controversial but Beautiful

2001: A Space Odyssey
I would assume most of the people either love or hate Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. To be honest, I probably gravitate more towards the latter group although I actually do not hate any movie. For me, 2011 is vague, sometimes boring, unfocused and almost plotless. Yet, I can appreciate its beauty. The film is visually stunning and its visual effects have been quite ahead of its time. I can also guess (probably right) some of the ideas Kubrick has wanted to present and I do not have a problem with them but it is simply not my type of storytelling. Nevertheless, it's a movie everyone who loves cinema should see despite the risk of not liking it.

The story of 2001: A Space Odyssey revolves around mysterious, extraterrestrial artifacts having to do something with mankind's evolution. The movie starts in prehistoric times hinting at artifact's merits for the evolution of apes. It later lands us on the moon where another artifact is discovered and finally, sends us on a journey through space beyond everything humanity has ever known. A "defective" computer is also on that journey and ironically, its existence is arguably the most human-like presence in the movie.

As mentioned above, 2001: A Space Odyssey is sometimes boring. This could be attributed to an effort of prolonging the beautiful sequences but if you expect more than just a beauty from these scenes, chances are high you will get weary of them. The movie lacks a strong focus and the alien artifacts are the only objects that bind the narrative together. The ending is overly open to interpretations and while there are people referring to this fact as something good, actually, it hugely depends on everyone's particular preference and perception.

In spite of its flaws and my shortage of love for the movie, here are the reasons why everyone who adores cinema should see it. To start with, it's a Stanley Kubrick film. This alone is always a good reason to see one of his movies. Kubrick is one of the greatest directors of the last century and you will never be able to see too many of his films cause he simply has not created lots of them. As usual Kubrick's directing is superb. Despite being made in the 60s A Space Odyssey could easily leave almost any other cinematic effort of the 20th century behind. It is an enchanting visual experience every movie fan should go through. Finally, HAL 9000 computer's attitude and doings are something you will rarely see in a (sci-fi) film. Believe me, you don't want to miss an acquaintance with HAL.

2001: A Space Odyssey is a controversial movie and it is easy to see where both its lovers and haters draw their arguments from. The movie is beautiful and thought provoking. It's not easily accessible and requires a certain mood for watching. It's long and not rich of events. It's a feast for the eyes but alienated. There is no guarantee which group of people you will fall into after experiencing the film but it's worth seeing in either case. If nothing more, at least you'll have something to compare Star Wars' visual effects with.


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