Critic Review - Chicago Reader

The film's projections of the cold war and antiquated product placements may look quaint now, but the poetry is as hard-edged and full of wonder as ever.

May 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic


Rodney Grant

Rodney Grant

This film is is why when told a movie is a classic and one of the "greatest films of all time", you should watch it and decide for yourself, because you could be in for a surprise. The surprise is it SUCKS on so many levels, but first I have to speak on the one aspect of this movie that is truly innovative and for its time incredible. Its the special effects and technology shown. Its no surprise it won an academy award for its use. Yet apart from this the film has many flaws. Such as it's completely forgoes any attempt to explain any of its plots or sub plots in a maddening sequence of prehistory with humanoid apes and a black "monolith" and a bone. Kubrick FAILS to give his story any of the back story or any story about what has/is or will be going on. The novel "written by A C Clark" does vibrantly and completely. This weakness to the movie makes it a glaring example of artistic style devoid of plot/character substance. So it slowly meanders its way from one unexplained seemingly unfinished scene to a completely different unexplained possibly unrelated incomplete scene. Not to mention a whole lot of worthless sounds and acid trip images. Bringing me to the climax or should I say cop out ending that has a character you have no connection with due to poor acting and dialogue transported to a seemingly different movie as an old man dying then again without any words or explanation is turned into a "space fetus" fade to black.. For all the Film critics that praise meaningless style over substance and story.I recommend a film for them its called Valhalla Rising. It too had poor story transitions and bad acting with little dialogue.

Dec 20 - 06:58 AM

Sean D.

Sean D

I think you have some valid criticisms there. But I disagree.
I think there is a story in '2001,' the story of evolution and humanity's dependence of technology. It starts with the dawn of man, figuring out how to use primitive tools, fast forwards a few thousands years to when humanity discovers another 'monolith' (signifying the next step in evolution), and Dave's evolution into a being beyond humanity (The Star Child). At the same time, we see how humaninty becomes more and more dependent on technology and has advanced it so far, that technology has taken on a consciousness of it's own. The movie, and the novel I am sure, is very prophetic in that regard.
Also, I think the middle section about prior to the Jupiter mission does give some back story to the objective of the mission.
I have not read the novel, but, as you say, I am sure that it is far more detailed than the movie. However, I would argue that if the film went into as much detail as the novel, it would be a five-hour movie.

But you are right, see it for yourself and judge it for yourself. It is one of those movies people either dislike, or they love it.

Jan 28 - 01:08 PM

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile