Though it fails as drama, Stanley Kubrick's venture succeeds as dazzling visual art.
2001 lingers on the mind like a tall, black riddle: Where are the new bones, the new tools, that will take us higher? Do we even deserve them?
| Original Score: 5/5
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is some sort of great film, and an unforgettable endeavor. Technically and imaginatively, what he put into it is staggering.
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.
It was a freshening attitude then, though its long-term effects haven't been all to the good.
For all the essential coldness of Kubrick's vision, it demands attention as superior sci-fi, simply because it's more concerned with ideas than with Boy's Own-style pyrotechnics.
It is an extraordinary, obsessive, beautiful work of art.
| Original Score: 4/4
Yup, you guessed it -- a religious experience.
Now, seen in the actual 2001, it's less a visionary masterpiece than a crackpot Looney Tune, pretentious, abysmally slow, amateurishly acted and, above all, wrong.
You can watch 2001 as a visual journey with nary a thought for what's under the surface or you can plunge into this vortex of interpretations. The great thing about 2001 is that either approach works fine. That's why it endures.
2001 compares with, but does not best, previous efforts at science fiction.
The film creates its effects essentially out of visuals and music. It is meditative. It does not cater to us, but wants to inspire us, enlarge us.
The movie is so completely absorbed in its own problems, its use of color and space, its fanatical devotion to science-fiction detail, that its is somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring.
A cold, majestic motion picture, a movie that seeks to remind us of the vastness of space and our relatively insignificant place in it.
I assumed that this was what all movies ought to be: treasures for moral and aesthetic contemplation that did not provide all their answers on first contact.