2001: A Space Odyssey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

2001: A Space Odyssey Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 5, 2011
Kubrick's meditation on humanity and the universe is an unparalleled masterpiece and one of the most visceral and important films in cinema history.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2015
Although many will find it more than difficult to interpret upon first viewing, it cannot be denied how much of a visionary tale it was for a 1960s film. 2001: A Space Odyssey revels in its audacious score, groundbreaking imagery and a notorious allegory that's ambiguous to the audience even to this present-day. 4/5
Super Reviewer
½ December 17, 2014
It's like, whoa, you know? I'm glad I got to see this on the big screen because it was just like...whoa...you know?

During the first however many minutes of ominous tones, I kept thinking I was seeing images on the blank screen. They turned out to be just retinal shadows, but the suspense was so awesomely claustrophobic. So many spoofs and homages of Kubrick's ethereal blend of airless space, kaleidoscopic frenzy, and classical music did not diminish this movie-watching experience for me, and what an experience it was. The story, while ponderingly slow and ham-fisted, is an epic fantasia full of cacophony and silence, peace and fear, primitive pasts and equally primitive futures.

The SFX were ridiculously advanced; images of Earth and space look just like recent representations in "Gravity" or "Interstellar." The "gravity boots" were an ingenious way to sidestep the weightlessness effect. Keir Dullea is remarkably good and understated as Dr. Dave Bowman, in all his heavy breathing and bottled-up rage. HAL, of course, is a freakish delight.

I wasn't quite sold on the symbolism of the monolith, and I expected the piercing noise that it emitted to have some kind of debilitating, foreshadowing effect, but alas, it was only just a biggest, blackest, metaphor.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2009
The widely acclaimed one of the best movies ever gave me once in a lifetime experience. Indeed once in a lifetime it was. And I'll like it to remain that way.
Actual Rating: -10/5
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2006
2001 is a film that does not concern anything so trite as human relationships. 2001 is a film of a scale so epic as to never have been conceived before. Up until 1968, sci-fi was all about flying saucers, death rays and theramins. Kubrick set about making a film themed around the history of the human species, from the dawn of man through to space exploration and beyond. The first thing that strikes you about this film is its sheer visual spectacle; Kubrick's juxtaposition of classical music with the elegance of space travel shows technology not as clunky and ugly, but a thing of beauty. His use of colour is breathtaking, from the cold blues of outer space, to the vivid reds of the ship's systems and the stunning pure whites and primary colours of the still brilliant looking retro future styling of the space station's interiors. He takes pains to show the logistics of space travel, mixing the mundane with the surreal images of an existence without the influence of gravity. But it is the stargate sequence that is the truly jaw dropping part of this film, and it is still one of the most visually stunning scenes ever committed to celluloid. The main criticism levelled at this film is its infamous obtuseness, Kubrick deliberately leaving the implications of the themes he is exploring for the viewer to conclude for themselves. I would seriously suggest to anyone having trouble coming to grips with it to read the book, as it does explain all. Kubrick was an artist, and this is his masterpiece; only he could even have attempted to sum up the entire history of humanity in a single cut. Amazing.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2009
With an extraordinary production design and cinematography - which includes mind-blowing photographic effects - this impressive work of poetic contemplation depicts Nietzsche's philosophical concept of the ‹bermensch in a truly majestic cinematic experience.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2012
A fantastic film about the meditation of technology and evolution of man with a fantastic villain, fantastic effects for the time and great actors
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2011
Every once in a while a work comes along that's so good that it destroys the genre forever. No Scifi movie can ever top 2001. The obsessive compulsive genus that is Kubrick shows in spectacular form.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
Through time, animals first inhabited the earth, and were much smarter beings than us, but when we became a part of the world, we were ready to explore. Human's do not share the same mind-set as, say, an ape, but with the right amount of fear in their eyes they might. This is the story of how a man is reborn in space and how technology will ruin our lives if we rely on it to keep us going. Stanley Kubrick takes space in the physical sense and in the mental sense, and places you, literally, in his "stage." The visuals are spectacular, the story is unlike anything I have ever seen in my entire life, and the meaning behind everything in this film is absolutely breathtaking. "2001: A Space Odyssey" is easily one of the best Science Fiction films ever made!
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2012
Another flawless, artistic, iconic piece from Kubrick. Beautiful, ambitious, and, like The Shining, hypnotic.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2012
2001 is a pretty difficult movie to review.
1) It was made in 1968.
2) Its storytelling is drastically different from today's contemporary standards.
3) 2001 is, at its heart, an art-house movie that leaves much to open interpretation.

I, for one, absolutely dig art-house films but do not tend to enjoy open ended interpretations because, in the end, I want to see why the director placed such an open ended idea there in the first place. "Tree of Life"? Naw, not for me. "The Fountain"? What the hell happened in that? I still don't know. Nevertheless, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of those rare movies where it forces viewers into an artistic state of mind with enough interesting narrative twists to draw me into its universe coupled with breathtakingly, extraordinary cinematography.

Mind you, this was made in 1968. Yes, 1968. And with such age, it still manages to trump many of the contemporary films in terms of storytelling and superb cinematography. Yeah, the pacing is extremely patient and methodical, and it seems to marvel over certain sequences for way too long than it should, but nevertheless, once the pacing seemed unbearable, 2001 threw in a curve ball that drew me back in. For an avid film-goer, even 2001 pushed my patience, and this was mainly due to my familiarity with loud, fast-paced contemporary movies. Regardless of this, I can't help but to imagine how revolutionary "2001: A Space Odyssey" must've been during its time when filmmaking was restrained by technology, the lack of knowledge of the world outside of Earth, innovation, and mind-pondering questions about the roots of man never particularly being shared through a motion picture. And that's why whenever 2001 was brought up in conversation, words like "poetic" and "awe-inspiring" came up. It's not even because that it was revolutionary during its time, is the reason why I enjoyed it. I genuinely enjoyed the film for its narrative turns and artistic storytelling.

2001 is an ambitious film. Yes, it kinda did annoy me how open-ended it was, not because of the frustration of taking some time to sit down and interpret the movie myself, but simply because I wanna know what makes Stanley Kubrick tick. Regardless of this personal annoyance, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is definitely a poetic motion picture that is entertaining enough to draw me into its world, even though I don't agree with its message. It's fresh. Funny, I thought I would say that about a movie that came out in 2012. Sadly, the innovative films are those from the past, not in the hope of the future of filmmaking, that is, if Hollywood continues down its path that its on now.
Super Reviewer
½ July 10, 2012
2001: A Space Odyssey was groundbreaking when it was first released and holds up to today's standards due to its meticulously crafted effects and score. However the film has its slow scenes and some underdeveloped characters. Despite these flaws, 2001 still shines, especially thanks to Douglas Rain's performance as the computer HAL 9000.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2011
Wondrous movie that leaves with a sense of awe, and something emotionally profound cannot be described with words. It is a realization of our place in the universe, our trivial existence and of what lies out there that is unfathomable to the limits of the human mind, or at least just one interpretation of this phenomenally contemplative experience. A masterpiece of film making at its highest form; art.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2008
Probably the greatest sci-fi (and maybe) actual movie ever made, this movie was the first movie to break the mould with effects and style in sci-fi that everybody else followed. Kubrick's vision is perfect and his movie making a true art and skill, every angle is perfection and made to work beautifully from the lighting to the details on the costumes...its lavish. Almost an actual silent movie for the first 30mins, Kubrick has the nerve to not include any dialog making it truely unique, its just visual art accompanied by classical music,
almost an intergalactic space age opera or ballet for the senses.

The plot is also very good yet kinda minimalistic. Adapted from the Arthur C. Clarke novel, with his input, assistance and help from NASA this really put the film into the realms of pure reality and technological advancement to which no other films have bettered to this day.
It takes a good few viewings to catch everything and understand the plot fully, as you do the film grows on you emotionally.
Many don't understand the story and find it boring thus not enjoying the experience which is a shame, the same happened when it was first released, all I can say is read the book, read about the film, watch and learn.

Epic in scope and unbeatable in most every department even to this day, the effects are tremendous despite being viewed in total silence for the most part. Add to that one of the greatest scores ever devised and you really can understand how this rates so high.

What dissapoints me is we are now beyond this date and not up to the technology shown, even 2010 has been and gone and we're nowhere near Europa :( oh well.
Matthew Roe
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2012
Not that I need to say much on the works of Stanley Kubrick, but this film is the visual manifestation of a magnificent space opera in which it flows like the score, changing with each note. Supplying some of the greatest practical effects ever put on film, a vast range of interpretations, and a viewing experience that can hardly be equaled, it makes us look into ourselves as well as the future of our species in equal measure. In addition to all of the landmarks that this film breaks in the realms of sic-fi, fantasy, character study, and filmmaking as a whole, it creates one of the greatest and most iconic film villains ever to grace the screen, HAL 9000. Not only serving as the film's antagonist, but also as a commentary on what humanity is racing toward, technological perfection, logical superiority and supersession by what we have created. Science fiction films after 1968 owe much of what they are to "2001", and to the film master Stanley Kubrick.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2012
Visually stunning, emotionally powerful, and scary as hell, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely considered to be the best science fiction film ever made. But does it even belong in that category? Well, it's certainly not comparable to other famed science fiction films such as Star Wars and Blade Runner. No, 2001 is in a class of its own. Yeah, its premise fits into the genre, but unlike its possible peers, 2001 isn't made to entertain. It's a work of art more than anything, a true example of film's potential. Its sole downfall, if it could even be considered a negative, is its ambiguity. I can't even begin to speculate on what Kubrick meant in creating this film. I guess its meaning is up to the individual viewer, which isn't a bad thing. It just means the first viewing is necessarily unsatisfying in this regard, needing additional understanding in order to appreciate the film.

Nevertheless, one does not need to see the film multiple times to appreciate the superb visual effects present in 2001. Though it's old enough that its premiere occurred during my father's first month of life, its visual effects, which won an Oscar so long ago, would still undoubtedly be nominated for and possibly win the award if it were released in this modern day. It's pretty impressive. Not hard to see why this is a classic of American cinema.
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2011
Incredible. This masterpiece of a motion picture is astonishing from the Dawn of Man to the End of the Universe. Remember able Special effects litter this Stanley Kubrick classic. Incredible acting and use of sound is also a very nice touch to this masterpiece. Based of the book with the same name by Arthur C. Clark, only in the book everything is viewed from a different perspective. The book; clear. The movie; mind blowing. This very bizarre piece of work is just what I wanted.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2011
Sci-fi genius! This film has inspired science and culture with its mystic and ambiguous plot; in other words, its a classic!
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
This may be the most grand movie experience ever created. Beautiful, hypnotic and horrifying.
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