I neither love nor hate 2001. I can see what people love about it, but can't seem to share their enthusiasm. Slowly, I'm discovering why this is.
I think I just straight up disagree with the ideas put forth. Everyone who loves this movie, as far as I can tell, loves it because it makes them think. Now I may have this wrong, and I certainly understand praising it for its visual artistry, being ahead of its time, etc. But all that is in service of causing you to ponder man's relationship to technology, the role it plays in our evolution, where we came from and where we're going, etc. The movie ends with
A man in a new form, the next step forward for the species in a sense, guided by some force from beyond - most likely extraterrestrial life. I call bs.
Now, maybe I'm just not curious enough, and I know I will be put down for being intellectually barren, dishonest, and/or arrogant. That's usually the one that gets thrown around: I'm just really arrogant to assume I can know truths about the universe. But honestly I don't find this line of thought compelling. Now if the movie was about something other than this and just happened to hold that viewpoint as well, kind of a side conversation to the main plot, I think I'd be okay. After all, I differ ideologically with practically every well-known filmmaker. Kubrick isn't alone, he's just more prominent than some. Yet a lot of the joy that people seem to derive from the deliberate parade of images (aesthetically pleasing though they be) is in pondering these questions, guided by the film's perspective.
I don't believe in alien life - particularly super intelligent life - beyond our planet. I don't discount the possibility but personally I don't think it likely. I don't believe mankind emerged from a common ancestry with apes, etc nor do I think the way we learned to build and communicate is a mystery. In my view man began as complex and intelligent as he ever would be, and has only deteriorated over time. And I don't feel that any hope for our kind has to do with ascending to another plane, or gaining a better consciousness, or evolving into something better. Perhaps by coming into contact with a higher intelligence we would indeed be advanced, but that's as far as the film's speculation mirrors my own.
So while I appreciate the scientific rigidity that some of the film holds to, and while I think the HAL segment is wonderfully tense movie-making, and while I think some of the shots are beautiful - I can't bring myself to find it intellectually enriching or anything deeper than simple mastery of craft. I don't fault the author of the book or Kubrick necessarily. I think if you start from their viewpoint they did a pretty good job of making something of value out of it. It just isn't for me.
Also I wish this would show up in paragraphs, the way I wrote it.