In 1968, Stanley Kubrick released 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film he wrote with Arthur C. Clarke. It was a science fiction film so groundbreaking that there are conspiracy theories that claim its production was a front for faking the moon landing. The film is ranked at number 15 on the AFI 100 years...100 movies list. The plot has apes, black monoliths, killer computers and trippy journeys to becoming the Star Child. This is actually one of my favorite movies, but not everyone enjoys it.
An audio-visual assault
I know that as a film student, it's my duty to like this movie, but I'm sorry. I just can't. I saw it in a theatrical setting (ie. hard chairs, full-blast surround sound, large screen, but only one bathroom break) and it was easily the most miserable 3+ hours of my life to date. Sorry, but I resent any movie that leaves me with a headache and sick stomach.
Can anyone verify this? Is this in a creed that film students have to take? And only one bathroom break? Are you going to film school in Russia?
Don't be fooled, its all special effects,
I had to watch this movie for a literary comparison between this and the short story that started the movie, The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke, and quite frankly the short story was 10x better and 1/100 of a waste of time. Though the content of the movie was great and interesting at the beginning, it was when there was content in this movie. I bet that if you were to take out the parts where you are just watching these people walking around in the different space ships and areas as well as the multiple scenes with the monkeys in it at the beginning of the movie would go from 2.5 hours to 45 minutes. Also, the ending was very bizzare and while I believe it was supposed to be a whole experience that Dave met the extraterrestrial life forms that made the monolith, in all reality it is more just an acid trip and I believe that there was no alien encounter, just him going nuts from taking a trip out to Jupiter without faster than light capabilities all by himself. Also, the whole segment of HAL could have been removed completely and the movie would have made more sense and been better overall. All in all worse science fiction movie in history in my opinion besides the special effects, which were incredible considering this was a film that was made in 1968 (and the reason I am giving it 1 star).
Let's just focus on two things in this review. First, the idea that removing the whole segment where the crew interacts with HAL would have made the movie better is possibly the craziest idea I have ever heard. Second read that last sentence. Read it again. Now explain it to me, please.
Let's start at the beginning: Most movie versions of popular books tend to be rather incomplete or deviate wildly from their literary parent by the time it gets to the screen. Before men actually walked on the moon, the cinematic effort just to achieve the revolutionary visual effects we see here seems to have been all encompassing for the director, to the distraction of trying to involve us in the deep narrative that made the Arthur C. Clarke novel one of the most provocative and probing works of the age. While both realistic and psychedelic images combined with imaginative classical works are intended to impress the senses, the story-line is almost senseless in this telling, forcing the viewer to tax their own imagination in order to fill in the blanks. So large are the blanks that without the benefit of reading the book first, you would fall asleep, if it were not for the sonic and scenic thrill ride. Unfortunately, sitting through this disc, I found it very hard to keep my eyes (and ears) open.
Okay, this point seems to come up a lot and I think it's important to address it. 2001: A Space Odyssey was not based on the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film is based on Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" and he wrote the novel at the same time the film was being made. 2001: A Space Odyssey the novel is more accurately a novelization of the film.
Though this review won't win me any friends, I think I can speak for the AVERAGE movie goer/viewer and say that this movie was pure crap. It seems to be trendy for critics to like (in the public's eyes) bad movies that are supposedly "above" the capacity of the average movie goer. This is one of those films. It is not nearly as good as critics/historians would have you believe. That is why they love it so much. It is trendy for critics to "love" films which have very little entertainment value, or make little to no sense (such as this film). It is also trendy for critics to love the works of Kubrick, even though he put out very few "great" movies, a few average, and many poor ones. Think of A Clockwork Orange. Was that movie really that good? No. Its only considered a classic because it was made by Kubrick. If anyone else had made that, it would be considered nothing more than a demented pornographic film. I highly recommend against purchasing this, unless you want to completely throw your money down the drain.
Besides A Clockwork Orange and 2001 which you don't like, let's try and list all of the "great" movies that Stanley Kubrick made: Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Doctor Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining. You really don't like any of these movies? It's not like Kubrick made a thousand films.
What the HECK!?
Rented this one just to laugh at how movie-makers in the 50's and 60's thought the world was going to look in the year 2001. I figured we would see ridiculous flying-cars, jet-packs, meal-in-a-pill, talking-robots, etc. Then I figured I was gonna write a review here talking about how wrong they were (since the year 2001 has already happened and it was nothing like that)and reccomend it just for a laugh. Here's how it really went. I popped it in the player and to my surprise it just looked like a fake documentary about monkeys with a couple of guys in really fake looking monkey costumes. Kind of like Planet of the Apes. 5 minutes in: Still monkeys (no narraration or anything either). 10 minutes in I asked myself "How are they going to stretch this out for a whole stupid-movie?!" I will never know. Because when a monkey threw a bone up in the air so high that it went into space and morphed into a rocket-ship I was done with this garbage. Who on earth would predict the year 2001 would be like that!? I returned it shortly after that and rented Mortal-Kombat 2 which was way more realistic with better fighting. In conclusion, you would be much better-off renting a documentary about apes, or even Gorillas in the mist, or maybe Planet of the Apes which this movie is trying to be. AVOID!! Later.
Okay, first off you only watched the first twenty minutes of the movie and thought that filmmakers in the 60s thought that monkeys would rule the earth in 2001. When that didn't go your way you rented Mortal Kombat 2 because it was more realistic and had better fighting? Yeah, that makes sense.
Not so special effects
The special effects may have amazed audiences 30+ years ago, but modern viewers will wonder what happened to the plot. Dare I say it, the book was much better!
Here is my recipe for film genius status. Make a boring, pointless and unintelligible movie. Pretend that it is a great work of art. Hint that anybody who doesn't appreciate it isn't intelligent enough to understand it. Watch pretentious film critics fall all over themselves to praise your movie.
I love these reviews that bag on the special effects. I can't wait to read the reviews for Avatar in forty years.
Wished I'd never saw it
Being a graduate of Univ of South Carolina, I felt I had to see this movie. However, I am not a Stanley Kubrick fan and thusly I did not like this movie - at all. In fact it put me to sleep. While I am sure it is classic Kubrick I did not find this movie entertaining and would not suggest it to anyone.
I had to look up the reference, but apparently the USC Gamecock football team enters to music from the film. I did not know that.
Honestly, they just keep going and going. 128 1-star reviews and probably 90% of them are actually on the quality of the film. I can sum them all up for you:
This movie was boring. I fell asleep. The ending was weird and I didn't get it. Special effects were not as good as they are today. No dialogue for long periods of time.