Movie Review: 2001: A Space Odyssey

This is hands down my favorite movie of all time. This film is the one I wish I could have made or at least be a part of when it was made. It is nothing short of AMAZING.

Man learns and grows throughout time thanks to the monolith.

During my early years of high school, my dad would go to our library and get a movie to watch on Saturday night and some pizza. On one evening, he got 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not knowing what I was in for, I watched it with a sense of awe and confusion that over time has lead to a greater appreciation for the film and is what I consider to be one of the best films ever. I have used a clip of this in my editing class in college, where Dave is in the room beyond the infinite. I found out that only me and my teacher had ever seen this movie, much less any Kubrick film. I also used 2001 as my film analysis for Film as Art, also taught by the same teacher and featuring many of the same classmates.

After watching the film, the question that comes up is “What does it mean?” I try to do the best I can when explaining this to people after they see it. What I think it means is that the universe has mysteries that frankly we don’t want explained. I don’t want to know the answers all the time; that takes out the fun. The monolith is a mystery that in the movie is never really explained explicitly. Sure, there are theories but I like to come up with my own interpretation. By letting some things go unexplained, it allows us to wonder, to ponder, to suggest. We are by nature curious. There will be things that for whatever reason can never be explained. I’m perfectly fine with that.

I leave the unexplained to the viewer in some of my pieces, most notably Touch. Upon first viewing, it seems like it doesn’t make sense and a bit disturbing with the noises and the lack of answers. It is upon multiple viewings that people start to make their own connections as to what it means. Was there an explanation for the events? Yes, but I let it remain unanswered. When people ask, I ask them in return what they thought it meant to them. Most say it’s about facing the consequences of your actions. I stand there and thank them for their explanation. It helps me to know that my work does involve analysis and that people are taking the time to do so.

However, I understand that the unexplained is not for everyone. Some people have told me that they did not enjoy watching 2001, finding it too confusing or too long. The first half, I guess, is probably why Touch was not accepted at a local film festival. At this point, it’s my best narrative piece but I know that I can and will do better. I will still include the element of the unexplained, but not as complicated.

The visuals still hold up after many decades. The space attendant walking up a wall and going upside down while the camera is stationary is a solid piece of special effects work. You look for a green screen but you remember that greenscreen wasn’t used back then. The stargate sequence, even though it can be achieved with more ease today, is still an experience. And to think that this was done without computers is even more spectacular.

I played the stargate sequence as a personal christening when my family got a flatscreen. I knew it had to have been the first movie viewed on that television. I only have the regular disc but want to get the Blu-ray for it.

Yes, the actual year has come and gone (much like the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact) but it is still a movie that is to be watched, experienced, enjoyed, and wondered.


1001 MYMSBYD selection

IMDB Top 250

AFI Top 100 (1997): #22

AFI Top 100 (2007): #15

400 Nominations for AFI Top 100 for both years


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