Movie Review – ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Please note: This movie review is taken from a 21st century’s person’s  point of view.

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Last week on Friday, I saw the sci-fi epic movie that is…‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This was re-released at the cinema where I usually go to at Showcase Cinemas in Nantgarw. It was a film originally released in 1968. It was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. I’d not seen this film beforehand.

Of course I’ve heard it being talked about by others and I’ve heard some of the epic music featured in that film somewhere. My Dad wanted to see this re-release of the film at the cinema. He told me it was a film that’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And I’m very glad that I did see this film at the cinema.

But saying that, I wouldn’t rate it so highly as many film critics and reviewers have done. Now that’s not to say ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is terrible. On the contrary, it’s well-produced and well-directed by Stanley Kubrick. The visuals are impressive and the cinematography is so awe-inspiring to watch.

You could say this was the ‘Gravity’ of 1968. But like that film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is a film grounded in real outer-space science and the pace isn’t as fast as you would expect in other sci-fi movies like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’. There are some very long-winded sequences in outer space.

I couldn’t help think of ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ as I watched this film. In fact, I believe Robert Wise got inspiration from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to direct that film. But you could argue that the style of film-making by Stanley Kubrick and its long-winded space sequences are suited to this movie.

There are three stories featured in this one film. The first is set on Earth during the time of the primitive apes; which took a while to establish what was going on. The second is set in 2001 where a scientific team visits the Moon. The third is set on a spaceship on its way to Jupiter eighteen months later.

The element connecting these three stories together is a featureless black monolith on the Earth, on the Moon and in orbit around Jupiter. I don’t think the connection is very clear especially by the film’s ending. Speaking of which, I was pretty baffled by what the whole film ending all was all about.

The ending is mostly about Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman travelling in this kaleidoscope of space from Jupiter to beyond until he reaches to a point where he grows old in a bizarre hotel room setting and becomes re-born again, seeing the Earth in space. I’m not sure I fully understand that sequence.

The first half of the film is pretty long-winded with elongated scenes set in the primeval time with apes on Earth; the journey to the Moon scenes and the spaceship on its way to Jupiter. I liked that ‘phone conversation’ scene that William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood Floyd had with his little daughter.

The second half of the film was a little better despite the bizarre kaleidoscope sequence at the end. It was interesting when Hal the computer aboard the Jupiter spaceship caused trouble and Dr. David Bowman managed to get back into the ship and started shutting down Hal’s memory banks aboard.

The film also features Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole, working alongside Dr. David Bowman in the film. I’ve seen Gary Lockwood before in the original ‘Star Trek’ series episode, ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’. I was pleased to see Gary Lockwood in this, though he doesn’t play a villain in the film.

A thing I’ve noticed about ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is that it’s a film that doesn’t rely on a lot of character drama. It focuses more on plot and spectacle in space. It’s pretty slow-moving at times and it takes a while for the plot to actually get going. It does get interesting when dialogue scenes occur.

And of course, the main issue with this film is the futuristic setting. It’s set in the year 2001. Yeah. It was 1968 when the film was made. But Stanley Kubrick predicted we’d all get rockets; spaceships and space stations by the year 2001. Err…I haven’t seen many spaceships and space stations today.

There are some concepts about this movie that I found intriguing. There’s a certainly a vastness to the movie in terms of space. Like with ‘Gravity’, there’s no sound in space as other sci-fi movies and TV shows have done. There is also a theme of creation throughout this movie, especially at the end.

Please don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t be shocked if you disagree with my review on this movie. I’m glad I saw this film as I’ve wanted to for some time after hearing so much about it. But ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ like ‘Gravity’ isn’t my kind of film. I prefer more action-packed space films than this.

My Dad enjoyed seeing this film and thanked me for letting him see it at the cinema. So that’s a good thing. By the way, there was an intermission whilst we were watching this film at the cinema. How come we didn’t get an intermission with ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’?! 🙂

Overall, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, whilst considered an epic classic, isn’t a film I would watch again and again. I’m glad I saw it on the big screen though. Just don’t expect this movie to be action-packed and full of big explosions as you would see in other sci-fi movies. It’s pretty much of its time.

It’s certainly not like ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’. By the way, that’s not a clue of what I’m going to watch next at the cinema, is it?

I’ll give the film this though. The music in the film is pretty good including suites by Richard Strauss; György Ligeti; Johann Strauss II and Aram Khachaturian.

Here’s my Dad’s thoughts on the film

‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ centres on a seemingly awesome tablet that appears at various points of the film. It appears to be a Deity representative of all religions with the essence of our existence connected to it from beginning to the end of our lives. The kaleidoscopic climax of colours and creatorial settings depicts a Deity of overwhelming power and mystery. The three stories illustrate humankind with all its flaws and shortcomings including its IT technology.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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