2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is without a doubt the 'ultimate' space movie. Films like STAR WARS or ALIEN wouldn't exist without this, the first film to realistically portray what space travel is actually like. Yes, the film is incredibly slow, long, and extreme arty, but it's also a masterpiece and quite possibly Stanley Kubrick's greatest directorial effort.After a lengthy introduction that quite wonderfully shows off man's pre-history (and includes THAT famous jump cut), we're transported to the interior of a spaceship, where protagonist Dave (Keir Dullea) must contend with the machinations of his computer, HAL 9000. Everything that happens takes place very s-l-o-w-l-y, but this was intentional and I don't think there's any better way of getting across just how elongated being in space really is.HAL 9000 dominates the film and is my favourite computer creation in cinema; the most tragic too, I think. Dullea underacts to the best of his ability and is all the better for it, and of course Kubrick's direction is masterful, with incredible attention to detail. Yes, things get extremely psychedelic and trippy for the last half-hour's light show, but then it was the 1960s and you wouldn't expect otherwise. Great stuff indeed!
To me, this is not only Kubrick's best film but also a milestone of the genre. It is quite long at around two and a quarter hours, and it is slow, that I agree with. But it is never boring, well not to me it isn't. Besides, and this is up to interpretation, but I think the slow pacing is deliberate, it adds to the haunting and eerie quality 2001 has and also to assimilate every shot which speak volumes, and also 2001's greatest strength is actually in the details.The story is somewhat abstract in its structure but is also quite complex, innovative and interesting yet has a simple message, and the screenplay and direction by Kubrick are superb. The acting is not the film's best asset, but it is good enough, with Douglas Rain the standout as the voice of HAL 9000 as he is really quite brilliant. Two things especially make 2001 so good. One are the visuals- even after all those years they are simply outstanding. The cinematography is indeed splendid, as are the colours and settings, but there are so many memorable images. The images of the giant Starchild floating through space and the tribe of apes painfully putting two and two together still resonate considerably even now. The other is the music. Coming from a big classical music enthusiast, I was delighted by the use of Also Sprach Zarathustra and On the Beautiful Blue Danube and how they combined with the visuals were exceedingly clever.Overall, this is a truly wonderful film that is worth seeing for the visuals and music alone and still continues to intrigue and perplex with the ending. As much as I like Oliver and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, two of my childhood favourites, and the brilliant Lion in Winter to me this is it... the best film of 1968. 10/10 Bethany Cox 2b1af7f3a8