"2001: A Space Odyssey" is truly a milestone in the history of filmmaking. It showed the possibilities of what you could do with the science-fiction genre, besides having aliens trying to conquer the Earth. It showed that there was a reason as to why the word science is in science-fiction. But not only just story-wise is this a great movie within its genre but also technically.

It really is one of the most complex movies you'll ever see, which is however mostly simply because it leaves up a lot to your own interpretation. To me the movie has always been about the evolution of mankind. Every time the human species comes across a monolith, it marks a step forward in its evolution. But the movie never explains where the monoliths come from, or what it truly does. Does it come from space? Or perhaps it's a sign from God! It never turns into a religion versus science discussion but instead leaves everything completely open to your own interpretation. This especially goes for its ending, which director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke themselves didn't even had a real explanation for.

It's actually really one of the oddest movies ever made, once you really start thinking about it. It's really not a movie with a clear, beginning, middle and end in it. Instead it could be divided into different acts, of which most of them are involving different characters. Yet everything still feels perfectly connected and in perfect harmony with each other because the movie always remains consistent with its pacing and style. The action moments are not shot and edited any faster than its mystery moments and its science-fiction elements are not any more or any less exciting than its more horror-like moments.

Yes, I think "2001: A Space Odyssey" actually has a great horror vibe to it as well! This is all thanks to HAL 9000, who basically is one of the best horror characters of all time, even though the movie itself is of course far from a conventional horror movie. Thing that makes HAL 9000 so great and such a scary character is that he is nothing more but a red light-bulb, who is yet more and more starting to show strange human tendencies. He is so unpredictable and also incredibly powerful, since he can basically control the entire spaceship, which all makes him a quite scary and threatening character.

Visually and also especially technically this is a great movie. Most of the effects in this movie were thought up and created specifically for this movie and even now days they are still great- and convincing looking. But I especially love the realistic approach of all of its science-fiction elements. It's a very detailed movie, that thought of about everything it seems. From how space-food would be like in the future, to space toilets and ways of how humans would communicated with each other and with computers.

It's also really a movie that lets its images tell most of its story. The movie starts off without dialog and also the last part of the movie is completely without any dialog. Some people will be bothered by its slow pacing, while others will be fascinated by the way the movie is slowly being told and developed, without ever laying out things clearly for you. It's truly a thought provoking movie, that deserves your full attention, so just don't watch then when feeling tired or not in the mood.

One of the many great and truly unique movies, from the brilliant but complicated Stanley Kubrick.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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