memento_mori's Movie Review of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Rating of

2001: A Space Odyssey

A Mind-blowing Journey through Life and Everything
memento_mori - wrote on 08/29/13

2001 is different… Let me put it like that.
Different from the way Kubrick's films are made. The way the film is made is like a usual Kubrick movie, but a little different. It has the ambient environment (like separated colors and furniture), it has the frigid cinematography, but it doesn't have the typical script.
I have mixed feelings about the script, because its structure is its main fault. The opening and first story of the film are absolutely amazing. I loved how the film was set up and how the music combined with the direction so beautifully.
Then came the second story and everything started getting wobbly.
And by the third I really didn't know how to perceive the movie anymore. That's both a compliment and a criticism.

Trying to explain 2001 is like trying to explain a color to a blind person. So I won't even try. Instead, I think everyone should just formulate an opinion and say what they think it's about. I've heard it's about the apocalypse, machinery taking over, or just life in general.
I think it's about Life and Discovery. All the characters (If you can call them that) in all timelines have a certain newfound knowledge. I only noticed this when I paid more attention to the music. The titular theme comes on every time when something grandiose happens. It's a hint, that's all it is.
When the ape in 'The Dawn of Man' figures out how to hit ribs with a large bone and throws it up in the air, he has learned something new. The music emphasizes this. It literally is: The Dawn of Man.

My biggest problem with the movie is arguable and can be pondered over for ages. I just think this is the least eventful of Kubrick's films. It's a fascinating, visually stimulating film, but it isn't always interesting.
There are three story lines: The Dawn of Man, Heywood Floyd's arrival and the mission to Jupiter. As there is with any film of this structure, the danger is that one story is not as interesting as the other. I personally did not find Heywood Floyd's arrival interesting at all. It was starting very promisingly, but then just stopped, and it makes me wonder what happened.
Maybe I'm being too picky, but I just don't want to see a movie in space about people repairing broken tail lights for ten minutes.
I'm also not a big fan of Keir Dullea's acting. Him sitting there with a deadpan expression on his face for the entire movie was almost an insult to drama. Show some freaking emotion, dammit!

As for interpretation of the big, black bar: Life. That's all I'm going to say.

It's a visually amazing movie, with many logical underlying messages about humanity, machinery and human error and a mind-blowing finale. I can't agree that this is one of the best films of all time, because it has its faults. The acting is horrendous, the pacing is off and some of the scenes didn't seem to go anywhere. But it made me think about it way after it was over, and that's what counts.

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