2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 10/10/01
Produced And Directed By: Stanley Kubrick
Written By: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
Special Effects: Douglas Trumbull
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood

Primative Man is on the brink of extinction until an ominous black monolith of extraterrestrial origin shows up and gives them a slight evolutionary nudge. Four million years later, the same monolith (or a very similar one) is found buried under the surface of the Moon by a group of American scientists. Continuing to investigate the nature of the monolith, a group of researchers heads to Jupiter - a journey that goes horribly wrong when the ship's computer becomes psychotic. A very trippy and cautionary tale of technology and madness.

First of all, seeing this movie on video when you're seventeen years old and seeing it on the big screen fifteen years later are two entirely different experiences. Only on the big screen can you fully appreciate the artistic scope of the film. The revolutionary special effects are simply astounding - even more so in this day and age of computer technology. How did they do a lot of that stuff?!? Was optical printing even available? I'm pretty sure motion control photography wasn't around, and there's no evidence of travelling matte technology. Pretty amazing. Unfortunately, the spectacular effects also contribute to one of the film's major flaws. Director Kubrick was obviously so in love with this film that his camera lingers uncomfortably long on many of the effects sequences, to the point where it becomes overbearing. Nowhere is this more evident and oppressive than when David Bowman (Keir Dullea) goes beyond the infinite in the film's dazzling, but lengthy, climax. It certainly evokes a sensation of awe and wonder, but it also severely tries the viewer's patience. Despite its shortcomings, the film is definitely worth seeing and is a true classic that has stood the test of time.