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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.12%
Average: 9.52%
Pretty Bad: 2.38%
Total Crap: 10.12%

3 reviews, 150 user ratings

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2001: A Space Odyssey
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Timeless Journey"
5 stars

Re-released with a digitally remastered soundtrack, 2001: A Space Odyssey remains startling for its captivating images. Stanley Kubrick films tend to be deliberate and precise. He excelled in storytelling through visual imagery, and the elaborately detailed sets and costumes sometimes lingered longer in the mind than the actors and dialogue.

The first recognisable human speech comes partway into the second segment of 2001. The actors are few and frequently appear in oversized sets (William Sylvester arriving on an empty shuttle at a practically deserted space station; Keir Dullea and Gary
Lockwood as Doctors Dave Bowman and Frank Poole wandering through the spaceship Discovery). They handle their dialogue like trained technicians, and keep charisma to a minumum (Kubrick vacillated between using big stars - in The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut, and relative unknowns - 2001, Full Metal Jacket). The greatest
self-expression and originality comes from the melodious tones of the HAL 9000 computer (voiced by Douglas Rain), in stark contrast to the monotonous delivery of Dullea and Lockwood.

2001 was scripted by Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke, based on Clarke’s story “The Sentinel”, which laid the foundation for his 2001: A Space Odyssey novel. 2001 begins at “The Dawn of Man”. A cluster of apes encounter a monolithic block. Subsequently, one of the apes (Daniel Richter) stand upright and fashions a first
weapon out of bone. We move abruptly to 2001 where Dr Heywood Floyd (Sylvester) is enroute to the moon to investigate a newly discovered monolith. 18 months later, Bowman and Poole are on the first manned flight to Jupiter when their computer, the top-of-the-line HAL 9000, dangerously malfunctions.

2001 can be difficult to follow because the dialogue is mostly meaningless chatter or technical detail; the exposition comes in chunks, generally at the end of scenes, and is often thrown away by the actors. The film’s chief idea - that an alien intelligence has been assisting our “evolution” (or at least our ability to build weapons) at key moments in human history - isn’t so much explored as obliquely presented. The final half hour or so of the film (when Bowman comes upon the monolith in space above Jupiter) remains open to varying interpretations. But the beauty of the images throughout, especially when matched with the music of Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss, make it easier to feel 2001, than fully comprehend it.

Kubrick and Clarke normally receive the most credit for 2001, but Kubrick’s visual effects team did marvellous, inventive work, long before computers were employed in this area. The production design is phenomenal and cinematographers Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott (who later worked with Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Shining) also deserve credit for the film’s influential look. [Stephen Groenewegen]

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originally posted: 05/05/01 15:20:35
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2015 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/03/17 Langano Simply the best. 5 stars
2/23/17 morris campbell just ok the book is AWESOME THOUGH 3 stars
10/28/15 Billy34 Overrated, pretentious, empty, and cold. 1 stars
4/11/15 stanley welles extraordinary filmmaking, creating intellectual arguments mostly through image and music 5 stars
6/06/13 Marty Just let go and let this movie run your life for 180 minutes. Work of art. 4 stars
7/06/12 will one of those movies film teachers try shove down your throat. give me the killing any day. 3 stars
5/27/12 Mike Fitzpatrick Hypnotic and brilliant filmaking. A lot of people don't get Kubrick; too bad for them. 5 stars
4/04/12 David Hollingsworth A scifi masterpiece, unlike any other 5 stars
4/28/11 Quigley There will never be another film like it ever again as far as I'm concerned 4 stars
3/23/11 Jeff Wilder Effective on an intellectual level, less so on an emotional one. 4 stars
9/24/10 Flathead King An overrated film that is purely pie in the sky sci-fi 3 stars
7/23/10 Rudy This movie is not ahead of it's time. It's visually appealing but is horribly written. 1 stars
6/01/10 User Name The genius of 2001 is not how much Kubrick does, but how little. 5 stars
3/05/10 TravisN I loved it. It's one of the best films I've ever seen. 5 stars
12/01/09 Silkworm Mind blowing & Waaaaaaaay ahead of it's time 5 stars
11/20/09 Russ This film only appeals to those with higher thinking, longer attention spans. Masterpiece 5 stars
11/16/09 Juha One of the most important movies ever made... 5 stars
8/29/09 Julian Way way way ahead of it's time 5 stars
8/03/09 thatoneguy Am I the only person that thinks this movie worse than "Close Encounters" 1 stars
7/19/09 Mr. Pink hmmm 5 stars
7/02/09 Peter What can i say? The best film ever made about the mankind 5 stars
6/25/09 Miguel I love this film. Kubrick tests cinema possibilites and cratfs a classic. Unique! 5 stars
6/07/09 joe i think its about the pointless hypothesis of evolution,the endless circle of stupidty 1 stars
5/31/09 MP Bartley Baffling, boring and beguiling in equal parts. 4 stars
1/19/09 Simon Complete waste of 3 hours of my life!!!!!! 1 stars
10/01/08 Danny This movie freaking rocks! 5 stars
7/19/08 sebastian The top SF film ever made!! End of story. 5 stars
7/03/08 Reza Tayebi One of Kubrik`s bests. 5 stars
2/04/08 Pamela White A Classic for it's time but is rather slow for modern times 4 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic Truly one of the greatest movies ever made. outstanding 5 stars
12/29/07 action movie fan good f/x but very slow and boring-no story 2 stars
4/13/07 Mik Not for stupid lazy minded people with short attention spans 5 stars
1/16/07 David Pollastrini Found it to be quite dull 1 stars
11/19/06 Jonathan Cox Oh my god who do i see about getting the last 2 and a half hours of my life back pure shite 1 stars
11/06/06 Me Terrible, Borring, Pointless, Borring, Painful, Borring, Meaningless, and ohh so Borring 1 stars
9/18/06 JM Synth A Slow burner, but a uniquely compelling film 4 stars
5/22/06 jpp an audio-visual experience; should only be seen in a cinema 5 stars
1/22/06 Eden Somewhere between utterly mesmerizing and completly boring 3 stars
11/20/05 John Dog Mesmerizing. 5 stars
10/16/05 Moctezuma The grandest of all sci-fi films? Not exactly 2 stars
8/23/05 Isaac Baranoff Masterpiece. 5 stars
8/08/05 Jake visual effects makes up for unfocused (but still interesting) narrative. 4 stars
8/06/05 Brandy Harrington Overrated! 3 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Terrific! 5 stars
4/15/05 Veronika Boyd The best film ever made. 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold The ultimate sci fi movie; awe-inspiring, beautiful, frightening, mind-blowing. 5 stars
3/16/05 Ronin A classic although let's be honest, some visuals are outdated and boring 5 stars
2/06/05 dbx the most visually incredible film you will ever see. 5 stars
10/14/04 lewis My favorite film- I was stunned after the film ended, contemporary sci-fi flicks suck ass 5 stars
8/16/04 anne this movie is beautiful and realistic 4 stars
6/22/04 Sean Scanlan Wow! 5 stars
5/30/04 Daveman One of the greatest films of all time. 5 stars
4/13/04 Nate Green NYC 1 stars
4/04/04 jbmcb Fantastic, plot plays like a song 5 stars
3/28/04 Derek Carlson Great visuals, but for understanding read the book 5 stars
1/14/04 Cizada Kureck 2001 an awesome odyssey 5 stars
12/23/03 Stanley Kubrick Holiest piece of crap from the 60s 1 stars
12/05/03 john stunning - Kubrick's best - simply an astonishing emotional (and intellectual) achievement 5 stars
11/28/03 Arex Only boring to those with narrow minds and short attention spans. 5 stars
10/21/03 Dean Rapp Fantastic, until "what the hell was the end about" 4 stars
9/27/03 Ingo The ultimate "scifi" film- and much more. 5 stars
9/07/03 MDR Total Crap 1 stars
8/21/03 Hakan Thought provoking, irritating! 5 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold THE sci-fi masterpiece. Beautiful, though-provoking, unsettling, awe-inspiring. 5 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. The anti-grav FX were utterly amazing - man hadn`t even landed on the moon yet ... 5 stars
5/21/03 Ryan F. I'd like to think there is some deep meaning here...but i cannot find any. 4 stars
5/17/03 Mo A visual masterpiece about the limits of technology and the future potential of mankind. 5 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper A classic. A must have for any sci-fi collector's DVD library. 5 stars
4/05/03 Jack Sommersby Big-budget pretentious bore. 1 stars
3/23/03 Dave Lacks the deep humanity of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris, but still a classic. 5 stars
3/19/03 ElevatorT.M. *Interpret* it how you'd like, I'd rather be entertained. 1 stars
12/30/02 John Aster Habig I thought I was Planet Of The Apes could it be any slower where's the character development 1 stars
11/01/02 H.A.G If you think 2001 is meaningless, it's because you didn't understand it. 5 stars
9/29/02 Morally Sound In a weird way, this movie is about life and redemption if you look closely at it. 5 stars
8/12/02 The Truth Most accurate and visionary science fiction ever, predicted flat display screenes 5 stars
6/25/02 Charles Tatum Oooh...aaah...but what the hell does it mean? 3 stars
3/14/02 Terrence Rowe I thought this was the most meaningless peice of crap I have ever seen 1 stars
3/05/02 I love movies indescribable beauty. a perfect masterpiece. see it now, it'll make your life better 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Classic. Love the Strauss and evil HAL. 4 stars
2/20/02 MoovEE WatchR Hated the pacing, but 12 hours later I'm still thinking about it. 4 stars
2/05/02 Matteus Nova Some of Kubrick's best moments on the screen... 5 stars
1/22/02 Andrew Carden Nothing To Brag About. Overrated, but Watchable. 3 stars
1/18/02 Jim Shertzer One of the great films - a beauty that remains forever fresh, fascinating and absorbing 5 stars
1/11/02 Travis R. Sorensen cold, slow-cooked perfection. music amplifies the visual greatness. kubrick's best 5 stars
1/01/02 weel deejal beautiful but dumb, like a supermodel. 4 stars
12/12/01 slappy jacks CANT PRAISE IT ENOUGH 5 stars
10/09/01 Lourdes Din It,s great & terrifying 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith "Open the space pod doors, HAL! I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" 5 stars
9/15/01 Monster W. Kung A unique, visionary masterpiece of sci-fi. 5 stars
9/06/01 Goldhammer Kubrick made no compromises. 5 stars
8/24/01 I love movies I'll have to watch it again... 5 stars
8/20/01 bobby boy if this film was a girl id fuck her hard 5 stars
8/19/01 Kirk Goodman I need to see this again...with hopes of grasping it! 4 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Trippy...Trippier...Trippiest! Kubrick is the master of film. 5 stars
7/29/01 Owen Spencer Those who don't like this movie don't recognize genius when they see it. 5 stars
6/12/01 Crisis Management Chef ADogg pull your head outta your ass, you pathetic idiot. 5 stars
5/31/01 Erik North Any movie that gets people talking like this is a masterpiece. 5 stars
4/22/01 dimoc as good as Agelopoulos! 5 stars
4/20/01 Derek Heatly read Len Wheat,s Kubrick,s Triple Allegory; it explains the movie! 5 stars
4/18/01 Derek Heatly An awesome triple allegory,read Len Wheat,s book. 5 stars
4/14/01 Toktela A Visual Delight..A Genuine Classic but not for the ignorant & Impatient 5 stars
3/23/01 TNT-6 An unforgettable metaphysical experience. 5 stars
3/11/01 matthew smith It's hard to beat the big screen for the big experience. unforgettable 5 stars
2/27/01 Michael Nicholls still the great sci-fi Star Wars on impact... 5 stars
2/04/01 Arvind Sivakumaran Absorbing in Bits,Middle Section with HAL brilliant, end too vague 4 stars
2/04/01 Invader The great movie stills astounds today, a true Kubrick masterpiece 5 stars
1/29/01 paracranium One of the greatest most visually unforgettable films ever. 5 stars
1/27/01 Axe Murderer slow 3 stars
1/17/01 Marduk Chef, you don't know what you are talking about... get some ritalin and watch it again bub. 5 stars
1/15/01 Skip More of an experience than a movie, but only because you forget you're watching a movie. 5 stars
1/11/01 Walter A real mind-blower. Turn the lights out, make some microwave popcorn and PAY ATTENTION. 5 stars
1/09/01 tom F. This is THE space movie 5 stars
12/06/00 Cristopher Revilla The "true" pioneer in all space movies, a must see!!!!! 5 stars
11/25/00 Andrew More than just Sci-Fi. It's an experience and a journey through the infinite. 5 stars
11/25/00 The Evil Penguin minimasterab is the DEVIL!! Don't listen to him. 5 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head The Best Sci-fi film ever made..Masterpiece!just because you don't get it, don't hate it 5 stars
10/21/00 Barry Jenkinson An artistic protrayal of science and our future. 5 stars
10/11/00 Dan Cooper If it didn't blow your skirt up, you musta' been horribly preoccupied. Or brainless. 5 stars
10/07/00 Viking Unforgettable special effects, but Arthur C. Clarke's novel makes more sense 5 stars
10/07/00 Viking Some spectacular special effects, but the related novel sheds a lot light on the matter 5 stars
9/14/00 Jed Good-intentioned but overall horrible & overrated. 2 stars
8/25/00 Maclay01 A Kubrick masterpiece. Painstakingly realistic depiction of space life. And done in the 60s 5 stars
7/23/00 Tyler Peterson A great visual experience, telling the story of spaceflight in relation to the evolution. 4 stars
6/28/00 malcolm riveting until last 1/2 hour. HAL steals the show. 3 stars
6/24/00 Jed Semi-promising start goes down with a mind-numbingly slow end. 2 stars
6/10/00 Mike Farwell Wicked special effects, quite the questioning ending, probally the best film I've seen! 5 stars
5/19/00 shawkin Perfect. 5 stars
4/12/00 Rear DeFrost An epic beyond the infinity. 5 stars
4/02/00 perverted pixie Mind meltingly slow, but undeniably a work of Genius. Hal is so freaky! 5 stars
3/26/00 Skye Chapman watch it on a big screen 5 stars
3/23/00 David Neumann Some of the most impactful, moving scenes ever devised 5 stars
2/23/00 Inti Don't get what they're trying to say 3 stars
1/09/00 John Markham If Kubrick was so good, why are his movies shit? THIS WILL SEND YOU TO SLEEP, DO NOT WATCH. 1 stars
12/18/99 Matthew Smith one of the most rivetting sci-fi films of all time. Kubrick is such a master filmmaker. 5 stars
11/19/99 Tyson Stewart It is a piece of art. It's a great experience that leaves you mixed up every time. 5 stars
10/03/99 Mark Cooper A movie whose narrative structure is more based around sound than vision. 5 stars
9/21/99 Fajar Adiwidodo I used to hate Sci-Fi, but this one is astounding. Religious, mystifying, yet logical 5 stars
8/10/99 Ted Wetzel Easily one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made. 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Haven't finished watching this, but AMAZING, ahead of time, great to look at. 5 stars
6/07/99 Elizaveta Ohhh DO you do it? 5 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam Sci-fi greatness. 5 stars
4/17/99 Ah Dooey Amazing sci-fi classic, narf! 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Super movie. 4 stars
4/13/99 Meepos There is no substitute. Nigh perfect filmmaking. 5 stars
4/11/99 Michael Grimm nothing to say but WOW!!! 5 stars
4/08/99 little jerry I first saw 2001 in 1969 when I was 9 yrs old.It was from that day I became a filmlover. 5 stars
4/07/99 Cool Thing The stuff of legends. 5 stars
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  08-Mar-2001 (G)

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