Oliver’s review published on Letterboxd:
2001 is a movie all about evolution. As an introduction, It showcases man at it's lowest and most underdeveloped point, as monkeys. We see how the invention of a hammer, slowly but surely evolves the species into space travel, and much other things. Stanley Kubrick's "goal" in his cinematography was to make every still frame look like a painting, or a photograph, and it shows. Take any still, from almost any Kubrick film, pause it, and it could be easily mistaken as a photograph, or something you would hang on a wall. That's why it hardly ever changes angles while it's in a shot, and why it's long, silent shots go on for longer than they do in most films. I hate seeing people bash this film, because it helped me overcome depression in a time that I needed it. 2001 is a movie that attempts to make you think, rather than to entertain you. It focuses more on underground aspects rather than aspects such as dialogue, and character. Instead of character, it gives you performance, instead of dialogue, it gives you sound. The sheer quality put into both of those aspects makes this a film unlike any other. Even unlike Kubrick's other work, look at Full Metal Jacket, or The Shining, I adore those films, but there's no denying that they don't make you think nearly as much as 2001: A Space Odyssey. The best types of films are the ones that make you think, that stick with you, that leave some kind of impact on you. And that's exactly what 2001 does, better than any other film.
Coming back to what I said earlier, 2001 is a film about evolution, above all, it explores humanity's origins as well as it's future, and for that reason 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most intellectual film of all time. the fact that the film takes place in the year 2001 is irrelevant. The fact that the film takes place is irrelevant. The point is, everything that takes place in this movie, is a method for how humanity's curiosity will be the up rise of their evolution. Speaking of, I think the characters coming off as lifeless, and obscure, but I think that intentional, because there's hardly any arguing that this film's protagonists achieve what can only be described as a metaphor for humanity's everlasting curiosity and fear of the unknown. The sheer profoundness in it's score makes it not only the best film I've ever seen, but the best I've ever heard. Every scene with music is equally matched by how magnificent it's practical effects are.
Lastly, a good old 2001 review would be nothing without talking about HAL-9000 and the Monolith. HAL-9000 is what happens when humanity puts too much trust into it's technology. I'm aware that in it's sequel the motivations of HAL-9000 are touched upon, however it's clear that that's not initially what Kubrick and Clarke had in mind. Kubrick never liked the idea of A.I, and HAL was supposed to be a representation of how Artificial Intelligence only ends up being our downfall, rather than our up rise, which is what the monolith is supposed to be. The monolith influences the apes to have leaders, to invent things like hammers, possibly to evolve into a new form, that being a human.
I like to think that the monolith was invented by a higher form of being. Ones that saw how mainstream and commercial human being had become, and sent them down the monolith, which would hopefully evolve them into yet another higher form of existence. And it did exactly that. We see at the end Dave has become a God of some sort. A higher form of existence. And that's the plan for what the human race will become. Or maybe now he's their leader. Watching over them so they don't get too carried away with their technology.
That's it. That's my review.