2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★½

2001: A Space Odyssey, April 11 2021, 4.5/5 stars

I expected Space Odyssey to be technically impressive and "brilliant," but I also anticipated boredom, caused simply by the nature of viewing it over fifty years later and being unable to delete from my mind the dozens of movies that have since done similar things faster and with modern effects. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself so enthralled for essentially the entire film! Every setting had me intrigued to walk around the corner, to learn more about this future being exhibited. There was boundless creativity in each set.

HAL 9000 is entrenched in our pop culture — I knew "he" would be a fascinating presence. My expectation that he would be an all-powerful adversary was misguided, however, and I was actually far more interested to see his weaknesses so apparent. The final scene in which HAL is present was hyper-effective and burned itself into my brain... I loved it, and really had a noticeable reaction to it.

The act(s) involving HAL are what came to mind when picturing 2001 before watching it, but I think I enjoyed the preceding act with Dr. Heywood Floyd equally as much. I was relishing every leg of the "future space commute" and completely hooked on learning more about the enveloping mystery. William Sylvester as Floyd was my favorite performance; I found Keir Dullea's Dave to be a tad too unexpressive. This guy was having to make some tough decisions! — it was hard to feel their weight at times with just how stoic he remained.

Unfortunately, the ending did not leave me completely satisfied. I'm basically just a monkey with a bone hammer, so I'm not smart enough to fully digest it. I think it's safe to analyze that this is somewhat intended; even with the millions of years of human advancement demonstrated in 2001, some things are still incomprehensibly far from our understanding. It was not a bad ending, only one that didn't resonate with me as much as the rest of the film. It would not sway my high recommendation of this classic.

My Mind is Going | Kubrick Ranked