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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Cast: Keir Dullea, Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, more...
Director: Stanley Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick
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Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Foreign, Science Fiction , UK
Running Time: 148 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
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This title is currently out of print.

Recently Rented By goodyerin

A mind-bending sci-fi symphony, Stanley Kubrick's landmark 1968 epic pushed the limits of narrative and special effects toward a meditation on technology and humanity. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's story The Sentinel, Kubrick and Clarke's screenplay is structured in four movements. At the "Dawn of Man," a group of hominids encounters a mysterious black monolith alien to their surroundings. To the strains of Strauss's 1896 Also sprach Zarathustra, a hominid invents the first weapon, using a bone to kill prey. As the hominid tosses the bone in the air, Kubrick cuts to a 21st century spacecraft hovering over the Earth, skipping ahead millions of years in technological development. U.S. scientist Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) travels to the moon to check out the discovery of a strange object on the moon's surface: a black monolith. As the sun's rays strike the stone, however, it emits a piercing, deafening sound that fills the investigators' headphones and stops them in their path.

Cutting ahead 18 months, impassive astronauts David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) head toward Jupiter on the spaceship Discovery, their only company three hibernating astronauts and the vocal, man-made HAL 9000 computer running the entire ship. When the all-too-human HAL malfunctions, however, he tries to murder the astronauts to cover his error, forcing Bowman to defend himself the only way he can. Free of HAL, and finally informed of the voyage's purpose by a recording from Floyd, Bowman journeys to "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite," through the psychedelic slit-scan star-gate to an 18th century room, and the completion of the monolith's evolutionary mission.

With assistance from special-effects expert Douglas Trumbull, Kubrick spent over two years meticulously creating the most "realistic" depictions of outer space ever seen, greatly advancing cinematic technology for a story expressing grave doubts about technology itself. Despite some initial critical reservations that it was too long and too dull, 2001 became one of the most popular films of 1968, underlining the generation gap between young moviegoers who wanted to see something new and challenging and oldsters who "didn't get it." Provocatively billed as "the ultimate trip," 2001 quickly caught on with a counterculture youth audience open to a contemplative (i.e. chemically enhanced) viewing experience of a film suggesting that the way to enlightenment was to free one's mind of the U.S. military-industrial-technological complex. ~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Class by itself by Texan99 September 5, 2010 - 1:09 PM PDT
Made from a story so slight that its 100-word synopsis would serve as a throwaway prologue to any respectable piece of real science fiction, this film takes off from its (largely irrelevant) source like a rocket. The director's famous emotional distance from his characters goes beyond clinical or chilly; it's as if he were viewing them from the perspective of a neighboring galaxy. That is, of course, except when it comes to the poignant A.I. HAL, whose brief story arc is one of the most economical evocations of inescapable dread and sadness I've ever experienced. "I can feel it. I can feel it." I've been watching this movie since I saw it open at the age of 13 forty years ago. It bypasses all my usual brain functions and hits me straight in the gut. I do miss Mr. Kubrick.

One of the most fabulous flicks you'll ever see by toddandsteph January 15, 2007 - 8:40 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Yet another of the flicks I hadn't seen that I really should've had my ass kicked for. I finished this last night around midnight, and I can't get it out of my head. The film's criticized a lot for being slow and too abstract, but when you sit down and actually examine all that goes on in the movie, you really end up listing quite a bit for a flick that's not even 2 and a half hours long. The script is meticulous, inoculating the rather simplistic story with so many heavy themes that I'll bet I'll have to see the movie about 10 more times before I finally can comprehend it all. However, as much as I value the well-written and ambiguous subject matter, that is not where my praise is concentrated. Where my praise is concentrated is on the immense technical achievements of this flick. Knowing who directed this gave me an idea of the prowess I'd observe, but nothing I've seen of Kubrick's could've prepared me for this. The compositions, effect shots, editing, sound design, everything. It's all so flawless and tasteful for the story at hand that it really leads you to understand why he'd be such a damn perfectionist (although I don't think he'd come close to this amount of achievement again). The last half-hour of this movie is one of the most progressive things I've seen in a film, and I hope that someday I can experience this sequence on the big screen. The acting is sufficient and to task, but like the writing, is rendered a bit less important in regard to the film's technical achievements. I've never seen a movie that SOUNDS like this one does. From the beautiful/haunting music that permeates to the breathing in the spacewalk sequences to the dizzying squeal that comes forth from the Monolith on the moon, the sound design adds as much to the film as the amazing visuals do. If someone could achieve this much in the 60s, why the hell are people using CG now? Surely, if such beauty and advancement are possible, making a man ride a stupid dragon couldn't be that hard. I think volumes could be written about this movie. I've already spent my emotions pouring over it, and I haven't even touched the ideas brought forth about God, the nature of man, the nature of technology, the possibilities of artificial intelligence (which is more pertinent now than it was then), and the wonder of the world beyond our reach. This is an absolute essential classic, and I urge anyone wayward like I was to see it because if some tragic accident should take your life, you'd be missing one of the greatest things any artist could offer. Kubrick really topped everything else of his I've seen with this film, and it's going to be hard to watch anything else of his without comparing it to the majesty that is 2001: A Space Odyssey. An absolutely certain ***** out've *****


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Village Voice's 100 Best Films of the 20th Century
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