"2001" is probably the most original film ever made.
It is so different from conventional films that,
in fact, it may be a different art form altogether.
Even the very best films, such as "Casablanca",
"Rebecca" and "Chinatown" have formulaic elements.
In contrast, "2001" is in its own world, as if
all the movies made before had never existed.
While director Stanley Kubrick has made even better
films ("Dr. Strangelove" and "Barry Lyndon", and
perhaps others I haven't yet seen), "2001" will
always be the most impressive, just for its
originality and audacity.
The film has four parts. The first section is the
dawn of man. Man-apes are taught to use tools and
kill by an imposing black monolith. In the second
part, a second black monolith is found buried in
the moon by astronauts in the year 2001. This leads
to a mission to Jupiter by another team of astronauts
and a talkative, emotional computer named Hal.
The final and most surreal part has astronaut Dave
traveling to the infinite and beyond.
"2001" opened to mixed reviews. Many critics were
(and perhaps still are) put off by the lack of
dialogue and character development, the slow pace,
and surreal imagery. "2001" is a story told by
cinematography, with much of the meaning left to
the imagination of the viewer.
The film's significance was not lost on the Oscar
committee, however, which awarded "2001" Best
Special Effects and Best Art Direction. Kubrick
was nominated for Best Director, and the film
was nominated for Best Writing. It is odd that
the sparse script was nominated instead of
The most developed character in the film is Hal,
a computer that is more emotional than the
robotlike humans that accompany him on the
mission. The confrontation between Hal (voiced
by Douglas Rain) and Dave (Keir Dullea) is the
most interesting part of the film, more so
than the increasingly bizarre and unfathomable
Trivia: "2001" took three years to film. Supposedly
there was 200 times more film shot than was used in
the final version. The little girl in the telephone
video is Kubrick's daughter Vivienne.
Copyright © 1998 Brian Koller