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2001: a Space Odyssey

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: 2001: a Space Odyssey

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Rated: G
RunTime: 138 Minutes
Release Date: April 1968
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Cult

*Also starring: William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

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Review by Brian Koller
3½ stars out of 4

"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 cinematography.

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 finale.

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

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