2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

Predictable score, yeah, but holy shit dude 2001 really is that good. 

I don’t even know where to start. I’m fifty years late on this movie. Everything I’ll say will be old news. And even then, this’ll just sound like every other one of my five star reviews: “everything is amazing, acting, direction, writing, blah blah blah”. Instead I’ll say this; I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm. It was transcendent. A screen bigger than my house in a ‘1920s movie palace’, as the theater I went to refers to itself. Booming sound and perfect visuals. What’s with me and having such incredible theater experiences recently, by the way? Have I been blessed? It’s nuts and I can’t keep up.

This film, despite currently celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, could’ve been released today and I would not have been able to tell. The practical effects consistently bamboozled me and genuinely made me think “how in the world did they pull that off?”. The film is absolutely beautiful, the shot composition and colors (which surprised me in how colorful this movie is) are delightful to the extreme. Extreeeeme. No one can move a camera like Kubrick. The direction here is so good that a simple docking sequence was just as riveting as a fight sequence from something like The Raid 2, which I saw yesterday. It’s befuddling. This movie should not work as well as it does. A majority of it is quiet, somewhat static shots of space, an environment aboard the ship, or just people talking. It should be boring by every expectation, but Kubrick makes it work. There’s a reason he’s known as a master.

I don’t even know how to structure the next part of this review so I’ll just lay out some spare thoughts:
- “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” is one of the best sequences ever put to film. It’s fucking bonkers from beginning to end. Those 12-ish minutes need to be experienced on a big screen. Please, if you’re reading this and it’s playing near you, go see this in 70mm. It’s worth every penny. 
- Special shout outs to the set design. 
- The use of classical music is pretty fucking neat and inventive, despite hearing these tracks many times in subsequent films inspired by 2001.
- Douglas Rain as HAL 9000 is probably some of the best voice acting I’ve ever heard. Especially in the scene where he sings. 
- Since this film is so influential, I felt like I had already seen many parts of this, like it was a second watch. Nothing to the film’s detriment, but still something to note.
- I have no idea what any of it fucking means. Obviously some stuff on evolution and humanity, but this’ll be one to dig into the themes and stuff on future watches.

If someone calls 2001 the greatest film of all time, I wouldn’t argue. It’s not my personal favorite, not even close, but it’s pretty objectively fantastic. I’d understand it holding that title, at least. I’m definitely gonna be looking at the moon differently now.