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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)

Article 3446 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-12-2010
Posting Date: 1-20-2010
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Featuring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Landmark science fiction movie

The discover of an alien artifact on the moon prompts a space mission to the moons of Jupiter.

This is one of those films that I dreaded covering for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it's one of those movies that has been endlessly discussed elsewhere, making it highly improbable that I will find anything new to say about it.  Furthermore, since I've already seen it several times, I found myself wondering whether I'd be able to see anything new myself.  For the record, the movie is considered a masterpiece by some, and highly overrated by others; I am of the former group.  If I could sum up the main reason for my admiration of this film, it is that it tackled a science fiction story as sophisticated as much of the written work of the time, and does so without sacrificing the visual aspect of cinema instead of descending into a series of long stretches of dialogue trying to explain the concepts.  This does render the movie difficult to understand, but it's far from impossible.  That being said, I must admit that some sequences do tend to get dull on the umpteenth viewing; the trippy passage through the star gate comes to mind, and certain other scenes rely quite a bit on your affection for the classical music to keep your attention.  But my favorite sequences are still intact, most of which occur in the third section of the movie; there's the chilling moment when you realize that HAL can read lips, the ominous movement of the pod right before the death of Poole, and the shutting down of the computer.  Of the things I noticed for the first time on this viewing, I observed that the structure is quite interesting in that the second and third sections of the movie don't reveal their connections with the early sections of the movie until the end of that section.  And perhaps my favorite observation this time was that Frank Poole and Heywood Floyd have conversations with family members about birthdays, and, given the ending of this movie, I now recognize these scenes as being subtle hints about the movie's end.

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