Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

2001: A Space Odyssey

When I heard that there would be a print run of 2001 this year during its 50th anniversary, I got very excited.  This was one of those movies I always wanted to see in theater.  But as the summer went on, there was still no word from my local theater that this was going to screen in my city.  I was disappointed, to say the least.

The other day at the pub, I expressed this disappointment to a couple of my buddies.  As we were talking,  my friend Lloyd became curious and looked it up on his phone, only to learn that in fact yes, it was coming to town, and was airing at the IMAX the next day!  My eyes shot open in surprise, followed by the question “You wanna go?”

Seeing this movie on the giant screen with the massive IMAX speakers was outstanding and an experience that, as a cinephile, I’m very appreciative I was able to have.  I felt the rumble in my seat with the timpani beats in the opening title, as the camera panned over the moon to see the earth and the sun.   I had to rub my ears after the monolith screech inside the lunar excavation site.  I stared transfixed as the wacky light-speed images enveloped my view, with those eerie sounds humming through the auditorium.  There was even an intermission during the intermission break!  It was a little too long, but oh well.

In a theater meant for 300, there were only about 20 of us in there, but what else did I expect I suppose?  I could feel the unease of some of the younger audience members during the many very slow shots of various spaceships and crafts landing or docking.  But I kind of just had to say screw it, and enjoy the moment on screen.  Besides, I was just happy to see so much youth at this screening in the first place.

After seeing the movie enough times, I mostly have the main ideas worked out and understand the progression of the plot.  But what really makes this great is the discussions that the ambiguity of the film provides.  A crucial part of this film experience was going out for a drink on the next block with my friend afterwards, where we had a chance to talk about what we saw.  We talked about both the logical plot points as well as the deeper philosophy behind everything.

We discussed whether or not time actually went that fast for Dave in the white room, or whether he lived out the rest of his life there and the progression of looks was just an artistic way to portray that.  Then my friend mentioned the idea that maybe it was all moot, as the point of that was the meaninglessness of time for him once he reached this place.

We then went through the motivations of HAL where we talked about this programmed objective and how he met that. This led into the bigger idea behind his self-awareness being the next step in evolution and how this connected to the apes in the beginning.  We talked about lots of these ideas that the film had.

And that’s one of the strongest reasons 2001 is such a masterpiece.  It may be confusing, it make be crazy and cryptic, but its not nonsense.  Everything is there for a reason.  This is a masterpiece, to be sure; one which I am happy to have finally seen, and heard, on the big screen.


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