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Old 8th September 2022, 03:06 PM
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MacBlayne MacBlayne is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Japan
Default 2001: A Space Odyssey


To say 2001: A Space Odyssey defies conventional plotting is perhaps putting it lightly. Itís not that the sci-fi epic abandons the notion of plot, but with its metaphorical imagery and elliptical storytelling, itís clear that Stanley Kubrick had grander ambitions.

Charting the dawn of humanity up until the next major leap for mankind, 2001 invites the audience to ruminate on our history, our philosophy towards life, and what does all that mean for our future. Itís a film that demands as much from us as we expect from it.

Kubrick raises many questions, and although he and co-writer Arthur C. Clarke provide enough to ensure you are not lost, they have little interest in providing conclusions. 2001 is not the first, nor the last film to embrace ambiguity, but it pushes abstract fiction into another league. At least for a mainstream release. The final act is bound to engage as much as it enrages the audience, with Kubrick taking the symbolic storytelling to new heights. Many have debated what is meant by the finale, and I think they are missing the point. What is definite by the end is that humanity is about to make a massive leap forward. Whether that is good or bad is less about what Kubrick thinks, and more about what you bring to it.

But even if you do happen to be one of those who are turned off by the conceptual narrative (hello, Demdike), you surely can admit to the striking imagery and audacious editing within the film. 2001 is awe-inspiring. Marrying then ground-breaking special effects, futurism, and 60s minimalism with classical compositions, 2001 carries the viewer into a surreal journey, at times terrifying, at times satirical, but always astounding. From the monumental leap of the first tool to a satellite, and the nightmarish journey through the stargate, 2001 never fails to be visually stimulating.

I will say this much Ė throughout my childhood and teenage years, I hated this film. I enjoyed Kubrickís other films, but 2001 always left me cold. My mother loved it, so it was a frequent staple growing up, but I never gelled with it. It wasnít until I was 21, up late after finishing a college essay, that I caught it on TCM at 2am. And thatís when the film clicked for me. My brain was too wired to try and make sense of the imagery unfolding in front of me. I simply surrendered to the film, and it was so much more rewarding. 2001 has depth. It is a mirror of you. Only when you stop trying to analyse what Kubrick was trying to say, and accept your own reflection, will 2001 make sense. And maybe thatís the greatest odyssey of them all.
"We're outgunned, and undermanned. But, you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind."
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