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Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey back to reviews
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One of the great science fiction classics
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the iconic Science Fiction films of the 20th century, and one of the most painstaking in terms of its attention to detail and verisimilitude, soundly averting Space Does Not Work That Way. It's also one of the classic Sufficiently Advanced Aliens stories, featuring all the tropes that audiences have come to expect — Precursors intervening in human evolution, mysterious alien artifacts, Alien Abductions — but in a way that was new and revolutionary for the time. Moreover, it has perhaps the most well-known example of AI Is A Crapshoot ever committed to film in the murderous rampage of the HAL 9000 computer.

The trouble is that all of this comes at the expense of watchability, especially if you are the kind of viewer with little patience for extremely long establishing scenes, a dramatic lack of exposition to explain the odder plot elements, and an ending that's a complete and utter Mind Screw for anyone who does not read the novel (and in some cases even then). On the other hand, it can be a lot of fun to explain to your friends how Hollywood Science has made Reality Is Unrealistic into such an art form with science fiction movies that someone watching 2001 for the first time in this day and age might actually be startled and even disappointed by, for example, the lack of sound in space. You'll also enjoy the touches of Zeerust, such as the Pan Am space shuttles, Bell space telephones, and the Hilarious In Hindsight political state of the world.

However, your greatest challenge will be simply to understand the plot.
I remember reading the sequel Odyssey 2010. The book is essentially one long explanation of what happened in 2001, which seems to defeat the whole point. You're damn right about the extremely long establishing scenes; I figured that had Kubrick hired a strict editor, he would have probably knocked the film down to 30 minutes in length.
comment #852 maninahat 19th Aug 09
Please note that we have a page for 2010: The Year We Make Contact, and I added a review there too.
comment #854 Fighteer 19th Aug 09
However, your greatest challenge will be simply to understand the plot.
Not if you read the book.
comment #856 WilliamWideWeb 19th Aug 09
I liked the movie a lot more before I read the book. I enjoyed not really knowing what happened at the end — somehow, the uncertainty seemed to add to the emotional impact, for me. The way the book explained everything was a very "meh" moment for me. Mystery can be a great thing after all, Mind Screw or not.

It's definitely not for everyone. But being slow paced doesn't make it difficult to watch if you like that sort of thing, which some people do. I loved it. No fast-paced ray gun battles, no space fighters whooshing around, just calm, beautiful shots of realistic spaceships travelling on a suspense-filled, frightening journey through realistic space. That, for me, made a huge impact. The Birds wouldn't have worked as a short action flick, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou would not have worked as a short manga, and 2001 would not have worked as anything other than the slow-paced, enigmatic Mind Screw that it is.
comment #903 girlyboy 29th Aug 09
I haven't watched the movie. I liked the book because of the concepts it presented.
comment #907 WilliamWideWeb 29th Aug 09
The plot is simple enough even without the novel.
comment #1673 bluehawk2008 15th Jan 10
Ok, then, bluehawk, will you please explain it to me (and others?) ',:|
comment #1883 75.171.145.75 18th Feb 10
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