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A flawed vision, but a beautiful one
Everyone knows that 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. However, I don't think people are able to articulate why, me included. The plot is not particularly complex. The characters, with the obvious exception of the HAL 9000 supercomputer, aren't anything to write home about. The film is glacially paced, with some scenes serving no purpose but to waste time; the board meeting establishes nothing new and gives barely any characterization to the people present. Yes, the special effects are amazing, but as any science fiction purist can tell you, "special effects can't make a film". Apparently, the long scene of a ship docking into a space station with no importance beyond eye-candy doesn't count.

Yet despite these flaws, when 2001 works, it works. I believe the incredible special effects immerse the viewer; there is no tongue-in-cheek feeling of fakeness in 2001, and it all feels very real. The pacing, when it is not just showing off special effects, can allow for some of the most tense atmospheric buildup in movie history; the scene where the men approach the Monolith on the Moon is more terrifying than any horror movie I've watched. It is no wonder, then, that the chapter on the Jupiter expedition ship is the most famous out of all the movie's sections. It has the incredible special effects, the atmospheric buildup, and the setup of the previous scenes, yet it adds one key element: An interesting character.

HAL is brilliant. It's very hard to describe why it works so well; maybe it's the machine's unrelenting pride, a flaw that we all can sometimes face. Maybe it's the character's desperation as we see this all-powerful supercomputer reduced to pleading for its life. Maybe it's the way that HAL is so blunt and methodical, killing the hibernating explorers with the ease of swatting a gnat.

That is why I love the film. For all its flaws, the creators had a vision, and they were going to make it happen. And when this film does reach its vision, up until the unfortunately obtuse final chapter, it works perfectly.

"Yeah. I'd like to hear it Hal. Sing it for me."
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I dont know why people like it.
OK. Flameproof pants on.

I don't like this movie. One bit. Well ok, I like it two bits. But here is my problem. This film is the genesis of the genre of films I hate the most, and the fact that it does so via being arty rather than explody is no defence. This is the dawn of the special effects drenched plot-less epic. A huge amount of this film is made up of protracted special effects scenes, 3 minutes watching that space ship, 4 minutes watching that other space ship, 2 minutes watching landscape images, a further minutes watching monkeys. The characters are as shallow as a pancake and the plot is as substantial as damp tissue paper. And people even use these facts as praise for the film. Nevertheless there are two things I love, and one of them could even be used to build a film.

The first was the use of the bone at the end of the prehistory chapter. It is a metaphor for human development that really works. In my opinion, because it is the only one where the intention is clear or even decipherable, it is the only metaphor that works in this film.

The second is Hal. I freaking love Hal. If first, he has a character. Every human in this film has at most a single note character. But Hal, Hal asks some really interesting questions about humanity. Hal, despite the fact that we all seem to remember him as just a monotone voice and infer from that an emotionless character, displays a range of emotions quite likely caused by him being too good a computer. If the film had been about the crew locked in with Hal as Hal's nascent personhood caused him to become scared, confused and angry, probably with the addition of other characters who would be able to examine Hal in more detail, this would be my kind of film. Tense and interesting while still allowing the exploration of a genuine theme, if this film is meant to lead up to the question "What is out place in the world?" why not ask it via the emergence of another sentient life by our hands? You could even compare their dilemma at Hals actions with God's/The Universe's at our if you wanted.

I did not enjoy this film save for one character and one piece of imagery, however I would advise people to watch it if they are interested. While I don't think it makes sense, indeed that was the part of the aim apparently, it is notable and plenty of people seem to enjoy it. If only I did
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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.
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