I confess that I was not looking forward to this movie. I remember watching it in college and finding it very pretentious, self important, and often just plain boring. So it was with some trepidation that I popped the Blu-Ray into my PS3 and proceeded to watch the movie. Well, I watched most of it. I confess that I fast forwarded through parts of the musical prelude and the laser light show acid trip that would probably send half the population into seizures. There, now that I have that out of my system we can jump into the movie.
Should this film be considered a classic? I think so, but not for it’s story telling prowess. “2001” is a polarizing movie. Some people think it is a work of pure genius and others think it is self important tripe. I tend to think that, at least as far as the story is concerned, it is heavy handed tripe. That said, I was truly amazed as I watched the movie at how incredible the set pieces were and how good this 45 year-old movie looked. Kubrick and his crew designed some absolutely incredible set pieces. When you watch the movie it really feels like you are seeing authentic spacecraft and everything seems very functional. Kubrick did this without the luxury of CG and I think the movie is better for it. The movie also has some great camera work with unique angles and lens choices. I loved how the movie made an effort to portray how up and down would all be relative in a weightless environment and how a spaceship could be designed so that the what was “up” in one room might be the floor of another room. There was some great thought that went into making the technology in this movie realistic. All that to say, I would still consider this film a classic, but not because of its story (which is disjointed at best) or acting (though the acting is more than acceptable), no, this is a film that I appreciate more for the incredible technical achievement it was. I can definitely see how this movie paved the way for the likes of Star Wars more than a decade later.
Would I own this film? No. This is not a film I really enjoy. I appreciate the technical merits of the movie, but the story is just not engaging enough to keep me interested. Sure, parts of the story are interesting, but as a whole it just doesn’t work well. Kubrick purposely designed a slow and deliberate movie with pacing that often feels jerky. Some people like that and call Kubrick a genius. I can see and appreciate Kubrick’s creativity, but I think he could have made a better movie if he had not made it feel so self important and preachy.