A daring experiment in unconventional narrative inspired by Arthur C Clarke's short story "The Sentinel", 2001: A Space Odyssey is a visual tone poem (barely 40 minutes of dialogue in a 139-minute film) that charts a phenomenal history of human evolution. When Stanley Kubrick recruited Clarke to collaborate on "the proverbial intelligent science fiction film", it's a safe bet neither the maverick auteur nor the great science fiction writer knew they would virtually redefine the parameters of the cinema experience with the result. From the dawn-of-man discovery of crude... but deadly tools in the film's opening sequence to the journey of the spaceship Discovery and metaphysical birth of the "star child" at film's end, Kubrick's vision is meticulous and precise. In keeping with the director's underlying theme of dehumanisation by technology, the notorious, seemingly omniscient, computer HAL 9000 has more warmth and personality than the human astronauts it is supposedly serving. (The director also leaves the meaning of the black, rectangular alien monoliths open for discussion.) This theme, in part, is what makes 2001 a film like no other, though dated now that its post-millennial space exploration has proven optimistic compared to reality. Still, the film is timelessly provocative in its pioneering exploration of inner and outer-space consciousness. With spectacular, painstakingly authentic special effects that have stood the test of time, Kubrick's film is nothing less than a cinematic milestone--puzzling, provocative and perfect. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com [show more]
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