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January 2001


2001: A Space Odyssey
Rated: G

CAST: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Douglas Rain, Leonard Rossiter

DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick


The film has four parts. The first section is the dawn of man. Man-apes are taught to use tools and kill by an imposing black monolith. In the second part, a second black monolith is found buried in the moon by astronauts in the year 2001. This leads to a mission to Jupiter by another team of astronauts and a talkative, emotional computer named Hal. The final and most surreal part has astronaut Dave traveling to the infinite and beyond.


Critics hated this movie when it first saw theatrical release. Audiences - particularly hippies high on acid dug the psychedelic special effects scene at the end and thus made it a box office hit. Years later, one would be hard pressed for a critic who admits to disliking this film. It has made the so-called "canon" of critics' favourite films.

But how does this film look today, almost 30 years later, to audiences weaned on the special effects wizardry of Star Wars and its ilk? Except for perhaps a midnight showing at some obscure cult cinema, audiences are also unlikely to see the film as it is supposed to be seen: on the BIG screen.

No, it doesn't look as good on video or television as it should. As far as special effects go, it pales in comparison to Star Wars and many films made afterwards. Sure, some of the ‘Sixties fashions look terribly dated. Okay, there are some terribly slow moving bits that will drive audiences crazy.

Is it a good movie? Of course! 2001 has survived for the same reason it made such a splash back in the late 1960s: its bewildering and wilfully obscure screenplay. The story (or lack thereof - depending on whether you liked the film or not) drove critics to distraction. What is Kubrick trying to say? What is the message? Who knows? But this is the kind of movie that will give audiences plenty to talk about afterwards - something few of today's formulaic films can manage. For this alone it is worth seeing.


2001 is pure unadulterated sci-fi and there's nothing like it and probably never will be again . . . and that includes 2010, the 1984 sequel to it!

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