2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

Kubrick's masterpiece of filmmaking is so daunting that it is nearly impossible to fully appreciate on a first initial viewing. Thus personally speaking from experience on this rewatch (which I believe is only my second time) after so many years that I am finally ready to accept this film among the top echelons of cinema mastery.

2001: A Space Odyssey is not only Kubrick's best film in an already immaculate resume but it stands in my opinion as the most ambitious film project ever conceived. And still to this day after more than forty years it mesmerizes audiences in its scope and Kubrick's ability to bring such a mammoth to life. I know for me during this rewatch I kept a sharp eye throughout on trying to dissect how Kubrick pulled off so many of the realistic effects. From the authentic ape suits with movable jaws and facial designs to the gravity defying lap around the space control room I felt myself always on a lookout for answers. Some things are more clear than others like for instance the scene with the stewardess walking upside down was probably just a spinning tunnel on set with the camera set in one place. So no matter how much of the film's disapproval from its detractors (mostly due to ambiguity and incoherency in plot) may be I would think its blatantly obvious that the movie contains such innovative filmmaking technique that it should be deemed a classic for that fact alone.

However besides the film's intentional ambiguity to invoke any sort of philosophical interpretations from the openness in the material, the film is fairly easy to follow in what is shown straightforward in plot. Kubrick and Clark respectively explore the evolution of man and insert the mysterious monolith as the driving force for their progression. This much is clear now whether the gift of evolution is received as a blessing or curse is another theory as what immediately comes with the evolving intelligence is the birth of violence. Like the evolution of man, violence evolves as well. It is encoded in our DNA and the only thing that balances it out is the weight of our own morality. This descendant gene of violence is seemingly passed over to man's creations forever advancing in incomprehensible ways. This explains HAL-9000, the future of evolved violence.

Again this film can be interpreted in so many ways that the possibilities are endless. The monoliths whether godly or alien represent a omniscient force that play a hand in the fate of mankind. They too witness the progression of man and we as humans are drawn to it in discovery of our own unfathomable origins and the knowledge of what lies in the great beyond. Essentially that is what our whole evolution process is about, to advance to a point we are not content with our current existence and obtain the capabilities to seek out the explanation for our existence. Maybe this was the monolith's goal all along, waiting for man to evolve to a stage where it can find and unveil the secrets to the universe.

The ending or final act of the film with the travel into the infinite is one of the most transcendental film experiences I have ever had. A phantasmagoric kaleidoscope of colors unraveling time and space breaking the unbreakable barriers leaking dark matter into the deeper unknown. Once arrived in the mystical and absurd room at the edge of existence it serves almost as a place of purgatory awaiting to ascend to the heavens. Man evolves once more and perhaps given that our biological matter already consists of "star dust" we make a full circle in our biology to return to the stars and be presented with the iconic star child. A celestial being that could represent any of the deities of major religions. In essence a strive forward to be god-like and obtain a purity that all humans seek. The last (or maybe not) stage in our evolution.

I am glad that I rewatched this now after so many years. I always was aware of its brilliance and magnitude but it took one more viewing to convince me that it is indeed one of the greatest films of all time.

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