Adrian Alexander’s review published on Letterboxd:
*** Part of Lise's "Hal’s Birthday – watch 2001 on Sat Jan 12 2013" project ***
Started watching around 22:00 CET. Consumed a moderate amount of a technically illegal but generally accepted recreational drug. Been several years since my last viewing, I was looking forward to it.
First thought during Dawn of Man sequence: "The history of Man is grand."
What if the monolith wasn't supposed to do anything, except being there? I mean, the mere existence of something so alien, so geometrically sharp and unnatural must have been a huge shock to the Ape Men, possibly a jolt of wonder so strong that it got them thinking, expanded their capacity. And per proxy, what if the monolith stands symbolic for everything that we do not understand, or cannot even grasp and much less categorize? I'm thinking art, miracles of technology, the soul. These things come into the world unexpectedly, and boggle the minds of spectators and scholars alike. Impenetrable, a challenge, a great frontier.
The special effects are still amazing for the time the film was made, but some of them look a bit dated now. Not much of a surprise there, but something I realized for the first time.
The "Introduction" and "Intermission" parts are super eerie and convey a strong feeling of disorientation and shift in perception.
One thing I'm thinking every time watching this: If it takes seven minutes for the radio signal to reach Discovery, and seven minutes for the response to reach Earth, how did they conduct that interview? Did they pre-record the questions in bulk? Because, it sounds like a back and forth exchange to me. Just wondering.
How stoic Bowman and Poole are the whole time! There is only the slightest hint at emotion from Bowman, when he lets Poole drift off into space, and then again when HAL denies re-entry through the pod bay. Otherwise, these two are even colder and less human than HAL.
The trippy ending sequence was a bit much for me this time around, I spaced out and forgot what I was watching. Might be the intended effect though. I loved how Bowman was shaken with awe and bewilderment.