2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

The greatest films are the ones that force the viewer to bring their own interpretations, their own viewpoints, their own conceptions, their own feelings, their own emotions to the experience that is watching one of these films. There, the viewer and film enter into a kind of dialogue that lays bare the soul and heart of both person and object, story and life, sight and vision, auteur and participant; it is akin to a religious experience, one that affirms the life of both parties, and once it is over, the viewer is left craving for such a feeling again. And the best part about films? They can be savored again and again, and the greatest will never stale, never grow old.

This is one of those films.

Everything great that has been said about this film is true. From the stunning, still amazing special effects to the unparalleled scientific accuracy to the iconic villain to the pure set design to the alternatively classical and eerily modern music, this film justly deserves every last word of praise that has been devoted to it. At the same time tightly structured and highly minimalist, grand, yet intimate in scale, and an epic on all accounts. Among all of the other achievements that have been highlighted to no end, I'd like to highlight Dullea's and Lockwood's performances, which are far greater and more dynamic than their reputations suggest, clearly and effectively showing the astronauts' attitudes shifting from boredom to terror to determination. Indeed, I felt that the humans (specifically Dave and Frank) showed true emotion, unlike the conventional conception of the film.
The scene where Frank views his birthday message is one of the most heartwrenching I have ever seen.
I was struck by the fact that a) the most famous part of the Stargate sequence (the moving lines) is relatively short and b) the scene is murky in a way that evokes a heightened feeling of surreality, and indeed, terror.

There really is little left to say that hasn't been said already besides the fact that this is truly a serious contender for the greatest film of all time, and that even after all these years and innovations, this film will last for all time.

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