E.M. Lees’s review published on Letterboxd:
When science fiction emerged to the cinema, it's often done with a sense of paranoia or sometimes, propaganda. Even as the 1960's arrived with the dawn of space exploration from NASA, science fiction was still not being taken seriously and was only used in B Movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space. Even as the decade was starting to close with the idea of man landing on the moon coming into fruition. Then in 1968, one film changed everything. Not just for the genre but cinema itself as it came from the greatest mind to ever grace the media, Stanley Kubrick.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick with a script written by Kubrick and legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke is a film with complex themes and huge ideas, it was a film that broke a lot of ground in terms of visual effects, production design, and such as Stanley Kubrick took the science fiction genre to new heights. It touched upon the idea of mankind being truly alone in the universe and forsakes the idea of a divine right as an will never stop advancing through evolution into infinity.
What makes a film like 2001 so compelling is the fact that director and co-screenwriter Stanley Kubrick decided to create a realistic portrait of outer space and such that doesn't pertain to what the genre expected. Instead, he reinvented the genre by creating something that demands more not just from a scientific level but also from a human perspective. We can view the film now with our knowledge and think, "Yeah. That IS what space is like."
Ever since I saw 2001, I grew a rather large distaste for every film I saw prior. This was TRUE science fiction, not kiddie stuff like Star Wars. This was pure and beautiful art. It is the film that turned me into a cinephile.
Then there's Kubrick's direction the ambitions he envisioned 2001, where he created a film that is truly sprawling and epic in its imagery, compositions, and imagination. From the look of the space stations, ships, moon bases, and such, Kubrick created a look that definitely seems realistic but also futuristic as if the idea of what the future could be. Some complain that the acting is stiff and emotionless yet they fail to realize this was Kubrick's intention, as he wanted to show how robotic humanity would become in the future in contrast to the AI HAL 9000, whose soothing and human voice is the only emotion in the film and is the closest thing to human we as the audience get.
The soundtrack is truly amazing and sprawling with Kubrick's choice of music that is truly unique. From Richard Strauss' classic "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in some of the film's big, climatic moments to "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss for some of the film's interior space sequences as well as the background music for the final credits.
"2001: A Space Odyssey" is a sprawling yet astonishing film from Stanley Kubrick and company. With great suspense, an amazing soundtrack, and spectacular visual effects and set designs, it's easily one of the greatest movies ever made. It is what introduced me into the fine cinema world, something that has taken full control over my life. It was 2001 that saved me; it was 2001 that showed me there is beauty in this world, in the form of cinema. That is why I thank Stanley Kubrick with all of my heart for the unbelievable impact he has made on my life.