2001 : A Space Odyssey

“Audiences either loved it or were confused, but everyone agrees that it was important.”

God help me. What the hell am I suppose to do with that film? Is it a masterpiece or a bore? Could it be both? In a way, it’s great. It’s impressive, and it looks like a classic. The storyline is very ambitious, telling the story of life from the Dawn of Man to the future, in space, near Jupiter. The direction of Stanley Kubrick is brilliant, the camerawork is inventive, there are countless beautiful shots…. The special effects are excellent for the time: it looks like space… But… the editing! It’s so slow! I think it’s the most actionless, even motionless film I’ve ever seen!

At first, it’s interesting though. The Ape stuff is very cool. Then, you’re in space: classical music, spaceships moving sloooowly… Not that bad. Then, in the ships, a bunch of actors that are all similar: British and boring. They talk about stuff… no one cares. Hey! In space, you float! People float, how exciting… Still, some “no gravity” stuff is cool, like when Floyd runs across a room… Anyway, it continues, some dudes go on the moon and find a monolith… They stare at it for a long long time, there’s some annoying noise… and we cut to 18 months later. A ship is heading for Jupiter. Very slowly. Some men are hibernating. Yada yada yada, technical crap.

Two guys are awake: Dave, and that other guy. And there’s the computer who talks, HAL. They’re in the ship, nothing really happens. They play chess. They watch boring TV. HAL tells them that something is broken outside the ship. The action begins? Hell no! Dave or that other guy goes outside and brings back a piece of machine. In the ship, the two guys look at it… it seems normal. Did HAL, a so-called perfect computer, make a mistake? They talk about it and think about disconnecting HAL. HAL hears that and decides to get rid of them. One of them returns outside, and HAL somehow screws up his spacesuit. Suspense! Dave goes outside to save his partner. It takes a long time, but it works. Dave now wants to get back into the ship. “HAL. Open the door please. HAL. Please open the door. HAL, open the door. HAL, open the door. HAL, do you read me. HAL, do you read me. HAL, do you read me. HAL, do you read me…”

Finally, Dave gets in the ship by another entrance. He wants to disconnect HAL. It takes ten minutes, during which he plays with some chips while HAL blabbers on:

“Dave. I’m sorry. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid. Dave, I’m afraid …”

HAL finally shuts his mouth. The ship then arrives near Jupiter. During a long time, lights, colors through the screen… After a while, Dave’s ship gets into… something, there’s endless silent shots of metal walls… Then he’s in a room, at a desk… It kinda looks like a 17th century room and… a bubble comes in, we see the monolith again… Okay, I know my description is messed up, but so is the film. Anyway, it ends on a shot of Dave (or is it?) back to a foetus, in a bubble floating in outer space. Okay, now I get it… not!

“2001” is kinda great, but it’s so boring! Screw it, I ain’t even gonna rate it. Rent the flick and figure it out for yourself!