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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)

At the dawn of man, a group of apes discover a giant monolith. Millions of years later, the same monolith is discovered buried beneath the surface of the moon. Shortly thereafter, a spacecraft is on its way to the planet Jupiter with its true mission only known by the ship's computer HAL 9000. Nearly 50 years after its original release, it's difficult to convey the enormous impact Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece had on 1968 audiences. Sadly, I don't think a film like this would ever get greenlighted today. It's too cerebral and Kubrick's precise pacing is too methodical for today's audiences swooning over the latest Marvel action adventure. The movie's special effects while cutting edge for its day, now seem rather simplistic. Yet for some of us, it hasn't lost its power to captivate with its still unanswered questions about where we came from and where we're going. It's not the kind of movie where the acting matters at all. While the bland Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood are nominally the movie's "stars", the true star of the film is Stanley Kubrick himself. This is a director's film all the way. The computer HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain) is a wonderfully scary creation and his dismantling by Dullea is both tense and touching. A true masterwork of the sci-fi genre. With William Sylvester, Robert Beatty, Leonard Rossiter and Margaret Tyzack.  

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