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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) ****

Dummmm Dummmm Dummmm DAH DUMMMMM!!!!!!!


(Sorry, I had to do that.)


2001:  A Space Odyssey is not my favorite Stanley Kubrick movie (that would be The Shining) but from a technical standpoint it’s his masterpiece.  Kubrick combines breathtaking visuals (the Star Gate sequence is still one of the coolest looking things ever put on film), with stunning special effects (incredibly they still hold up forty years after the film’s initial release), an awesome soundtrack (Dummmm Dummmm Dummmm DAH DUMMMMM!!!!!!!), and unnerving sound effects (Dave’s constant heavy breathing in the spacesuit is damned eerie) to create a truly unforgettable movie-going experience.  It’s definitely one of the best films of the 60’s; if not of all time.


I probably don’t need to give you a plot crunch of this one but I will anyway.  This giant black monolith (it looks like a big ass Nestle Crunch bar) shows up during the “Dawn of Man” (Dummmm Dummmm Dummmm DAH DUMMMMM!!!!!!!  Okay, that’s probably getting annoying.  I apologize.  I’ll stop that now, I promise.) and turns some scared, leaf eating apes into bone-wielding meat eaters.  Millenniums later, astronauts find another monolith on the moon that points them in the direction of Jupiter.  While on the mission to Jupiter, astronauts Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) have to contend with a homicidal computer named HAL (voiced by Douglas Rain) who flips his lid and tries to kill everybody.  Only Dave survives and he alone enters the monolith where he gets turned into an enormous Space Baby. 


This flick is completely devoid of human emotion, which is kinda odd but it completely works.  (Years later, Attack of the Clones would achieve a similar feat.)  Instead of engaging our emotions, Kubrick opts to challenge our grey matter by not clearly spelling everything out, like most space operas do.  It’s this kind of approach that makes the film ideal for multiple viewings.


Another thing that makes 2001:  A Space Odyssey so timeless is that it has a little something for everybody.  If you want a highfalutin thought-provoking science fiction movie, you got that.  If you want a pulpy Killer Computer Runs Amok Movie, you got that too.  If you just want to drop acid and trip balls, you can do that as well.  Mostly though, 2001 is pure unadulterated Stanley Kubrick firing on all cylinders.  Amazingly enough; Kubrick’s next film, A Clockwork Orange is even better.  


2001:  A Space Odyssey is on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of the Year for 1968 at the Number 2 spot; which puts it right in between The Kiss of Her Flesh and the Number One titleholder, Night of the Living Dead.



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