50 years on, 2001: A Space Odyssey is still far from being forgotten, as a cinematic feat or as a visual masterpiece.
While I’ve never been much of a fan of the story-telling devices employed by Kubrick in the second half of the movie (honestly, HAL’s the only thing keeping me interested), 2001 is undoubtedly successful in its attempt to be shrouded by a veil of mystery not unlike the plot-driving monoliths.
In many ways, it can even be argued that 2001’s greatest strength is that it was never truly meant to be a single movie driven by the narrative presented, but rather a tapestry of varying and conflicting ideas of man’s place in the progress time, and no matter how far we reach, our curiosity of the greater is only a reflection of our binding primitive origin.
Of course, when it comes to the works of Stanley Kubrick, anything negative is often the result of his intention.
Unlike a vast majority of movies today, 2001 was famously written as a film and as a book simultaneously. While the movie had its roots in Arthur C. Clarke’s previously published material, it only really took form in narrative prose the same time as the screenplay was coming together—an endeavour that was mostly the combined effort of Kubrick and Clarke.
And it’s the one time where saying “I preferred the book” may lose you geek cred.
As one would expect, creative differences between the two resulted in significant difference between novel and film, but clearly Kubrick’s vision must have left some form of a lasting impression on even Clarke, as the latter chose to write the sequel as a continuation of the film rather than his own interpretation.
While there is a certain poignance in witnessing a projection of man’s future from 50 years ago, it’s all the interesting to be watching what is now our past, 17 years removed.
Released a year before the USA’s legendary moon landing (and 9 years after the Soviet’s unmanned achievement), 2001: A Space Odyssey exudes the awe and amazement mankind once held in regard of outer space. But more importantly, it carries with it the hope that man’s curiosity and desire for self-understanding will forever drive our journey further into the reaches of the unknowable.
Unfortunately, sitting here in 2018, we’re left less with A Space Odyssey, and more of Mars Attacks!
Hopefully, the 4K remastered edition currently playing for a limited period will reignite man’s desire to seek answers to questions beyond a toupéed Annoying Orange.