2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

Open the pod bay doors, Hal. 

2001: A Space Odyssey is above all, a sensory experience. There is much to say about the main ideas of the film, in how it grapples with humanity and our evolution, our place in the world, the effect of technology, and many other things. It is a film that’s been analyzed to death and then some. And yet, while I’ll probably be thinking about it for some time, I’m not racking my brain trying to comprehend it in its entirety. I’m not struggling to understand the symbolic nature of the events presented. 2001 is a trance... a feeling that washes over you. that is where you find the beauty.

While watching, specifically in the last act, I kept thinking about Fantasia. It’s interesting how Fantasia was re-released around the same time that 2001 came out, because there is an important point of similarity in these works. It’s you, the viewer, accepting being taken completely by the visuals and sound you see and hear; the classical music enveloping your environment while watching the colorful imagery that blends into one another and gives a psychedelic, hypnotic experience.  

There’s a sense of tranquility— the satellites moving within the vast space that inhabits them, the humans pictured in frames that boom with color and symmetry, overshadowed by the opulence that surrounds. I believe this may be an indication of the technology we create ending up being larger than us. We encounter all of this while Strauss increases in volume, and gives us this feeling of great triumph and uncertainty. 

2001 interestingly seems to me a product of its time in the experimental, contemplative nature of the film, yet absolutely transcendent and eternal. It is an experience I want to relive again and again, hopefully in a theater, where for 2 hours and 29 minutes, it can become my entire world.

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