Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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2001 is one of those films that you either love or hate. I don’t see many being in the middle. Letterboxd users are obviously on the love side, but there are so many average moviegoers who can’t stand this film. I remember watching this (for the first time) in one of my film studies classes in 2014 (my freshman year of college). There were plenty of people who scoffed at the idea, and they ended up rejecting the film, but I was mesmerized with the experience. It was before I had even attempted a review on YouTube, but it got my movie-loving juices flowing. It’s a slow-moving film for sure, and it isn’t one that would even necessarily work today on the level that it did. Kubrick takes his time in almost every aspect, as this film feels like it plays out in real-time (it does for the most part).
The fact that this looks better than most movies we get today is insane. It obviously isn’t matching up to the modern Sci-Fi greats, but we have to keep in mind that technology has advanced (just a tad bit) over the last 50+ years. The fact that he pulled this off that long ago is revolutionary in every way. You’re in a constant dream-state while watching, and the technical achievement will go down as the greatest of all-time. The fact that some believe he staged the moon landing should make a case for how revolutionary it was. Not only is this a visual feast for the eyes; but the sound is hypnotic. From the iconic theme during the opening, to the subtle breathing in space; there are so many moments that will give you chills. Obviously it’s a spectacular movie, but I can’t quite say it’s perfect.
It is slow. Now that’s a lazy criticism, but it occasionally becomes too slow. It’s also one that will leave everyone baffled when it comes to the ending. I have my thoughts, but everyone feels slightly different about what those final few scenes represent. While it represents the future in a very different way from what we ended up getting; it’s fun to go back and see what the mindset was back then. We have, in some ways, exceeded those expectations (cell phones instead of what they used), but we have also fallen short (the obvious space travel). It’s all so fascinating. It’s hard to place this in my top (30) movies list because it isn’t necessarily one I have the urge to revisit all that often, but it may require me to expand my list to 50 so it can get its due. It is in my top 50 for sure.
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