2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★★

2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece of cinema. The gorgeous symmetry-based cinematography, inspired production design, the mind bending pre-digital special effects, the heart pounding score and the expert pacing of the film make it a once in a lifetime Sci-Fi experience.

That’s what this film is, an experience. Everything in the film is so meticulously crafted that it doesn’t even feel like a film. The special effects are integrated so seamlessly that they aren’t even special effects. It’s all just imagery and sound your brain is processing as you venture out into the unknown with the protagonist.

It has to be one of the most gorgeous films ever made. The bright colours juxtaposed by the darkness of space make for great visual contrast. The symmetry of all the shots is so meticulously crafted that it’s a visual feast for the eyes.  

The cinematography and the production design melded together flawlessly, working complementary with one another to bring Kubrick’s vision to life. It’s realistically futuristic, and everything in the environment around the characters is utilised and has functionality. This further establishes the world and where it’s at technologically.

The editing in the film is immaculate. Kubrick knows how to utilise the Kuleshov effect. We’re made to fear this little red dot on the wall just by how the film cuts to it in the edit at certain times. There’s a scene where the film goes completely silent and the edit cuts to ‘Hal’ 3 times, each time cutting closer to the red dot on the wall. It was truly terrifying to watch thanks to the editing that established the sinister context for the inanimate object. There’s also the famous match-cut edit of the ape throwing the bone into the air that transitions into a spacecraft, showing the advancement of mankind technologically.

The pacing in the film is incredibly slow and steady. The filmmaking is mature, in that it trusts audiences to stick with the film despite it’s slow nature. This pacing allows imagery, tone and atmosphere to really play out and have time to breath. It gives spectators time to make connections and soak up the environment of which they’re in. 
This helps to contrast moments where the film does get more intense and things get out of control, making the film all the more anxiety inducing in comparison.

The sound design is phenomenal. Space is so beautifully established with it’s abrupt silence. Every beep, breath and movement is felt, and is so organic to the environment of the film.

The score is inspiring and iconic. It perfectly accentuates the feel of the film, and the themes of exploration, the great beyond, the abyss and the dawn of time.

The final large segment of the film is an unmatched feat of visuals, score and editing that creates a specific feeling of wonder unique to each spectator. Kubrick makes the first meeting of mankind with extra terrestrial life truly special. 

A masterpiece.