2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★½

2020 Film Diary, Entry #66

“I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”

[A 149-word review of a 149-minute film]

“HAL” is usually associated with the iconic, ominous red circle, but what strikes me is that this circle is set within a black rectangle, somehow associating HAL with the black monoliths that haunt the film. The first monolith, appearing at “the Dawn of Man,” sets in motion a process that will end in another monolith. The original monolith incites one of the apes to create the first tool, a weapon for killing, and when HAL kills Dr. Poole and the hibernating crew, the evolution of man and his tools is complete. The tool can now replace its creators, not only because it can kill them but also because it has as much personality as they do—a low bar to clear. All the humans are eerily stiff, suggesting that mastery of the elements has come at the cost of de-evolution. But no, I still don’t understand the ending.

CONTENT: Accomplished screenwriting/storytelling (4)
CRAFT: A masterclass in filmmaking (5)
REWATCHABILITY: I want to watch it again (4)
RECOMMENDABILITY: Recommended (4)
RATING: 17 points = 4.5 stars = Excellent film

P.S.: This could have been called 2001: A Space Ballet.

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