Sunday, November 19, 2006
2001: A Space Odessey ****
2001: A Space Odyssey. To be blunt: I first saw this when I was 11, and hated it. I hated every single second of it. I nearly fell asleep plenty of times, and, watching it again, I'm surprised how many scenes I don't remember originally. The version I had rented was a video cassette, which meant it was "panned and scanned" or "full screen". Which means half of the movie was missing. I don't even blame myself for hating it - there are some films that just SHOULD NOT BE PANNED AND SCANNED. If you aren't seeing the whole movie, its just not the same. Films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Lawrence of Arabia contain incredibly beautiful visuals and deserve high attention for them.
More recently I saw 2001 on TCM.
I was stunned. Since I tried, and failed, so hard to understand the plot of the film last time, I just WATCHED it this time, and in front of me was one of the most beautifully constructed films of all time. The scene of the ship docking to Strauss can be watched endless times. Believe it or not, this might me one of the most entertaining movies of all time. Many films, after you see them a few times, lose interest because you know what's going to happen next. 2001 has no real plot, but it does have stunning visuals, and unless you have incredible photographic memory then seeing this film anytime is like seeing it for the first time.
True, there are some parts you can laugh at (whenever the monkeys get excited and start jumping in the air, I say "4 more years, 4 more years!" and that gets a laugh out of anyone nearby). But this is ultimately a beautiful film. Made 3 years before A Clockwork Orange, the films share a visual style that make them Kubrick's 2 best. Stunning, amazing to watch.
It's a film that, if taken simply at face value, can be admired for its beautiful face.