Skipped the office christmas party tonight and ended up going to the Broadway in Nottingham to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey. A film I’ve known about since I was about eight or nine, instantly associated with the brass and timpani of Richard Strauss (Also Spake Zarathustra). Since I read Barry Norman’s 100 best films from the school library, I’ve followed his advice to not (“DO NOT”) watch it on a television and wait for a cinema run. I walked up to the screen room rather excited to see this film (which doesn’t often happen), I’ve kind of been waiting twenty years for it.
Wise advice, it is quite an experience. It’s enigmatic to say the least: it’s an play in four acts, none of which follow into each other and which are linked by the present of the monolith, a perfect rectangular cuboid which is left behind by extra-terrestrials and has some influence on the human race, from the beginning of the species, to the attempts to trace it back to Jupiter. The plot and themes, which cover an evisioning of a mature space exploration period and also of the presence and influence of artificial intelligence.
There isn’t much drama here, but what there is is very tense (such as the two astronauts face up to the fact that HAL is playing with them). Visually, this is beyond question one of the greatest films ever made – the production: the realisation of the environment, the space craft and station, the staggering pre-historic and the moon excavation touch perfection. And Kubrick’s visuals, it goes without mentioning, are without equal.
So, in summary, not a disappointment.