2001: A Space Odyssey

I watched this about 1970. As a dumb teenager I thought it was great.

Tonight I tried to watch it again. The funereal pace drove me insane- I gave it aay after an hour.

Is this movie good, great, or way over rated?

I’ve had both experiences with it. Visually it’s stunning, and a big screen helps you get lost in that. There are some interesting ideas in there. But, the plot is way slow. It was considered slow in the golden era of slow plots. So I think you have to be in a certain mood.

To answer the question: it’s a great movie, if only for the visuals.

It’s a bit different, not bad, but suffers from too many fans and detractors simultaneously promoting and putting it down.

I watch this film about once per year, it’s one of my favorites. I don’t feel it’s too slow paced, if anything more films should be paced like this.

Oh god, no. Mr. *Le Directeur *wanted everyone to see his incredibly awesome special effects. At length. Interminably. The blunt ond of the stick is that they aren’t that special, and are not that hot today. I tried watching this movie, but there’s nothing to effin watch for the first hour. There is no plot, there are no actual characters, and nothing happens of note.

That’s part of the charm. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t so much watch the film as experience it. I’m also a fan of the original Solaris and Paris, Texas, both of which may be considered slow paced. While I certainly wouldn’t want all films to be like this, I find that slower paced movies are more emotionally fulfilling than the fast paced films that have taken over modern cinema.

There is no such thing as slow-paced or fast-paced, there is only appropriatepacing. 2001 does not have it, as the movie takes vastly too long to communicate what is, essentially, an extremely simply idea, and then commits the unpardonable sin of not communicating it very well. Kubrik stopped everything in the movie in order to do “something,” but it would have been easy to run the mvie parallel to those bits.


The plot is shoestring, it’s more about ideas…and BIG ideas at that. How many films take classical music to ennoble the visuals on screen. Usually the use of classical music is used to cheapen what happens on screen.

I’ll argue some of the comments here. In regards to pacing, Kubrick want’s us to take in and reflect on what is happening throughout the film. Think of it as more of a meditative experience. We exist outside the film, rather than within it like most movies.

The plot is almost secondary. In fact I think it’s a shoestring for the ideas presented within the movie. The essential theme is will man evolve beyond his tools? A lot of the slowness of the movie focuses on the “tools” (spaceships etc) so we reflect and consider.

It may not be your cup of tea, but I was thrilled with it when I first saw it when I was 15, and I still love it today at 26.

I can admire the movie for what was at the time a great a tremendous technical achievement. But other than that, it is so god damn slow that I really have no desire to ever see it again.

A great movie, one of the best ever made – but it really matters what medium you see it in. With a good 70-mm print projected onto a big screen, it’s almost overwhelming, and timeless rather than lengthy. On a small tv, it just doesn’t work the same way.

Great. Absolutely great. I concur with the recommendation to see it in 70mm; that’s the only way to fully appreciate such a visually-oriented movie.

I’ve seen it once, about five or six years ago. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The opening of the movie, where not a single word is spoken for about 20 minutes or so, is one of my all-time favorite openings (up there with “Once Upon a Time in the West.”) It only started getting a little “out there” for me once the third part of the movie–the acid trippy part–began. But it seemed to make sense in context, and reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel years later, it made even more sense of what was going on here. I thought the movie was thrilling and exciting from a visual and cinematic standpoint. I was not at all disappointed by all the hype (whereas I found “A Clockwork Orange” less than worthy of all the praise.) I’d say 2001 is Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece.

I think you misspelled “…under the influence of kind green bud.” :smiley:

I kid. Sorta. I think it’s a great movie that will only be loved by cinema geeks now that we’ve raised an entire generation in fast paced blipvert moviemaking. Yes, of course it’s slow. It’s all set at roughly the pace of the hominids in it - it moves quickly only when they do, and slowly when they’re slow and deliberate. It doesn’t impose an artificial energy or urgency to them in order to keep our adrenaline pumping for 2 hours.

Still, I love it. I might fall asleep while watching it more often than any other movie I love, but I still love it.

I saw 2001 for the first time on the IMAX screen at Chicago’s Navy Pier, and it was really impressive. On the small screen, there’s at least one lengthy sequence near the end that seems to be there just to give you time to go to the bathroom, get a snack, clean the kitchen, and call your mother, but on the big screen it’s hypnotic.

Anyone who felt the beginning of the movie is too slow is never going to make it through the ending, and is probably bound to be disappointed that the final scene doesn’t really explain or resolve anything. But if one isn’t up to watching a movie that has long sections with no dialogue, no real characters, or a clear plot, I think the middle portion (the HAL part) would stand alone as a worthwhile science-fiction film. I also think that most of the special effects have held up quite well.

Most? I think they still represent the pinnacle of sci-fi effects. The models used are so much more convincing than any of the CG atrocities they used these days.

It’s not just the effects (which were awesome in its day and, in my opinion, still are). This was the first science fiction movie that really communicated the awe and majesty of the ideas, yet didn’t feel puerile. The space ships looked like the lineal descendant of the space ships being built when it came out. (and still do, top my mnd. The Pan Am “Orion” Space Clipper looks like a future-generation Space Shuttle) To my knowledge, it’s the first film to feature realistic-looking ships, with all the rough edges and paraphernalia hanging off them, rather than sleek aerodynamic forms. It’s one of the very few films where outer space really IS silent, and the ships really do move the way they should in zero-g and airlessness, instead of swooping around and gliding like atmosphere ships.

But the pacing is glacial. The attempt to present ideas is really confusing. Harlan Ellison had lots of nasty things to say about its inability to communicate its ideas when it first came out, and I have to admit he’s got a point. Still, I think 2001 is light years ahead of just about every other movie in translating the feel of good literary SF to the screen. To my mind the only competition it has is Forbidden Planet.


I saw 2001 for the first time on a big screen in…probably 1974 or 75 with my father, a big fan of Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, et al from the 50’s and 60’s. I was probably 10 or 11 years old at the time.

It blew my mind. Yes, I could tell that the early hominids were people in chimp suits, but better chipm suits than I’d seen in film up to that point. Even without dialog I could see their desperation of living in a desert during a drought, the connection between their ‘invention’ of weapons, the importance of adding meat to their diet and the connection between their story, Dr. Floyd’s moon visit and the Jupiter spaceflight.

YES. they looked like updated Apollo craft. At the time I saw it, the Apollo missions were coming to an end, Skylab was in orbit, and the Space shuttle was in early planning phase. All the hardware in the film looked possible. Dave Bowman looked like a young version of the Apollo test pilot astronauts.

Dave powering down HAL9000 was an emotional experience for me, but I did find the “Star-Child” sequence slow, confusing and indulgent. Then again, I was only ten years old. Yes, it was slow-paced by today’s standards. different era, different pacing. Still one of the best films ever made. Say what you will about Kubrick, he made at least three of my all-time favorite films. (2001, Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket)

The reason I said “most” is because of the bit toward the end with the “alien” landscapes. See the last three images in this 2001 gallery. I don’t know what it took to produce those effects at the time, but it’s something a kid could do with Photoshop today.

I think everything else is great.

My biggest impressions from 2001 was the feeling of loneliness. When we first see the Discovery along with the music and the eerie silence demonstrates to me just how vast silent and lonely outer space really is for human beings. I think 2001 should be thought of as a Rorschach test, what emotions do you feel while viewing the film? How does it make you feel?

I wasn’t super-impressed by the images Lamia linked to, either, including the 4 just before that. I saw the movie in 1969 when I was 18, and those effects were polished versions of psychedelic imagery common at the time.

But the movie blew me away, anyway. In great par that was due to its use of classical music which I loved. And that’s serendipitous, because it was very late in the production that Kubrick chose to use that music instead of the score composed for the movie. Alex North, the composer, didn’t know that until he saw the movie at the premiere.