As the sun comes up on the African prehistoric savannahs, a tribe of early humanoids are driven to a watering hole that is part of the territory of a rival tribe. They have a confrontation but both tribes leave with no casualties. When a strange monolith appears on the plains one of the tribes is influenced and changed by its arrival, moving them forward in evolution.
Far into the future, Dr. Heywood Floyd is Chairman of the United States National Council of Astronautics when he travels to Clavius Base, one of the lunar outposts, to see the cause of the rumors that something has caused an epidemic on the base. What he discovers is an artifact that was buried nearly four million years previously, a large monolith identical to the one that the early humanoids were exposed to.
Eighteen months later the US launches Discovery One, a spacecraft that is bound for Jupiter to study the surrounding area, planet, and moons. The high-tech space station is mostly powered by a computer called HAL, short for HAL-9000, that has been programmed with human characteristics to assist Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole, while the other mission scientists are in a state of suspended animation.
When HAL begins giving them errors about the ship (an antenna is broken but it really isn’t among other things) the scientists begin to fear that HAL is what is malfunctioning. What do you do when a giant, humanoid supercomputer has decided that you are the problem on the ship? And will they survive both the computer itself and the mysterious monolithic structures that have appeared all over space? And what exactly do they want?
-Genre: Science Fiction
-Creator: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
-Length: 142 minutes
-Rating: G (for mild violence and gore, very mild language, moderate frightening and intense scenes) – Noted that this movie was released in 1968 so take the rating as you will…
-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library
-Main Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Douglas Rain
-Page of Reference in RP1: 107
Review (contains spoilers):
So im trying really hard to look at this from the perspective of the 1960s when the film was created and not from a 2021 viewpoint of scientific films…
Regardless this film is trippy. I’ve watched it several times over the years as it is considered a real classic, pure, science fiction films. One of the greatest of all times. And for all of the very iconic parts of it like HAL and Dave, the interactions of the ship and the incredible cinematography its just really not my cup of tea.
It is a super cerebral film. And very much fits with the time it was created in but I struggle to stay focused because of the long stints of silence, odd story telling method that starts in the prehistoric era and then moves into the extreme future, millions of years from where we are now, yet so much of it is inherently stuck in the 1960s..and not just the set design of the spaceship which they totally did what they could to make look more futuristic.
The juxtaposition of the lighted floors and neoclassical architecture in some scenes is off putting but not in the way I think they were going for…it almost seems comical not alien and strange.
Overall, I just don’t feel like I appreciate what Kubrick and Clarke were trying to do with this film and book duo (which were written and filmed simultaneously but more on that here: 2001: A Space Odyssey the Novel Review).
It’s a decent science fiction film and definitely worth a watch if you want to see where we started and where we ended up…but its just trippy throughout the whole thing…