2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Movie Review

image courtesy: MGM

The first evidence of intelligent life on earth, a black monolith was discovered buried in the depths of moon. And men realized that it was deliberately buried more than 4 million years ago. For whatever was its purpose, five men will have to find out, that is if they'd succeed in arriving at Jupiter's space.



This film starts out pretty weird. I have to wait more than two minutes for the black screen to register colors, that is until the old logo of MGM projects. I would have thought my copy was broken if it were not for the background sound. Moreover, what's up with the 2-minute intermission midway on the film? The intermission is the same intermission number at the beginning. If there's anything I appreciate with the blackness, that's the ending where there are no more credits to roll but Johann Strauss' The Blue Danube plays on until it ends. Okay, I think that the music tries to set the mood for the audience.

The Intro

I tried to rewatch this film with my sister as this movie blew my mind and I wanted to share that experience. My sister didn't last long as she argued that there is nothing to appreciate in this film. She already judged the film before it even had the chance to get good. I understand where that feeling came from. It's from that part of the Dawn of Man. She couldn't understand that bit one bit. And let me break it up to you with this question:

Why such long intro with the monkeys (or marsupials or ape or whatever you think those species are)?

I think that in this film, they are supposed to be men's predecessors. The intro was very long (especially the first 5 minutes sans the musical intro) to establish that there was already a civilization among "monkeys" albeit being animals. And this one is important: they have their own group or preferences. You saw how they were fighting over a little oasis for water.

One group got their fill of water and then they slept.

The next they knew... a black monolith landed in their territory. There was a little upheavel and the curiouser touched the monolith. The next day after that, the camera panned into carcasses of bones. Suddenly, this curious one got hold of a bone, played with it and discovered that it could be used as a weapon. So the next time the other group tried to steal water into his group's territory, their opponents got a beating.

The lesson that can be learned from that is that... the monolith has upgraded these particular group of monkeys' IQ (particularly that curious one). That's only how far I'll go with the intro.

The Computer 9000 Series

If humans are to put emotions to AI-functioning machines, they had to put in consideration that they shouldn't include in these emotions: selfishness, despair and jealousy. And that the greatest emotion that should run on these AI computers should be heroism and that human life should be the top priority for after all, the machines were made for human utilization. Sure, the AI is important to complete the mission and the mission should be its top priority. But the AI (Hal) here puts himself above others, and he jeopardized the mission for the sake of himself.

The only AI I could think that is the most reliable and rational one especially when it comes to human life is that Queen from the Resident Evil series. Yes, she mutilated a number of people at the beginning but whatever she did was necessary to avoid the outbreak of a deadly virus that would harm all the lives of mankind. Sure enough, this is what I felt that's elicited by the film but I also knew the reason why Hal had been acting the way he was. And that has been told of from the beginning of the film, the epidemic that spread at Clavius that sets off with Communications malfunctioning, and certainly of course the thing that has already been said with the "monkeys".

And then Commander David Bowman was finally able to disengage Hal from the ship's system. And the black monolith was seen floating in Jupiter's vicinity. And then Jupiter together with its satellite aligned themselves and lastly, the monolith. And that's when all hell break lose. Suddenly, there's an explosion of colors and then that dark feeling. I'm certain that without reading anything about this film (like I did), no one would understand what everything of that was all about.


All I could say really is that, whoever has written this film (that could probably be Stanley Kubrick himself) was just like me. I hate whatever that feeling this film aroused especially commencing with that explosion. It's like one of those dreams I'm having... First, there will be this static sound and then the chorus of different voices as if from below the ground. There will be like some kind of helix feeling and then the matrix-like vision with different colors and the burst of electric-like veins. And then I'd be in that kind of matrix space, somewhat looking like the visualizations in music players, with the only way out at the center. Or with the hole at the center where I'd like to go into or come out of. And then I'd float in space, seeing all those planets and galaxies, and stars with their lives beginning and then ending.

But what I hate about them most? Those times when I have to fly from one bodily figure or energy concentration to another. I had to go on swirling and swirling inside of them. And then, I'd be just up there watching as these huge star or planet sets off with those energy 'draperies' flowing from it purl about it. And then this high concentration of energy from the center go on whirling inside, pulling me closer to it. And then I'll be sucked in. And would realize that it's not where I'm supposed to be. I'd have this sudden feeling that I want to go home.

What's worse? When I'm having these dreams, I wouldn't even remember who I was, that I was a human from earth. So then I had to pull away from it and I'd be seeing lots of dense energy balls with various colors. Usually, I'd select the black ones. I'd swim to one of them and come out to another one in another space or dimension. I have to go through that endless cycle of swimming through different heavenly bodies of energy. There's this feeling of fear all throughout- that feeling of uncertainty of what could happen next and be lost forever.

Sometimes, I'm scared the most when this really huge heavenly body approaches me, trying to engulf me in it and all I could sense is danger. It would grow bigger and bigger as it comes near. And I'd be crying there, feeling all so alone and helpless, and I'd miss home. That's when I would remember God. And I would find the appropriate star to get inside to, usually when I turn my head around away from that monster, that will lead me to the Solar System. And then I'd be transported to another space where from afar, I'd see Earth and I'd swim towards it and then I would wake up.

If you can't understand what I'm talking about, you better watch this film and be repulsed by the visions and the thoughts and emotions elicited by this film. Or be awed if you feel like to.

1 Comment

  1. This is one of my absolute favourite movies of all time. I love it, and well done reviewing it... not sure I could articulate as well as you have!


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