2001: A Space Odyssey

1968, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Hailed as one of the greatest films ever made, Stanley Kubrick's masterwork is still endlessly analyzed and scrutinized. It's true that 2001 is a monumental achievement; it's hard to believe it predated Star Wars by nearly a decade, with effects that still hold up well even today. Kubrick's obsessive adherence to accurate science is also admirable—no ray guns or bug-eyed monsters here. But while the studied pace is certainly refreshing, it still tends to d-r-a-g, and the classical score feels just a bit, well, snooty, for lack of a better term. And then there's that mind-bending ending—the one that some claim works best while tripping on LSD. Here I must point out that the lengthy, gratuitous visual effects seem more like an excuse to show off some neat new optical tricks (specifically the slit-scan technique). I won't deny its greatness, and I truly admire many of its qualities; I'm simply not as enamored of it as its fervent followers.

       

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