Blu-Ray: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)

For some reason, I was starting to think that I overrated this. I was getting annoyed with people who compared every new, good science fiction film as being the greatest one since 2001. I was annoyed that it was topping so many Greatest Ever lists, and that certain parts of it kept showing up as homages in so many movies, like Wall-E and Magnolia, among hundreds of others. Now, while I think everyone does need to leave it alone already, seeing it with my mother of all people (she had never seen it before), I am reconvinced of its brilliance.

Watching my mother, reclined in a loveseat for the entire film, close the recliner and sit up to the edge of her seat when Dave enters the white bedroom at the end, made me notice that no matter how much one favors Hollywood blockbusters, and no matter how many science fictions films that one has seen, this film is still new and captivating to anyone seeing it for the first time, because it is so inimitable. Granted, when the star shild faded away into the credits, she looked at me and said “Thanks for showing me…that…honey” and then “Now explain the whole thing.” She didn’t get any of it, and asked me after I explained what I think happens how I ever got that from it, but I didn’t get it either after I saw it for the first time, either.

There were shots that I never questioned before and now finally noticed as being almost impossible, and the pacing felt as brisk as it ever has. I even used to sympathize with people who thought it was boring. I was reading a review by critic Armond White of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in which he compares the ending of that film to the appearance of the star child. I read the review before seeing the film, and when I saw it I thought ok, I can see it maybe. It’s an interesting comparison because it made me think about the idea of the universe aging backwards. I don’t know, but either way, this film makes me feel tiny.

2 thoughts on “Blu-Ray: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)”

  1. Patrick asks – Why do people feel tiny after climbing a mountain: 1) the panorama is overwhelming (doesn’t seem to overwhelm birds, tho), 2)it’s a religious experience (can’t seem to get one in chapel) or 3) don’t know what else to say? The universe doesn’t make me feel tiny but able and somewhat learned in sensing and trying to understand it. I’m not shooting for ubermenschen here, just comprehension.

  2. Blake Williams

    Hi Patrick,
    I have not climbed a mountain, but I don’t know that I would feel tiny after doing so. If I could conquer something so grand, might I not also feel quite large? I feel tiny when I am in New York City, because I realize that the world is much bigger, and contains much more space and inhabitants, than I am aware of when I am just going about my daily business in Houston, Boston, or Toronto. This is because all of this space that surrounds me that is usually empty is taken up by mass that I can use to sense more realistic proportions of everything. The final moments of this film invite me to acknowledge my proportion to everything else that there is, anywhere. Tininess is an understatement.

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