As part of the BFIs Days of Fear and Wonder, a series of sci-fi screenings across the UK, my local cinema (Garden City Cinema) held a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I cannot stress how much this film benefits from being seen on a large screen. The film has very little dialogue, it’s all about the visual, the sound and at times the somewhat sinister lack of sound.The majestic classical music suits the awe of space, truly epic in both scale and design. The film has been digitally restored and looks crystal clear, again another reason to see it in cinemas, this print is stunning.
The special effects are often referred to when discussing 2001 and with good reason. This film was made in 1968, Star Wars was nearly a decade away and yet A Space Odyssey has special effects that are mindblowing. It never ceases to amaze me just how creative people like Douglas Trumbull, the films special effects supervisor, had to be to create the stunning visuals that to this day are still discussed and revered.
As for the film itself, it is in all sense of the word; art. Kubrick himself refused to disclose what he felt the film was about. He wanted everyone to come to it on their own terms, he’s quoted as saying “I don’t like to talk about 2001 too much because it’s essentially a non-verbal experience. It attempts to communicate more to the subconscious and to the feelings than it does to the intellect.”
When released back in 1968, 2001 polarised audiences and critics alike. While some found the film baffling and slow, others felt that this was huge achievement for filmmaking. Today it is highly regarded as one of the best films ever made, Spielberg calls it his film generation’s “big bang” and is consistently represented in top film lists across the world.
There are still screenings of 2001: A Space Odyssey happening until March next year, you can find details of your nearest participating cinema here.