2001 A Cinematic Odyssey

A quick post about my trip to Broadway cinema to see 2001 A Space Odyssey, a trip I have just returned from.

2001 is An Important Film. It deals with lofty themes – the nature of man, our place in the universe, the fallibility of artificial intelligence. It does this via the liberal application of long long takes, accompanied by silence, heavy breathing or classical music. And then it assaults your senses over the last 10 minutes or so by engaging full acid trip mode. A journey through infinity, represented by a flashy lightshow, alien landscapes and warped space.

It’s something to behold. It loses a lot on the small screen. This is a big film, one that can’t be contained by TV. If you must watch it on TV, turn off the lights, draw the curtains tight. Recreational drugs can’t hurt but, er, I disavow all responsibility if you try that, ok? You can get into the spirit of it without tuning in, turning on or dropping off.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be sat in the room with the first wave of this film’s audience. Did they sit there, transfixed, popcorn held halfway up to slack lips? Did they wince and the screeches and squeaks of the soundtrack, so out of place among the beautiful musical pieces by the Strausses? Did they turn to each other as the credits rolled, boggled, asking “What the fuck did I just watch?”.

If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, I suggest you do so at your earliest convenience. It’s slow, occasionally a tad tedious, and very loud – but it’s beautiful at the same time. Haunting. Ephemeral. I found myself considering it almost as an excellent primer to the Cosmic Horror genre – the insignificance of man against a vast universe jumps out at you a few times while watching. Or at least it did to me. I may just be strange.

That last shot, though, I’d forgotten how creepy it is. Eurgh, I’m having nightmares tonight for sure.


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