The Spaced Out Odyssey

2001: The Space Odyssey – It’s called the greatest science fiction film of all time by many. Made by Stanley Kubrick, ( my favorite film director ) and released in 1968. I remember seeing the film for the first time during the eighties, and it wasn’t so exciting then. Perhaps it was too slow and required more development of art appreciation sensibilities.

When the era of the DVDs arrived a decade later, it again found its way to my collection, and then saw it a few times as the twenty-first century began. The computers had taken over communications and the internet drove business and entertainment, with the distant drums of the arrival of AI being heard.

Then like a true work of art, it started to open and reveal its prophecy and commentary on the human relationship with technology and its impact. Over the years, I think this movie and its message will become more and more relevant as humanity as a race becomes more and more dependent on technology.

t2001: A Space Odyssey has very little dialogue ( nothing is spoken well into 25 minutes into the film, and nothing is spoken for almost half an hour before the end of the film) A range of long, lingering wide-angle shots, a favorite of Stanley. It begins with human history, the search for human purpose, and makes a comment on human potential in the future. It has many interpretations for the intellect has imbued us with greater power of knowledge and destruction, capable of propelling us into the far reaches of the Solar system and probably beyond. On the flip side, we have also become capable of destroying humanity and being enslaved to the technology we create with our own hands.

For years there were a lot of debates and mystery that surrounded the black monolith that kept making its appearance periodically in the movie. Almost Godlike presence without an explanation, it’s there for everyone to speculate upon. For those. mostly of the younger generation who haven’t seen the film, I am not going to be a spoiler by giving much of it away. In any case, words do not do any justice to the visually spectacular experience that this is.

In 2018, a remastered 4K UHD version was released for home theatres, to honor its 50th anniversary. Probably, the next big release will be when they release a 3D version of it in IMAX theatres when it becomes technically possible and financially viable. When they do, I am headed to it. The next best alternative is Jeff Bezo’s commercial space flights.

Art Noor
Art Noor
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