Let me begin by taking you back to the beginning of this project. 2001: A Space Odyssey was originally in my first month--"Space/Sci-Fi"--but it didn't arrive in time from Netflix. Because of this, I had to switch it out with the only other film that made sense to switch it with. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was originally, obviously, in the "What A Twist!" Month, but it also worked with the first month of the project. That being said, 2001 came in from Netflix immediately after I originally needed it... and I've had it ever since. That's right, this little piece of work has been sitting on my coffee table for 6 months, relatively untouched, waiting for this moment. And now that moment has arrived.
Troll 2, which I'll be reviewing later this year, is known for being the "Best Worst Movie." I can honestly say, even by the time I was less than an hour into 2001, that this is the "Worst Best Movie." After 3 minutes of blackness and music, about 7 more minutes of landscapes and music, another 15 minutes of monkeys (and/or early human species) and music, a random monolith (which shows back up later) and music, and another 35 minutes of random space travel and boring talkie stuff (sometimes with music), we reach the hour mark of the movie when the "story" picks up. Humankind is studying this strange monolith thing, along with a computer system HAL. And other really boring crap happens, too.
There are 2 things this movie excels at: Visuals and Music. Let me start with the visuals. The visual effects are mindblowing, and I found myself questioning how Kubrick pulled off a lot of stuff. But everything visually--practical and otherwise--definitely holds up. The soundtrack, of course, is fantastic, as well. But with its reliance on such a classical track and minimal talking, there are some obvious issues that arise. The movie is awfully dull, despite some fascination on how things were pulled off. There's only so much you can take with almost nothing going on for 2.5 hours.
The HAL stuff is definitely interesting. But, of course, that's the part that is most famous. It's the most quoted or referenced bit. It's mysterious and creepy. It also leads into the movie's "twist," which is why it fits into this month. But at the same time, it's still pretty dry and not supremely fascinating. Still, it's the best part of the movie (once things start going bonkers).
On the other hand, there's absolutely no reason to show us every single second of movement and whatnot. There's a reason movies and books tend to skip over scenes of the eventless, menial tasks of everyday life--sleeping (that's not horror or romantic), going to the bathroom (that's not a comedy), quiet meal times (that aren't filled with dramatic tension). I've always dreamed about going into space. But if there were a movie that could possibly make space travel unexciting and actually stop the child-like wonderment of being an astronaut, it's this one. Congratulations, Kubrick. You've made the "eventless scene" movie and killed my childhood dreams in the process.
So this is my summation of the film: The first hour of the movie is a dry Sci-Fi Fantasia with "talkie" interludes and without the charm of Mickey Mouse and dancing hippos. The second hour of the movie is like taking the music out of a techno song, leaving only the monotone, pointless, repetitive babbling. And the last 20 minutes? Um... God had an orgasm, ejaculated Tron, got pissed at how crappy it looked, destroyed the universe in an effort to get rid of the evidence, took some LSD, and remade everything--though with a slight uncertainty on what to do with Dave. That's about the best I can explain it (sorry if you found that offensive). You want to see what a more entertaining (and sensical) version of this movie would be like? You're in luck. It's called WALL-E. Check it out.