Stanley Kubrick’s epochal sci-fi epic returns to the big screen as part of the BFI’s Days of Fear and Wonder series, and after all these years it remains a trip well worth making. Expanding on Arthur C Clarke’s short story The Sentinel, this leaps from the dawn of mankind to the space-age (via one of cinema’s most striking editing juxtapositions) and beyond, transporting viewers from the world of science into a stargate full of symbolism and spectacle.
Throughout, the human cast remain strangely faceless, playing second fiddle to the music of the cosmos (from Strauss to Ligeti) and the voice of Douglas Rain who brings depth and pathos (“Daisy, Daisy…”) to the role of the computer HAL 9000, the film’s most unexpectedly sympathetic character. It’s an overpowering experience, awe-inspiringly photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth, groundbreakingly enhanced by Douglas Trumbull.
(Above review courtesy of Mark Kermode)
I saw this film when it was first released and was blown away by the imagination and concept that Stanley Kubrick had displayed in translating the story onto film. Along with the special effects by Douglas Trumbull which even today, with all the CGI available, have never been bettered. Watch the 10 minute sequence of the rocket ship making its way to dock at the space station to the sublime Blue Danube music of Johann Strauss.
It is by no means a perfect film and I can still remember arguing with my friends over 40 years ago about what the ending of the film was about and particularly the last 10 minutes (the Star Child).
Who, but Kubrick would have the confidence and chutzpah to start a film and have no words spoken for over 20 minutes. The opening sequence of the planets aligning to the music “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss is worth the admission price alone.
I also have a confession to make here, in that I insisted many years ago that my 6-year-old daughter sit down and watch the film with me on TV, something she has never forgiven me for………..