22. '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968)
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The first time I was exposed to Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "2001: A Space
Odyssey," was through Jack Kirby's king-sized adaptation for Marvel Comics. Then
I finally saw it in the theater with my father when I was around 8 years old. My
mind was blown seeing it on the big screen, even though I had no idea what it
really meant, despite Kirby's prior attempts at revelation. But that's the
beauty of it — "2001" is a sonic Rorschach test for viewers to individually
interpret and even throw themselves into, particularly the psychedelic "Star
Gate" sequence that inspired Sixties acid trips aplenty.
Bing: Find clips from '2001: A Space
This film conjured so many unique and influential elements. The dawn of man,
moon excavation and Jupiter exploration sequences are all tied together by the
presence of the extraterrestrial monolith, a smooth, sleek, black stone slab
which projects an eerie chorus of alien voices that will chill you to the bone.
Kubrick made this dark piece of rock hypnotic and spooky, not an easy feat, and
his accurate portrayal of soundless outer space — punctuated only by in-suit
astronaut breathing outside of the starship — created the effect of a womb in
space. Further, the amusing, megalomaniacal HAL 9000, with his deceptively
soothing voice, became the prototype for starship-operating computers in cinema.
To top everything, "2001" still looks flawless on Blu-ray 45 years later.
Kudos to effects team Con Pederson, Wally Veevers and Douglas Trumbull, who did
everything without digital assistance and helped Kubrick achieve a vision that
makes us ponder our place in a vast, overwhelming universe. — Bryan
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(Gary Lockwood in "2001: A Space Odyssey"/MGM/Everett/Rex