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It's full of stars

4 April 2018

There's nothing to make you feel old like the 50 year anniversary of an event or thing that has had a strong impact on your life.

This week is the 50th anniversary of the release of Stanley Kubrick's movie masterpiece 2001 a Space Odyssey.

I recall watching this movie when it was first released and marveling at the incredible (for the day.. and to this day) special effects -- whilst also trying to make sense of the somewhat disjointed and mystical storyline.

At the time I hadn't read Arthur C Clarke's "The Sentinel" book, on which the movie was based so I had no preconceptions or clues as to what all this symbolism and imagery represented. That probably gave the movie even more impact and cemented it into the minds of young scifi enthusiasts like myself.

2001 is one of the very few movies that I seem to be able to watch time and time again without being bored or unimpressed.

Even today, it's hard to believe that this was a movie made in the 1960s. The effects are still top-rate and each time I rewatch it, I notice something that I hadn't seen before.

Just like the latest reboot of the Star Trek movie franchise, 2001 makes fantastic use of silence as a cinematic tool and I love that. Most trashy scifi movies have loud explosions in space and "tshuu tshuu" noises every time one ship fires a laser at another -- when in fact we all know that the vacuum of space would render all such events mute.

Kubrick's interpretation of Clarke's story is a brilliant execution and a fine proof that sometimes "less is more".

Unlike most who read this, I have to say that I have never been a fan of the Star Wars franchise. It always seemed to me to be more of a kids movie with "cute furry creatures" and very lightweight scripts and plots. I have only watched the original Star Wars movie twice and was disappointed both times -- in stark contrast to the awe that I feel every time I watch 2001.

Kubrick seems to have a knack for creating movies that inspire thought and leave you with more questions than answers. Another great example of his work is A Clockwork Orange.

Again, I remember the first time I saw this movie and, like 2001, I have it on DVD so I can rewatch it every year or so.

However, back to the first line of today's column...

Oh dear, I'm so old and I fear that I have not weathered the effects of the passing years nearly as well as Mr Kubrick's movie. Ah well, I'd better get my finger out and make the most of the time I have left.

What do readers think of 2001? A masterpiece? Pretentious? Too cryptic?

Are there any movies made in the past decade or so that even come close to being the watershed sci-fi film that 2001 has and always will be?

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