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2001: A Space Odyssey

Must-See Cinema! Cinema’s most spectacular head trip, now celebrating its 50th anniversary!

A great rapturous puzzle, a voyage through outer and inner space, and – in the hippie argot of 1968 – ‘the ultimate trip,’ Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece that can still leave you dizzy with wonder. As much as any movie ever made, this visionary science-fiction tale of space travel and first contact with extraterrestrial life is a spellbinding experience. Watching it, you can feel immersed in its landscapes, locked in its sterile spaceship interiors or lost in the immense dark skies through which Kubrick’s vast space vessels ceremoniously move.

Poster for the 50th anniversary re-issue of 2001: A Space Odyssey2001 was a revelation in 1968, for its astonishingly detailed and ingenious effects (all done without digital imagery, in the age of models) and its evocative use of music. The music is crucial. 2001 – certainly the greatest of all science-fiction movies – might be called a true space opera, one in which we see and hear the music of the spheres. In the film, the entire universe is scored to ballets, waltzes, requiems (Khachaturian’s Gayne Suite, Johann Strauss’ 'Blue Danube' and works by Gyorgy Ligeti) and, most unforgettably, the crashing, majestic chords of Richard Strauss’ Thus Spake Zarathustra. In that magnificently portentous music Kubrick found the ideal symphonic signature for his mighty, heaven-daring story.

Kubrick’s great film both terrifies you with its nightmarish take on the traps of technology and inspires you with its vision of human potential and the universe around us. It is an extraordinary, obsessive, beautiful work of art. Let it overwhelm you.

    – Michael Wilmington, The Chicago Tribune
 

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