I was in sixth grade when I first started to really care about film. At this time the name Stanley Kubrick seemed so foreign, but I had heard of the famous, "2001: A Space Odyssey." All I knew was that it was a "classic"; I didn't think much of it, but I was willing to give it a try. I didn't realize the impact it would have on my life. I had never seen anything so beautiful, so thought provoking, so genius. I was floored; I knew from that moment on that my life would be about movies.
You could say that Kubrick was the master; he could take any story and make it work. But the thing about "2001" -- which rolled out into theaters this week in 1968 -- is that it's probably his most original work. Kubrick, along with writer Arthur C. Clarke created a film that would be drooled over (and rightfully so) for years to come. It's one of the greatest films of all time, and every teen should watch it. Here's why:
1. If you're a fan of film whatsoever then Kubrick is a "must see." What sets "2001" apart is that it boasts originality, especially back in the '60's when special effects were very limited. It took home a special effects Oscar -- and looks more real than most special effects-driven films of today. Fan favorites, like "Star Wars," wouldn't exist without this film. HAL 9000, one of the greatest movie robots, is as creepy as Norman Bates, and the total destruction it causes is truly horrifying.
2. Every shot is like a breath of fresh air. Most of Kubrick's films were done in one-point perspective, which was done to make sure you were looking at what Kubrick wanted you to look at. One-point perspective proves a very effective way of shooting films. It's pretty simple and easy, but looks so detailed and sophisticated. It's like you are a fly on the wall, quietly observing the horror unfold.
3. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. And once you start getting towards the end of this film your jaw will hit the floor. The film has one of the most talked about finales of all time and for good reason. You'll be questioning yourself for weeks after watching this (literal) star-filled epic. The only people who understood "2001" completely were Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick. Funny enough, Kubrick thought the ending was so obvious that he would never talk about it with people because he thought he would hurt their feelings. If you don't understand it, you shouldn't feel bad... because you are not the only one.
(And if you understand it: then please tell me!)
4. It has the most memorable opening scene of all time.
Seriously it's insanely cool.
5. "Open the pod bay doors HAL." Kubrick wrote some of the most quotable dialogue of all time. "2001" is the most realistic, unrealistic movie of all time; the delivery is so natural that you really feel like it could be happening.
6. There is an enemy. You may never see this enemy, but it is extremely menacing.
7. It truly is the best introduction into the world of Kubrick. He has made films that are more mainstream ("The Shining," "Full Metal Jacket") but this film stands alone as his best. Many consider "A Clockwork Orange" to be his best work but I disagree. I think "2001" is his masterpiece: it really gets your brain moving, and it sparks curiosity in life beyond earth. The cinematography and the special effects convince you that you are watching true insanity unfold in space. When I say the film is beautiful, confusing, and one of the greatest films ever made, I mean it. It's easily my favorite film.
The film may be a lot to process for many teenage viewers, but I really think you should give it a chance. If you're planning on going out this weekend to the movies, don't waste your time. Go to your local video store and pick up a copy of "2001" -- you won't be disappointed.
... And if you love "2001" you should check out the rest of Kubrick's films: "Fear and Desire" (1953) "Killer's Kiss" (1955) "The Killing" (1956) "Paths of Glory" (1957) "Spartacus" (1960) "Lolita" (1962) "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) "Barry Lyndon" (1975) "The Shining" (1980) "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999)