Monday, April 24, 2017

2001: A Birthday Odyssey

As many of you might already know, I just celebrated a birthday. And it was a good one too. My sons bought me some great DVDs and baseball tickets, and my daughter took me to a midnight showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's perhaps my favorite movie.

By now I'm sure there has been a combination of eye rolling (from those who don't like the film) and nods of agreement (from those who do). Be all that as it may, I like the movie. A lot.

But how do you watch it? The best way is on the big screen. Yet that's true of most any film made for theaters. What, you may ask, in Marty's mind makes it such a grand motion picture?

I'm wont to argue that whether Stanley Kubrick meant it or not, he made a film which touches on the numinous in a profound and inspiring way. Arthur C. Clarke, who collaborated with him on the project, said at the time (the 1960s, when the film was made) that MGM had just made the first $10 million religious picture. I believe he's right, in a manner of speaking.

The fact is that stories take on a life of their own as they develop. 2001 touches on the mystery and awe inspired by all the great questions and great philosophers of history in an innovative and compelling way.

All that being said, and part of me can't believe that someone like me is about to say what I'm about to say, the best way to watch 2001 is to just let it overwhelm you. Allow yourself to drift into its universe; simply sit back and watch it, get lost in it if you will, accepting its pace and unusual qualities, and take in the accomplishments and limitations of humankind (mainly symbolically, but quite literally at points) roll out before you. And I believe the film will make more sense then.

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