A mysterious monolith appears to the ape-like ancestors
of humanity. Millennia later, a similar object is excavated
on the surface of the moon, and beams a signal out into space.
A mission to Jupiter is launched, to make contact with a larger
monolith that lies waiting...
was inevitable that some kind of collector's edition of 2001
would be released this year. Sadly, in the real 2001 we have
yet to send humans as far as Mars, let alone Jupiter, but
this is still the perfect occasion for this movie's DVD premiere.
majestic and strident film has aged remarkably well since
its release more than 30 years ago, largely thanks to the
ground-breaking quality of its special effects and the fact
that director Stanley Kubrick elected not to show any actual
aliens. Instead, the immaculately smooth black monoliths suggest
the perfection of an alien technology we can only begin to
imagine. They also evoke the awesome authority of the biblical
stone tablets that bore the Ten Commandments, and, on a more
general level, remain a potent symbol of the unknown things
that await us out there in the depths of space.
and his co-writer Arthur C. Clarke set out to be deliberately
obscure and to raise more questions than they answered in
the movie (for me, though, the Star Child symbolises that
we are still an infant species in the cosmic scheme of things).
Despite having much of its mystery dissipated by its cinematic
and printed prose sequels, 2001 still exudes an enigmatic
thick vein of arty pretentiousness runs through the finished
product, which can be off-putting. For instance, Kubrick wanted
to realistically convey the tedium that is part and parcel
of space travel, but during the first half of the movie he
achieves this too successfully, and some of the lengthier
scenes can prove rather boring! However, in the comfort of
your own living room, should the film test your patience too
much, you have the option of watching it in its conveniently
most gripping section of the movie is without doubt the tense
confrontation between man, in the form of astronauts Dave
Bowman (Dullea) and Frank Poul (Lockwood), and machine, in
the shape of the deranged computer HAL (voiced by Douglas
Rain). Who can forget the classic line, "What are you doing,
box set also contains a CD of the soundtrack, a 16-page booklet
and a limited-edition 70mm frame from the movie, but the lack
of extra features on the DVD is a bitter disappointment. Nevertheless,
the medium of DVD is definitely the second best way (after
the big screen, of course) to view this work of art.