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Let me set a couple of things straight. First off, if you are looking for an exciting sci-fi movie that keeps you really engaged every second, this is not for you. If you’re looking for movies with simple yet effective plots, this is not for you. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most brilliant yet confusing movies I’ve ever seen in my life. But no matter what age you are, I highly recommend watching this movie.

2001’s story is about the evolution of mankind. Men discover a black monolith, which lead to the first sign of new alien intelligence. The signal leads to Jupiter, so five men head to Jupiter along with their robot HAL to figure out what’s there. But certain strange things happen along the way.

This film is notable for many reasons, but the most important reason will probably be the brilliant special effects. This film, although it may not seem like it, was made in 1968, before man even landed on the moon! This film gave the concept of A.I, space travel, alien intelligence. All the good children’s books, like The Giver, The City of Ember, and Ender’s Game exist because of this movie. Even my own book, Three Days Till EOC, was inspired by this movie.

This film is strange. It can never be fully explained or understood. There are many long scenes with nobody talking and just seeing the vast wonders of space. The ending, even five decades after this film came out, is still something nobody has understood. Even though it’s rated G, 2001 is one of the most cryptic and most engaging movies, told with almost zero dialogue, which I thought could never be achieved. It constantly keeps you excited, but not like other films or books. See, most books and movies have really exciting action scenes with characters jumping off buildings, or characters running for their lives and a monster taking over the town (The Alex Rider series, Godzilla and Alien are all great examples). But 2001 is engaging, without any of those elements. No exciting music, no dialogue, no sounds, no exposition and background to explain what’s happening. It’s a strange movie you have to really think about to understand.

This film is directed by Stanley Kubrick, and he has directed really awesome films, but all of them require some thinking to understand. He always has ridiculous ideas and puts them on film (check out his other classic, Dr. Strangelove). Most of his movies are great, but this one is easily his best. HAL is a robot, but he is a creepy and weird character, as we see him slowly malfunction into madness. The opening called “The Dawn of Man” perfectly resembles human society in an interesting way, showing apes fighting, working together and acting curious when a very strange object leaps before their eyes. Unlike movies told with lots of exposition through a character or opening title sequence (e.g., Star Wars), 2001 tells the story through hidden details and little, cryptic hints. During a really easy-to-miss scene, a bone is turned into a weapon, which cuts later in just a brief second, into a spaceship. These cuts look perfect, brilliant and amazing.

2001 is strange and criminally underrated. When I hear most people think of “sci-fi movies ahead of their time,” they say Star Wars or Alien, but they forget about the most important movie of them all. Without 2001, we wouldn’t have Star Wars, Ender’s Game, Ready Player One, blah blah blah I can go on and on! It’s a very self-aware film about mankind, society, and predicted the future far ahead of its time. 2001 is a thrill ride I recommend everyone in the Stone Soup community to watch at least once, because it is the true definition of a great sci-fi film.

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