2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most enigmatic films ever made, if not the most enigmatic. The movie has polarized critics and audiences for nearly 50 years now and it seems to be the most obvious example of a "love it or hate it" movie that can be found. Some people, myself included, see it as the pinnacle of cinematic greatness and a film so grand that it will never be topped. Then there are a myriad of other people who see it as a slog that goes on and on incoherently with no explanations to justify its perceived greatness. The criticisms that are constantly leveled at 2001 by viewers who hate it are usually oriented very closely to the surface without ever touching deeply on the real significance Stanley Kubrick presents. This list will mainly regard these surface level criticisms but will touch a little on the deeper problems that many have with the themes that Kubrick presents. There's a reason that 2001 is regarded as one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history and it completely deserves your respect. The movie is an endlessly inventive tale of human progression, ambiguous themes that can be interpreted to match the viewer's thoughts, the wonders of the great unknown, the consequences of organic life vs. artificial life and the very nature of life itself all presented through 141 minutes of cinematic mastery. Gee, I really hope that doesn't sound as pretentious to you as it does to me. I now present to you 10 common criticisms 0f 2001: A Space Odyssey and why they have no validity.
10. It's Too Slow
This is by far the most common criticism I hear when talking about 2001 but what most people who hate it don't realize is that the story can't be told any other way. For some reason if a movie is slow then it's automatically deemed to be poor even if the story would have been ruined if it was forced to conform to a different pace. A style of filmmaking has to support a story or else everything just becomes an awful mess and no where is this more apparent than the Sci-Fi genre. Kubrick's film is borderline inaccessible to a modern day audience because we've become accustomed to quick storytelling and fast paced sequences which is a real shame. To fully appreciate the genius of 2001 you have to view it through the year 1968, when it was released. The "space race" between America and Russia was growing more and more competitive each day, especially after John F. Kennedy declared that the U.S. would make it to the moon before the end of the decade. The real genius, however, is the fact that the message of slowing down to observe is just as relevant now as it was in 1968, which is one reason why the film is still so universally viewed even in the current cinematic climate. With 2001, Kubrick was trying to get his audience to slow down in such a fast paced time and just appreciate who we are and where we've come from. By telling the story in a slow, meditative nature he was able to achieve what he was going for and also illustrate the very nature of space itself. In reality being sent deep into space isn't glamorous, as many films at the time were portraying it, but very slow and lonely as Kubrick depicted.