‘2001: A Space Odyssey” presented on Turner Classic Movies

______________________________Although it’s been 42 years since it’s release, “2001: A Space Odyssey” still evokes a both a sense of awe and curiosity, as moviegoers continue to  speculate over the film’s meaning, as well as what is actually being  depicted on the screen. Bay Area viewers can see the 1968 science fiction  classic on Turner Classic Movies Saturday, February 20th at 12:15 pm. It was  director and co-screenwriter (along with Arthur Clarke) Stanley Kubrick’s  intention to provide a story that allowed audiences to decide for themselves  what they had just seen. Kubrick achieved this  by using visual effects, a  now legendary musical score and very little dialogue.

“2001: A Space Odyssey,” starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, begins at  the dawn of civilization, where a herd of apes, after being in the presence of a  mysterious black monolith, experience a sudden advancement in their thinking and  reasoning abilities, and soon dominate their surroundings. The story then moves  to the year 2001, where scientists, working at a space station on the Moon, have  uncovered another black monolith that when exposed to the Sun, gives off an ear  shattering signal. Eighteen months later, a crew of five scientists are sent to  the planet Jupiter, unaware of the true nature of their mission, accompanied by  the film’s most celebrated character, a computer called HAL 9000. Hal’s ability  to speak makes him seem like the crew’s sixth member, and so it becomes quite  unsettling when it’s determined that Hal is either malfunctioning or has  his/it’s own devious agenda.

Despite four Academy Award nominations, including a win for Best Visual  Effects, “2001: A Space Odyssey” received mixed reviews upon it’s initial  release. Eventually, much of the public came to appreciate the unique qualities  of the film, and it’s willingness to address many philosophical questions, such  as evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. In  1998, the American Film Institute’s “100 Years, 100 Movies” listed “2001: A  Space Odyssey” as the 22nd all time film, while in 2003, HAL 9000 was named the  13th greatest screen villain. One of the film’s greatest attributes is that it  doesn’t appear dated, more than forty years after it was made and nine years  after the film’s setting of 2001.