2001: A Space Odyssey

Bomb Rating: 

Dave Bowman has his run-in with the monolith and suddenly we have the quintessentially '60s interpretation of infinity: a bad LSD trip and a lava lamp.

It's no coincidence that the first thing you see on screen during Stanley Kubrick's epically long, epically dull space-opera is a boar. If you've forgotten: The pre-human ape-men are sitting around in a field eating grass and picking stuff out of each other's fur amidst the company of a herd of wild boars. Then they learn how to beat each other with clubs, discover the monolith and, faster than you can say "Blue Danube," it's the year 2001.

Give Kubrick credit though. A full year before Neil Armstrong had stepped foot on the moon, Kubrick realized that, given all the distance between objects, space is the ultimate in boring places and dared to make a movie about it. The wild boars, then, turn out to be an apt foreshadowing.

Never mind the modernist furniture nightmare aboard the first space station; never mind that the stewardesses on the space busses wear headgear that makes them look like walking dildos; never mind that there's practically no story. All we ask is that, after enduring all this nonsense, we be provided an ending that makes at least a little bit of sense. Apparently, we ask too much.

What the hell is going on in this film during the last half hour? What's the deal with the big Hershey bar? Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) has his run-in with the monolith and suddenly we have the quintessentially '60s interpretation of infinity: a bad LSD trip and a lava lamp. Through the meaning of the sacred lava lamp, we discover this shocker: Men are merely children in the vastness of the universe. No wonder those things were only a fad.

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