If anything can be said for Stanley Kubrick, it’s that he was a perfectionist. Every single movie he made (and he only made 13 feature films in his 46 year career) was the pinnacle of technical excellence and innovation. Often, the critics have said, this was at the cost of engaging narrative and his films come across as sterile and antiseptic, but that doesn’t discount his mastery of the moving image and the ability to make people wonder. No film in his catalog is a bigger example of this than what I and many others would argue is his masterpiece, 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that revolutionized the science fiction genre, both in terms of effects and story.
It’s no secret that I love 2001, and I wrote a whole big essay about it last year, but each and every time I watch it, or even a clip of it, I’m filled with the sense of awe and majesty that putting classical music underneath images of space travel seems to evoke. This is why, if you ever get the chance, you should see this film in a cinema, on the largest screen possible. Revival houses will show this at least once a year, so it’s not that hard to find, but if you happen to live in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the BFI is screening it in dozens of cities beginning in November. And in order to hype it, they’ve made this gorgeous trailer which perfectly encapsulates why this film is special, in the span of only 2 minutes.
It’s a movie that’s philosophically rich, haunting in its execution, and an absolutely transformative experience on the big screen. This trailer makes me want to dive into it all over again, as I hope it does you. If you can get to the BFI to see this, or to any theater that might be screening it some evening, it really is something worth your time. For now, I’m just going to throw on Richard Strauss’ “The Beautiful Blue Danube” and pretend I’m floating around my apartment.