****/**** Image A Sound A- Extras C+
starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter
screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke & Stanley Kubrick, based on Clarke's short story "The Sentinel"
directed by Stanley Kubrick
by Bryant Frazer In 1965, film director Stanley Kubrick and science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke embarked on a remarkable collaboration. Taking an old Clarke short story as their starting point, the duo rewrote it and dramatically expanded its scope, drafting the blueprint for a film to be directed by Kubrick as well as for a novel to be scripted by Clarke. In Clarke's original story, "The Sentinel", astronauts found an ancient artifact on the moon that functioned as a radio beacon, transmitting signals into outer space. The expanded film treatment was many times more ambitious, beginning in the deep pre-history of human evolution and climaxing with a futuristic journey to Jupiter, where one man confronts an unseen alien intelligence--and undergoes transformation and rebirth. More than a science-fiction thriller or space-bound adventure movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a meditation on Man's place in the universe that mounts a convincing argument that the sum total of human knowledge gathered over the millennia is insignificant, at best, when compared to the vast mysteries of the greater universe. That sense of scale is demonstrated, vividly, in a climactic sequence that uses colour and sound to depict a wild journey into--a distant realm? Another dimension? A new plane of human existence?