2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science-fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel”. Clarke concurrently wrote the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, published soon after the film was released. The film follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer Hal after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution. It deals with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery. It uses sound and minimal dialogue in place of traditional narrative techniques; the soundtrack consists of classical music such as Gayane Ballet Suite, The Blue Danube, and Also sprach Zarathustra.
2001: A Space Odyssey was financed and distributed by American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but it was filmed and edited almost entirely in England using the studio facilities of the MGM-British Studios and those of Shepperton Studios, mostly because of the availability of much larger sound stages than in the United States. Production was subcontracted to Kubrick’s production company, and care was taken that the film would be sufficiently British to qualify for subsidy from the Eady Levy. Kubrick had shot his previous two films in England and decided to settle there permanently during filming.
2001: A Space Odyssey initially received mixed reactions from critics and audiences, but it garnered a cult following and slowly became the highest-grossing North American film of 1968. It was nominated for four Academy Awards and received one for its visual effects. The sequel 2010 was released in 1984, directed by Peter Hyams.
Today, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The critics’ polls in the 2002 and 2012 editions of Sight & Sound magazine ranked 2001: A Space Odyssey sixth in the top ten films of all time; it also tied for second place in the directors’ poll of the same magazine. In 2010, it was named the greatest film of all time by The Moving Arts Film Journal.
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