“Co-written by the director and novelist Arthur C Clarke, the film charts the progress of ‘civilisation’ through the influence of mysterious black monoliths on prehistoric apes developing their skills and, later, on astronauts involved in a secret mission to Jupiter. Characteristic of Kubrick’s interest in evolution and artificial intelligence (most notably in the astronauts’ battle of wits with troublesome computer HAL 9000), the film also displays his desire for technical perfection: Geoffrey Unsworth’s camerawork, Douglas Trumbull’s pioneering effects and the production design remain enormously impressive to this day. But what’s perhaps most striking is the audacity of the measured, largely dialogue-free storytelling, with Kubrick allowing the judiciously chosen music (Ligeti, Khachaturian, the two Strausses) and the crisp, balletic beauty of the images to work their spell. A cinematic milestone, and a huge influence on the development of the sci-fi genre.” — Geoff Andrew, British Film Institute
“It feels as intelligent and provocative as ever, bearing years of conceptual dreaming. Until today’s equivalent of novelist Arthur C. Clarke commits a hefty chunk of time to envisioning the beginning of human civilization, as well as the far ends of the future, there will be no new film that supplants it. Though it was showered with technical praise, 2001 lingers on the mind like a tall, black riddle: Where are the new bones, the new tools, that will take us higher? Do we even deserve them?
And if The Shining can grow as a black comedy, so can this one. Douglas Rain’s clammy voice work as HAL 9000, the murderous machine, remains one of Kubrick’s snazziest pieces of direction.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York