In 1968, when Stanley Kubrick's masterwork 2001: A Space Odyssey
was released, I was 11 and my grandfather was 55. The pre-release hype on the film had been so big that he took me to the Tampa premiere of the film. He and I had never been to a film together before, but he thought this would be a culturally significant event and he didn't want me to miss it.
When we emerged from the theater after viewing the film, I distinctly remember the two of us looking at each other with expressions of "What the hell was that?" I'm sure it was the last Kubrick film he ever saw, but for me it was the beginning of a journey of exploration.
I'm 53 now and I'd guess I've seen the film 20 times since its release, each time comprehending a little bit more of what Kubrick was saying. It's been a slow, hard road, but well worth the investment of time and mental energy. Now, as I've, somewhat, come to piece the puzzle of the film together, one of the things I love most about it is that 2001
leaves so many questions unanswered.
It's been a mind blower for 40 years and I see no reason it will stop being a mind blower anytime soon.
So thanks, Granddad. I know you didn't have much fun that summer afternoon back in 1968, but you achieved your primary goal: getting me started early on exploring this historic film.
Readers who recognized the reference in this post's title will know this little taste I'm throwin' in above. But realistically, this is a film you have to study as a whole to get what it has to give. And it has plenty to give.