2001 A Space Odyssey is one of those films that must be taken entirely in the context of "in it's time". A small bit of this film has relevance today, though it has been done a thousand times over, subsequently better in many cases.
The opening scene is a pretty good indication of the dreadfully slow pace of this film. I'm not exaggerating; there is literally over two minutes of blank screen followed by an excruciatingly slow depiction of a planetary eclipse (probably not the right term but I don't care).
The first act entitled The Dawn of Man begins with a laughable scene of a bunch of tapirs (probably because they look rather prehistoric), and a tribe of prehistoric ape-people awkwardly cohabiting a little area in the middle of the desert. This drags on for quite a while, melodramatically showing a conflict between two tribes. Finally, a big rectangle appears, blasting some unsuspecting ape with the cognitive ability to use a bit of bone as a tool [or rather a weapon] and bash a rival ape-dude's fucking head in. The viewer is left to conclude that this uninspired looking rectangular cuboid gave these humble ape-fuckers a little oomph in their evolution which made humanity possible. I'm not even going to get into the silly underlying themes because frankly it is too obvious for me to give half a fuck.
Now that that is out of the way the viewer is shot out into space (presumably in the year 2001), and treated with a while spectacular, insanely long scene of a shuttle docking a space station. This chunk of the movie, like every other bit of the movie is unnecessarily long winded. In a nutshell Dr. Whoever makes his way to the moon where some of his buddies found another one of these rectangle things. It's point of origin is revealed to be around Jupiter from a radio beacon it sends out.
This is where the the movie starts feeling less like a prologue, and more like an actual movie. A ship with two conscious crew members, three in hibernation, and a faggy computer AI by the name of HAL 9000 are on their way to Jupiter to investigate the destination of this derelict signal. This is really the meat of the movie. You've probably seen a bazillion and one parodies and ripoffs of HAL, so you probably have a pretty good idea where this is going. The main geek draw of this situation is the wide torn Sci-Fi classic question of "can an artificial intelligence have feelings/a soul/be a complete dick etc.?".
How does it all end? Well if you really care after reading all of this, watch the damn movie. There is a lot to like about it no doubt, it just has so many annoyances that make it borderline unwatchable. My main problems were the painfully slow pace, and the horrid sound design. Sound design isn't something I'd usually complain about, however I must say this is just obnoxious; the music is distracting, and the sound effects like the endless bleepity bleeping and heavy breathing [while a guy is in a space suit] are just painful for someone of my sensibility. Ultimately, the pace of this film, combined with the hoard pretentious cocksuckers knee deep in praise and over their heads in shit kill this film for me. I can't overstate how good this movie could have been with a few tweaks here and there, and some competent editing. Even for all it's fault, the art design and the influence its had on science fiction puts this in the strangest place among good movies. Finally, yes it does have some mildly interesting themes, however obvious.
THREE STARS [OUT OF FIVE]