Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. 100
    Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape...Alone among science-fiction movies, 2001 is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our awe.
  2. A masterpiece that can still leave you dizzy with wonder. As much as any movie ever made, this visionary science-fiction tale of space travel and first contact with extraterrestrial life is a spellbinding experience.
  3. 100
    Watching this film demands two qualities that are sadly lacking in all but the most mature and sophisticated audiences: patience and a willingness to ponder the meaning of what's transpiring on screen. 2001 is awe inspiring, but it is most definitely not a "thrill ride." It is art, it is a statement, and it is indisputably a cinematic classic.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    With 2001, Stanley Kubrick proved that a sci-fi movie could be philosophical rather than pulpy, profound rather than pedantic.
  5. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Its faults - sketchy narrative, overblown abstraction - are counterbalanced by its gripping engagement between man and machine, and its rhapsodic wonder at heaven and earth and the infinite beyond.
  6. This is the way this ground-breaking monument was meant to be seen: in mind-boggling 70mm.
  7. Still the grandest of all science-fiction movies.
  8. Reviewed by: Scott Rosenberg
    Beloved for many different reasons, including its scrupulous scientific accuracy, its vast reach from "The Dawn of Man" to the next stage of human evolution, its unrivaled integration of musical and visual composition, its daring paucity of dialogue and washes of silence, its astonishingly creative psychedelic sequence and its still-gorgeous pre-digital special effects.
  9. 100
    Maintains its artistic magnificence after more than 30 years.
  10. Its special effects are used so seamlessly as part of an overall artistic strategy that, as critic Annette Michelson has pointed out, they don't even register as such, and thus are almost impossible to trivialize, a feat unmatched in movies.
  11. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A beautiful, confounding picture that had half the audience cheering and the other half snoring. Kubrick clearly means to say something about the dehumanizing effects of technology, but exactly what is hard to say.
  12. Reviewed by: Renata Adler
    The movie is so completely absorbed in its own problems, its use of color and space, its fanatical devotion to science-fiction detail, that its is somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A major achievement in cinematography and special effects, 2001 lacks dramatic appeal and only conveys suspense after the halfway mark; Kubrick must receive all the praise - and take all the blame.
  14. A crackpot Looney Tune, pretentious, abysmally slow, amateurishly acted and, above all, wrong.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 358 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 104
  2. Negative: 17 out of 104
  1. Feb 1, 2011
    The greatest epiphany? That the monolith represents the film screen itself, with its black rectangular appearance. And that the monolith is also depicted as the catalyst for change only encourages the notion that we actually evolve as we watch ourselves on the screen, and furthermore, BECOME what we see. And that's what 2001 is ultimately about; becoming. Constant becoming. Constant becoming through endless mediation. What will become of you when the credits finally roll? I, for one, became a pretentious film critic. Full Review »
  2. Nov 23, 2011
    To **** JamesB - "I must have seen a different 2001: A Space Odyssey than everyone else. Mine was a two hour long screen saver". Well, JamesB, you'll be happy to know the one I watched, was also a two hour long **** screensaver. I cannot fathom the amount of positive reviews this thing gets. This is not a film; it is either a two hour long screen saver, or a special effects demo reel. It lacks so many basic elements that films are held to - plot, story threads, characters, dialogue. This is the only film I know of - bar No Country For Old Men - that has managed to use style over substance, and gotten away with it among the vast majority of professional critics and directors. The editing in this movie is non existent, the pace is excruciatingly slow. If you just play the film's important parts, where we get characters, dialogue and explanations of what the hell is happening, you get a 20 minute ok science fiction film. If you play through the whole thing, you get a 2 hour tranquiliser, that is guaranteed to send you off. Honestly, half of the **** scenes in this film we do not need to watch. Did we really need to watch monkeys for 16 minutes? No. Did we need to watch a space station above Earth for 4 minutes? No. The first 40 minutes of this film, you could cut, and you would not miss anything important, as it is 40 minutes into the film where we FINALLY get to some sort of plot development. This film in fact, has no plot. I have been told time and again by fans of this movie that it is dependent on the audience's subjective interpretations, that its deep and meaningful because you can go and talk to someone else and have two completely differing viewpoints on what it means.

    The truth is guys, the only reason that will happen is because this film is so empty and devoid of any kind of content, that anyone could come up with almost anything to explain this film, and it would be just as valid, because the film its self never actually makes any attempt to explain what is actually going on. And don't try and tell me "you just don't get it" or that I'm a mentally challenged lackie who only wants to watch 300 and Independence Day, or that this film is so open ended it makes you think, whereas other films don't, you just lap up what's on screen. Wrong again guys, the truth is, a film such as Blade Runner and Pan's Labyrinth have POINTS to think about, whereas this movie is just incoherent imagery dumped on screen to music, which is the most random and unguided of all thinking.

    This movie is no different than if I were to give you a painting, which consisted of three lines on a white canvas, one black, one white, one orange, each of them jagged, but at different points and said "there's a meaning in there somewhere, figure it out for yourself. Aren't I a genius?" For those of you observant enough to notice three lines do not constitute a painting, well done. Two hours of special effects and ships docking does not constitute a film either. Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Matrix Sequels tried to get away with exactly the same **** Kubrick did with this film; TMP in particular has excruciatingly long scenes of starships docking, of lots of colourful things on screen, and that film was the one that was slated?

    The only positive thing I can say about this, is that it can be enjoyed on a level of special effects, but that is all.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 6, 2011
    Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick's SF masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a conservative movie, asking the audience not to be amazed by the extraordinary visuals but the maturity and growth of a universal subject. The climax of the movie speeds up consistently and precisely with the breath taking cinematography of silence,and in the end....the movie itself becomes the universal subject. Full Review »