2001: A Space Odyssey
Based on Arthur C Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’, 2001: A Space Odyssey redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure (a single cut elides 4 million years), scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first movie to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Philip K Dick, and the first to see that special effects could become an integral component in the art-form.
The film’s pacing is deeply unfashionable (except in the art-house) but seen on the big screen it still holds up as a spellbindingly immersive experience. Made at the height of excitement around the space age – just a year before the first Moon landing – the movie combines a typically cold Kubrickian rationalism with a genuine sense of awe, mystery, and (often overlooked), beauty.