The story is somewhat abstract in its structure but is also quite complex, innovative and interesting yet has a simple message, and the screenplay and direction by Kubrick are superb. The acting is not the film’s best asset, but it is good enough, with Douglas Rain the standout as the voice of HAL 9000 as he is really quite brilliant. Two things especially make 2001 so good. One are the visuals- even after all those years they are simply outstanding. The cinematography is indeed splendid, as are the colours and settings, but there are so many memorable images. The images of the giant Starchild floating through space and the tribe of apes painfully putting two and two together still resonate considerably even now. The other is the music. Coming from a big classical music enthusiast, I was delighted by the use of Also Sprach Zarathustra and On the Beautiful Blue Danube and how they combined with the visuals were exceedingly clever.
Overall, this is a truly wonderful film that is worth seeing for the visuals and music alone and still continues to intrigue and perplex with the ending. As much as I like Oliver and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, two of my childhood favourites, and the brilliant Lion in Winter to me this is it… the best film of 1968