Home Entertainment Classic film “2001: A Space Odyssey” turns 50

Classic film “2001: A Space Odyssey” turns 50

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fifty years ago today, a seminal science fiction film hit theaters in limited release when Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey opened in Los Angeles and New York.

The movie was co-written by sci-fi icon Arthur C. Clarke, whose short story “The Sentinel” inspired it. Starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood as astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole, the film follows a team of human space explorers who travel to Jupiter after discovering a mysterious, ancient black monolith on the moon that directs them there.  They also must contend with HAL 9000 — the ship’s artificially intelligent supercomputer that goes from a ship-wide Siri to a serial killer.

Kubrick’s epic received mixed reviews from critics at the time, spanning from “the world’s most extraordinary film” to equal parts “hypnotic and boring.”   Nevertheless, it went on to earn four Oscar nominations and one win for its then-groundbreaking visual effects, which fifty years later still don’t look dated.

2001: A Space Odyssey also inspired a generation of filmmakers, including George Lucas — whose own interstellar epic, Star Wars, opened nine years later — and Steven Spielberg, who once called the movie the “Big Bang” of his generation of directors.

Sixteen years after the original opened, the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact was released.

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