There is something poetic about the fact that I didn’t see this groundbreaking, genre-defining film until its 50th birthday. By the time I was born, 2001 was almost old enough to drive; a milestone that sees people newly and evermore reliant on an exquisite piece of machinery. Driving opens up new worlds for us and the limitless nature of our increased mobility at that point can be seen as a form of evolution, in a sense. The theme of evolution, of both man and machine (and our dependence upon it, only increasing exponentially in the past fifty years), is one of many at the forefront of this brilliant work, which takes its role as a challenger of conventions very seriously. Everything on display is crafted with exquisite detail, giving it an incredibly high level of craftsmanship that is bound to reward viewers more and more with each viewing as the years pass. In addition to stunning photography and a bombastic score, the makers achieved some great special effects that are still impressive today (most notably the mind-blowing rotating sets). Between the opening twenty minutes and final five, between the monolith and Bowman’s visions, there is room for a multitude of interpretations and the possibility for endless dissection and discussion, which adds replay value as deep as the infinite blackness of space that exists as the silent backdrop for our story. There is so much to unpack here that it just feels overwhelming, much the same as it must feel for an astronaut on a space walk to look into the heart of that great infinite frontier, with endless possibilities stretched out in all directions, begging for deep thought and exploration. Its impact immeasurable and undeniable, 2001 is an absolutely magnificent film, loudly announcing that science fiction was something to be taken seriously and that the high-minded ideas behind the execution can elevate the process to a whole other level. This is a fantastic piece of work by every stretch of the imagination, and inspired multiple generations of filmmakers to come, and for good reason.