...a detailed and often thrilling account of one intense, unforgettable collaboration. It’s a tremendous explication of a tremendous film ... Benson’s skill as a science journalist is evident when he describes how Kubrick and his staff made the film’s visuals truly visionary. Although the technical descriptions of certain procedures might tax readers who aren’t engineers, the cumulative effect of such information is breathtaking.
It's enlightening stuff, especially for casual fans of the movie, about how Kubrick got struggling actors to learn their lines and the near-mutiny of the special-effects department when the filmmaker considered having his main characters travel to Saturn instead of Jupiter ... Hardcore 2001 nerds will dig the nuts and bolts of the designs of the 'Dawn of Man' opening and the memorable 'Star Gate' sequence. There's loads of trivia (the movie's costumer plotted the assassination of Nazis!) and Benson weaves in supporting personalities who put readers on ground zero of the filming chaos. But, like a good Beatles tune when those two songwriters are clicking, Space Odyssey is fueled by the dynamic between Kubrick and Clarke.
...an enlightening and entertaining narrative rich in both pointed anecdotes and lucid technical expositions ... To watch the film after reading Mr. Benson’s book is to see it as an assemblage of disparate pieces, and to marvel again at the enduring beauty of their assembling.
Benson is clearly in tune with the film and he follows the story of the movie’s creation with an eye for small, precise detail. In its way, this story about the making of 2001 is as compelling and eye-opening as the film itself.
Since its release fifty years ago—the film has felt like an entity unto itself, alive with all of the possibilities of the cinema, which makes it perfect for the biographical treatment that Michael Benson lavishes upon it in Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece. Benson, whose love for the film feels like a kind of duty to get his expose of its creation right, possesses a stick-to-itiveness on the research front that offers up the bulk of this book’s meat ... What is particularly fascinating about Benson’s accounts are how mundanity often leads to profundity ... Benson’s deeply-researched style has its flaws – he leans on the word 'however' so much that one starts counting the occurrences per paragraph. But a pleasing effect of Benson’s deep dives into the background material is how it encourages readers to revisit Clarke’s work.
...wide-ranging, if somewhat lopsided, chronicle of the collaboration between director Stanley Kubrick and novelist-turned-screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke ... In the end, this is very much Clarke’s story. Even after 500 pages, the reserved, controlling Kubrick feels like a distant figure ... But readers will be disappointed to expend this much time on 2001 and still come away knowing only part of the story.