Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, the story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, including the inside account of how director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke created this cinematic masterpiece.
...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.