1968 was a great year for science fiction films. This is one of the reasons. Stanley Kubrick’s take on an Arthur C. Clarke story introduced a bold, new way to make movies and upped the level of special effects beyond the usual miniatures and stop motion animation.
It was Kubrick’s Spartan style of storytelling, however, that makes 2001: A Space Odyssey stand out. For a two-and-a-half hour movie, it has very little dialog. And the first half hour depicts pre-humans discovering the Black Monolith and weapons. The Monolith itself is one of the most iconic, mysterious, and frightening objects in film history.