This movie was a very big deal when first released in 1972.
I'm trying to figure out why. It was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes where it won Grand Prix Special. Big, big deal.
Now, given its time or release, a three-hour space movie --pardon me, Science Fiction feature--was different. And the budget was certainly bigger than most other Sci-Fi movies at the time. It was also somewhat different in that there were no ugly monsters menacing the crew of the space station. The threat was psychological, you see.
Almost everything most people think of when they read or hear "science fiction movie" came AFTER this movie. Name a big science fiction movie. Chances are good, the movie you remember came AFTER this one. Was this a "pioneering" movie, then?
There were a handful of decent-to-good "pioneering" Science fiction features midst all the crap in the 15 years BEFORE this movie. And...one particular movie that was so much better, in so many ways, than this one. Did Russian writer/director Andrei Tarkofsky see it before making his own epic? Maybe. He should have. But you'd never know it, to look at this. I'm referring to 2001 A Space Odyssey, made four years earlier.
This one? Plodding and pedantic. Emotionally unengaging. And visually? sets and effect that are painfully, embarrassingly amateur. There is NO comparison with Stanley Kubrick's most famous movie.
And yet, critics revere this one. One calls it a "masterpiece."
Not then. Not now.