Greatness? I suppose if you concede that greatness is in the eye of the beholder. As a student of storytelling, I would never recommend it. However, it was a visual treat and paved the way for all science fiction films that followed. No more toy spaceships with a ribbon of magnesium sparkling in their tails while the smoke drifted up (thereby destroying any illusion of forward momentum). Sadly, Star Wars missed one of the more important aspects demonstrated in 2001. Spaceships do not fly in parabolic curves like aircraft flying in a atmosphere.
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