In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be. Written by
To come up with a convincing effect for the floating pen in the shuttle sequence, Kubrick decided to simply use a pen that was taped to a sheet of glass suspended in front of the camera (in fact, the shuttle attendant can be seen to "pull" the pen off the glass when she takes hold of it). If you watch carefully around the upper left corner of the screen just before she catches the pen, you can see the glass briefly reflecting light as it rotates to give the floating effect to the pen. (On the BluRay release, the sheet is clearly visible through most of the scene. Even swirl marks and what looks like a palm-print can be seen.) See more »
The original theatrical release had Ligeti's Atmospheres to a black screen for roughly 8 to 10 minutes before the movie began, and Strauss' The Blue Danube well after the end credits to a black screen. See more »
Instead of writing a paragraph, I'll give four good reasons why 2001 is
the greatest cinema experience of all time:
1) It is a visual Odyssey that could only be told on the big screen.
The special effects that won Kubrick his only Oscar are the most
stunning effects before that age of Jurassic Park and T2. They allow
Kubrick to give an accurate (or at least are the most accurate)
depiction of space travel to date. The silence that fills the space
scenes not only serves its purpose as accurate science, but also adds
to the mood of the film (to be discussed in a later point with HAL).
The fact that Kubrick shot the moon scenes before the Apollo landing is
a gutsy yet fulfilling move. Many have said that upon its original
release, it was a favorite "trip" movie. I can think of no other movie
that has such amazing visuals for its time and even of all time (sorry
Phantom Menace fans!)
2) Kubrick's directing style is terrific. As in all his films, Kubrick
likes to use his camera as means to delve into the psychology of his
characters and plots. His camera is not as mobile as other greats, such
as Scorsese, but instead sits and watches the narrative unfold. Faces
are the key element of a Kubrick film. Like classic movies, such as M
and Touch of Evil, Kubrick focuses on the characters' faces to give the
audience a psychological view-point. Even he uses extreme close-ups of
HAL's glowing red "eye" to show the coldness and determination of the
computerizd villain. I could go on, but in summation Kubrick is at the
hieght of his style.
3) HAL 9000 is one of the most villainous characters in film history. I
whole-heartedly agree with the late Gene Siskle's opinion of HAL 9000.
Most of this film takes place in space. Through the use of silence and
the darkness of space itself, a mood of isolation is created. Dave and
his crewmen are isolated between earth and jupiter, with nowhere to
escape. Combine this mood with the cold, calculated actions of HAL 9000
and you have the most fearful villain imaginable. I still, although
having see this film several times, feel my chest tighten in a
4) The controversial
ending of 2001 always turns people away from this film. Instead of
trying to give my opinion of the what it means and what my idea of
2001's meaning in general is, I'd like to discuss the fact that the
ending serves to leave the movie open-ended. Kubrick has stated that he
inteded to make 2001 open for discussion. He left its meaning in the
hands of the viewer. By respecting the audience's intelligence, Kubrick
allowed his movie to be the beginning, not the end, of a meaningful
discussion on man's past, present, and future. The beauty of 2001 is
that the ending need not mean anything deep, it can just be a purely
plot driven explanation and the entire movie can be viewed as an
entertaining journey through space. No other movie, save the great
Citizen Kane, leaves itself open to discussion like 2001. It is truly
meant to be a surreal journey that involves not only the eye but the
mind. Instead of waiting in long lines for the Phantom Menace, rent a
widescreen edition of 2001 and enjoy the greatest cinematic experience.
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