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Let me start off by saying that 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my
favorite movies of all- time. It is directed, co-written, and produced
by one of my favorite directors of all-time, Stanley Kubrick, who has
directed other masterpieces like Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange,
The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket.
2001: A Space Odyssey, along with a lot of other Kubrick films, is not for everyone. It is slow paced for the most part, has very little dialogue, and has a long runtime. This movie is not for the average movie-goer.
If you do decide to watch this movie, you will be treated to: fantastic visual effects, impeccable cinematography, and an interesting story.
One things for sure, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a complex film. The film is frequently interpreted differently amongst people. This is especially true with the oh so famous and confusing last 30 minutes of the movie.
Whether you end up liking the film or disliking it, you will not forget 2001: A Space Odyssey.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Its significance in the film industry is indisputable. Its main theme its about the evolution of man from using simple tools into using complex tools travelling through the universe, some of these tools turned against him (HAL 9000) but still with his courage he won and he is ready for another evolutionary step (star-child). It was the first movie with a realist depiction of space (no sound, hence the music) and people were travelling not in flying saucers but in actual spaceships. BUT, it was slower than a crippled snail and had some annoying music sequences (not the Classical music ones) and an almost non-existent (documentary) chit chat dialogue. For me these 2 elements were the main defects of the film, so it's 3 stars from me
A movie fan at one of the cinematic conferences once spoke up and said
that the best idea in a film is not to give any ready made answers but
leave everything open to viewers' interpretations. In this case, we are
all a part of art that we watch, we admire, we criticize but, foremost,
discover. This assumption proves particularly suitable for Stanley
Kubrick's 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY inspired by a short story by Arthur C.
What strikes viewers most about the film are the questions that the theme provokes and answers that we are likely to find in ourselves. But...nothing ready on a platter! Not much is given to us except for thrilling experience of a journey, a titled odyssey. The central theme-ODYSSEY the location-SPACESHIPS/THE UNIVERSE. In that respect, it seems inevitable to quote Roger Ebert who rightly pointed out in his review that Kubrick's genius does not lie in "how much" but "how little." Almost everything is left to us, which makes it a very difficult screen achievement and, simultaneously reflective, such "a philosophical statement about a man's place in the universe" (Ebert).
From the first sequence titled "Dawn of Man," we see apes with an obvious aspect of imprisoning our vision within a certain framework. Nevertheless, soon, we discover that these apes begin to think. A sort of Cartesius' "Cogito Ergo Sum" or rather an inner existence that blends with the outer reality. Something driven by some supreme power? While we begin with dawn of man, we don't end with twilight of man. Here, rather, one could quote Steven D Greyfanus who observes that the movie makes a point about our existence and consciousness which are not self explanatory. Questions arise when a black monolith appears: a challenge for the apes...some mystery which will appear more times in the movie. Is it some limitation that emerges from it? Or rather some superior reality to discover only when man drowns in it?
Steven D Greyfanus interestingly claims that "2001: A Space Odyssey doesn't just depict a quantum leap forward in human consciousness it practically requires such a leap, on an individual scale, from the viewer." The movie is a challenge in itself, a challenge to rise above any ready made concepts of what a movie should be like, what it should look like, what it should evoke but encounter something new, even in the genre itself. To develop this point a bit, Greyfanus goes deeper comparing this odyssey to classical Odyssey by Homer...while in the mythology, the destination is clear, it is home, in the film, it is unknown. For can any man grasp the indefinite reality of the universe and its mystery? Roger Ebert memorably notes: "the film is not about a goal but a quest."
The characters are the heroes of this quest. Mind you that many of them, in particular Dr Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) or Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) in the star sequence are the characters who rely solely on the intellect. In a truly unforgettable 'communication' with the on-board computer HAL 9000, there is, however, an intense desire for meaning, a quest for reasoning, search for answers. At the same time, there appears intense care not to allow any 'violation' of the mission's goals. But...at one point, man breaks a certain limit and goes too far. The realms of technology are going, the realms of human mind are going, what is left if the gravity of mind does no longer occur sufficient?
The infinite that goes with Jupiter (not only the name of the planet but, for some reason deliberate or coincidental, the name of the Roman god).
At that moment, we may all agree with Roger Ebert who says that it is a "transcendent film" and a "silent film."
Primarily, 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY relies on visuals and music. There is not much dialog and if it appears, it is reduced to the maximum minimum, almost to a pseudo computerized interaction. There is not much 'humanity' in the language, not to say feelings. Even the 'Daisy' song or 'Happy birthday' that parents sing to their son seem to lack the basic enthusiasm and result in something artificial, robot-like. Visuals and music! The former is a unique achievement that helps us all experience the film in an unforgettable way. Seeing the movie on the big screen recently, I felt its intense effects to a grand scale. Kudos to cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth. Music, however, is an even more inspiring aspect.
What a terrific choice of CLASSICAL MUSIC! Not only is it an undertone of a unique human ability, but there is another greater undertone to that. Let me quote Roger Ebert again. He observes that any music score would go with conventionalized methods of evoking action and would underline the storyline. "The classical music," however, "exists outside the action." It is an ever present companion of man on his journey to the unknown, on his way to hear deeper, more profoundly. The waltz by Johann Strauss THE BLUE DANUBE seems to evoke a dance in the universe, outside of any gravity and within a greater power. Meanwhile, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss marks the crescendo of emotions within phases of discoveries.
The absolutely unpredictable finale brings everything to an uncommon conclusion, after all. You feel as if you have just started to watch this film. Time is not important but far more thought provoking is the fact that this art does not resort to pessimism of nothingness but appears to celebrate, inside us and outside us, the infinite mystery of human life.
Prepare for something hard, sometimes vague and very odd, but worth enduring till the end.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
HUGE SPOILERS This isn't a review so much as my explanation of the
Something somewhere in the universe is performing experiments in intelligence. The alien something is probably a tool user but that might just be my tool using bias. It/they find a likely candidate species here on Earth and tweak it so it becomes a tool user.
Then a marker is placed on the moon. When the species, humans, can build tools advanced enough to reach the moon the marker is tuned on. It points much farther away, to Jupiter. To make the trip to that destination will take the most advanced tools and the most advanced tool users, thus self-selecting the best sample specimens. Astronauts.
Upon reaching their destination, the Jupiter monolith, it acts like the tip of a pipette reaching in to a beaker or petri dish. In this case the pipette is a wormhole (or pick your euphemism). Back in the lab its probably only been a few seconds since the initial planet seeding event. What do you do with the monkey once you have him? Well, we give them blocks, ropes, language glyphs, etc to use and food as a reward. You'll notice David is eating.
We also give animals mirrors to look at. We seem to consider it a sort of ultimate self-awareness test. Really it's probably just the ability to store enough data about your own physical actions, and compare that to observed external actions, to realize that the creature in the mirror couldn't possibly be another living member of your species. What if you could do better than a mirror? An instantaneous, beam-me-up-Scottie, copy. An electro-clone. Is the creature smart enough to know that this "other" is actually "self". Would that ability be considered a delusion by the experimenter?
David is shown a version of himself near death. How does the species understanding of mortality interact with it's "theory of other". How does that interact with the knowledge that this other is self?
The final image is a metaphor; The human species is a foetus waiting to be born into the larger cosmos.
To be sure we think of all of the above as science-fiction rather than fantasy or techno-fable, like Flash Gordon, the non-omnipotence of the experimenting intelligence is shown by it's flawed creation. Humans. The humans build flawed intelligence in the form of HAL, which malfunctions. (Who malfunctions?). Thus keeping godhead the always receding point just beyond the accumulations of science.
This definitely requires more than one viewing. 2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968) not only boasts some of the most stunning cinematography and
timeless special effects on film, but it has a story with so many
layers that a revisit or two is mandatory if you even want to begin to
understand it. The ending alone has been baffling people for over
forty-five years. Another hundred could pass and there will still be
discussions about this film.
Just do yourself a favor, relax, and watch this. Don't expect lots of action or dialogue, or the sort of roller-coaster rides that science fiction movies have become. This is a film you are meant to reflect on and mull over in your mind hours afterward. It's not for everybody, but for those who are willing to go for something a bit more thoughtful, give it a whirl. The two hours and forty minutes are worth it.
An unprecedented, unique & unparalleled achievement in motion picture
history, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a path-breaking cinema & a splendid
work of art that truly put science in science-fiction. Far ahead of its
time & one of the first films to take its genre seriously, this film
redefines its genre unlike anything before or after it, features some
of the most iconic moments ever captured on film, and is an elegant mix
of remarkable cinematography, pioneering visual & sound effects,
scientific accuracy, epic score & a distinct style of narration.
2001: A Space Odyssey deals with the elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence & extra-terrestrial life. It is divided into 3 segments & an epilogue, each connected with an extra-terrestrial reference. Kubrick's first venture into the science fiction genre features all his usual trademarks but its treatment is very different from his other works. The pace is intentionally slowed down, the narration is through visuals & music, the exchange of dialogues is minimal and the engaging & confusing plot only gets better, more transparent & satisfying on multiple viewings.
Coming to technical aspects, the cinematography is a delight for anyone who appreciates great photography. Editing is precisely done. Set pieces are wonderful to look at and the visual & sound effects are so groundbreaking & ahead of its time that many movies boasting CGI stuff today are still no match to it. Also, it is one of the most accurate depictions of space travel & the silence that fills the space scenes not only serves its purpose as accurate science, but also adds to the mood of the film. Plus, the fact that Kubrick shot the moon scenes with that level of detail & accuracy even before the Apollo landing never fails to impress.
Even though 2001 is a visual ride of astonishing beauty, it isn't a movie that everyone is going to appreciate. It's a long technical film that runs at an unusually slow pace, is full of metaphysical complexities & is destined to polarize viewers. Yet, there's no denying that it has inspired almost every film of its genre since its release & will continue to do so for as long as cinema exists. It's an amazing journey through space & time that raises pretty good questions about our very own existence, is full of philosophical & allegorical meanings, and concludes with an ending that is open for each viewer to interpret his/her way.
Scoring full marks in all aspects of filmmaking and influencing not only cinema but science, culture & art as well, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a landmark moment in motion picture history that nearly killed its genre for it set a standard so high that it hasn't been equaled or challenged ever since. Universally & unanimously hailed as one of the greatest & most influential films ever made, it is the best work by the master filmmaker who made a career out of crafting one masterpiece after another. Highly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.
Full review at: cinemaclown.wordpress.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's incredible how this movie is so overrated. Maybe because some people don't want to hear that "they didn't get" what the movie tries to say, or because it's a Stanley Kubrick film and no one can talk bad about his pictures. Actually, it's because of that i'm writing this,I don't usually write reviews for movies, but for this one I had to do. I went watching the movie thinking that it would be awesome, everybody say it's incredible, and because i loved the amazing films by the great Stanley Kubrick. But this one is really weak, it is not as nearly as entertaining, there's some pretty images and an interesting soundtrack, there's a nice story with HAL, but there's no plot, there's no character development and there are a bunch of pointless scenes that you want just to turn of the TV and go to sleep. I gotta say that there is a nice "tension" along the whole movie, i watched it always expecting that something would happen, and the soundtrack is good because it contributes to that, but nothing happens during two hours and a half. There are too much boring parts, 15 minutes of monkeys and an uncountable number of minutes with ships landing. However I still recommend this movie, because somehow it became a classic, and if you're gonna hate something you got to know why, but if you're gonna watch it have two things in mind: 1-Forget it's a Stanley Kubrick film. 2- Forget what other people say about it. This two facts will affect your judgement of the movie, and if you're gonna say you liked, you also got to know why, and because everybody says "it's art" is not a good reason, actually is not a reason at all. Really, I would rate this movie like a 4 or 5, but I gave 1 because i think it's grade need to be lowered, it can't be compared to the other Kubrick's great works.
One thing is certain, watching this movie is tough. There is SO much
going on, so many things easily over looked. It's easy to see why so
many dislike it and/or don't understand it. It's not so easy to see why
anyone idolizes it, but I can. It contains some pretty amazing stuff. I
completely agree with what one review said about saying that had I not
known what year this movie was made, I would have not guessed
correctly. My guess would have been along the lines of late 70's to
early 80's, which alone says something about the movie. It definitely
make you think as well.
Negatives? Soundtrack is repetitive as hell. If anyone denies that then they're just lying. It gets annoying and takes some enjoyment out of the film. Some scenes ARE too dragged out. I'm not in any hurry when it comes to movies, but good lord.
The final scenes.....whew....they will be talked about till the end of time, and for good reason. This was one of the unreasonably long scenes. It was almost torture. Maybe that's the way Kubrick meant to portray it, idk. I joked saying that the character in the movie was probably praying for death, and that the wrinkles were probably a result of unheard of boredom. The perfect word is "assault". The final scene is a relentless assault, and although amazing, it's excruciating at the same time.
This movie is a remarkable thing, but I'm not sold on how great of a movie it is. It just doesn't have a lot of substance. People will disagree and say I just don't understand it, but it just drags...period.
I have always appreciated the visual marvels of this movie. The images
are powerful and lasting,and the usage of classical music to add awe to
the effects of mankind's venture into space was a very smart decision
on the part of Stanley Kubrick and the editors of the film. HAving said
that,I can think of far more engaging stories that have been committed
The film,an adaptation of Arthur C.Clarke's 1963 bestseller,is probably best summed as a study in contrasts: the first,a dry look at the beginnings of man on Earth,learning to tame nature and each other,the second,mankind's utilization of technology and it's betray of man. The problems to me with this film are probably as much its most distinctive traits: namely,the pacing is glacially slow,there is precious little dialog and the visual image effects are drawn out to the point of tedium. If you are straining your ears for some sort of plot resolution or denouement from the characters involved,or seeking a central point of focus in this movie,you will be sorely disappointed.
Having said that,this film is far better viewed on a large screen or an IMAX,because this film's qualities seem to befit a medium that allows for a sense of awe or wonder. Seeing this on a small screen broadcast or on VHS almost completely dilutes the experience.
To true film fans,this film is AT LEAST worth a look or two. But I'd be lying if I said that this film was a very ingratiating film view
It's one of those movies that when I'm asked about it I say, "I thought it was kind of slow and boring". For some reason, when I found out that it was being broadcast commercial free and in letterbox format, I just had to see it. Even as I'm typing this I'm watching the "beyond the infinite" part and found myself doing other chores during the first hour of the film. I've read other reviews that have proclaimed this the greatest science fiction film ever made and nothing will ever come close. It makes me sad to read this because that means that only a handful of people can enjoy science fiction and I believe that this is not true. Arthur C. Clarke has said that even he doesn't know the definition of "science fiction", but I believe that a movie using the aid of computers, like Starship Troopers, is fine science fiction. For some reason, part of the reason that this film is so highly praised is because of its beautiful filmaking and that is something I can agree with on some level. There were times that I was asking myself, "How did he do that?" But this couldn't convince me to announce my worship to Stanley Kubrick like so many others have done. I enjoy a mysterious movie that raises more questions than answers, but unfortunately I don't enjoy the ongoing search for themes and plots.
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