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Watching a movie like `2001: A Space Odyssey' is mildly depressing on some
levels, when you realise the film world has lost the talent of Stanley
Kubrick. His movies feature heavily in IMDB's Top 250.. because they
to. This is certainly no exception, and I'd place it even higher than it's
current #54 ranking.
The plot? Funnily enough there's not much of one, and it's hard to describe what there is. A giant black monolith appears before primitive man on Earth. Then it appears again on the moon in 2001, before also being seen near Jupiter. A crew, under the guidance of their onboard computer HAL, are sent to investigate. What is it? Well watch the movie (though you won't necessarily find out what it is.).
What of the script and acting? It's shocking to realise it's about twenty-four minutes into the movie before you get the first word of dialogue. In fact the dialogue is incredibly sparse. A lot of what's there is exposition, as a character explains why they're heading to Jupiter, or how HAL works, et cetera. There's little in the way of banter, though the movie doesn't suffer from it. The acting, what's needed, isn't particularly out standing - Keir Dullea, playing the principal scientist David Bowman is quite wooden and his main counterpoint, the soft dulcet tones of HAL, is a blinking red light. Yet they work because the speech is so sparse, so that you attention is never really drawn to the performances.
It's the direction that makes this movie entirely. In the hands of many others this movie would have been a shambles, but Kubrick elevates it to greatness. It's hard to imagine being able to make huge chunks of movie without dialogue interesting, and yet Kubrick does just that. It's an understatement to say the movie looks gorgeous - despite being a product of 1968, it still stands proud with it's use of detailed models (as opposed to the weak CGI still employed). The camera work is typically absorbing, often taking in huge vistas in a single shot that manages to frame the scene perfectly. There's a very meditative tone to it all - we can focus on a ship drifting for a minute, without ever finding it tedious. Each set piece is beautifully constructed, and yet never is there a feeling that Kubrick's style got in the way of creating a feeling of authenticity. There's never a break, or jarring moment, that jolts the viewer from the movie's universe, despite some increasing drug-induced moments towards the movie's end (which manage to still look fantastic - the Star Gate sequence is trippy, but dreamily invocative too). The sound is fantastically well chosen - the classical music score used at peak moments of the movie work great, and really add a sense of wonder to what's been shown. It's not just the music though that shines out, as Kubrick chooses to completely silence the movie at some points, or have one sound - such as heavy breathing - the only dominant noise on screen, drawing the viewer right into the moment with the character, with an intensity that would be lost if supplemented by needless music.
It's hard to fully describe the magic of `2001: A Space Odyssey'. It's an `experience' movie that needs to be seen to be able to understand why it still stands the test of time. Watch it in a quiet room and dream of what may yet be. 9/10.
Good Points: Absolutely everything. The lovely mating of Arthur C.
Clarke's story with (da Man) Stanley Kubrick's directing gives birth to a
classic film with a life all its own. And here we have an interesting
of 'nobody got it, but in a COOL way.' The meaning behind 2001: A Space
Odyssey has been debated since the day it first hit the screen, and this
without argument, part of its charm. Clarke and Kubrick take the road
travelled and refuse to spell it out for us. If asked what it means, no
doubt they would with a steely gaze reply, "What do YOU think it means?"
Absolutely fantastic film in every way.
Bad Points: The only complaint I have about this movie is Kubrick's penchant for stretching things out. Usually it's appropriate and well-placed, but sometimes not. I think most would agree that sitting there watching spaceships flit about to classical music is neat for the first three minutes, tiresome by the seventh, and downright boring by the tenth. And if we were going to be forced to watch every move Frank made getting to the A.E.35 unit, could we at least hear something besides that annoying hiss? Don't get me wrong. I love Kubrick's work and the man is a genius. But even genuises do something stupid now and again.
Bottom Line: 2001 is one of the finest movies we hairless apes have ever made. The fact that it was made in 1968 only serves to further astound the viewer. Fantastic story. Masterful directing. This is what filmmaking is all about, people. Watch it or die.
2001: A Space Odyssey My Notes and Interpretations By Scott Holman
On the End - - As Bowman and space pod eject from the Discovery spacecraft we get a significant impulse of viewing a, so to say, new renaissance. Perhaps this is because of the significant subconscious correlation between the mechanisms and sexual intercourse, the Discovery as a phallic image, and the pod as sperm. These perhaps unrealized metaphorical entities symbolize the beginnings of an entirely new step. The psychedelic leap which soon ensues is, symbolically speaking, a parallel between the path to conception and birth, and the same to death and the inevitable after-product. - Again, we have the linking of birth and death, as Bowman, fresh from the for-mentioned journey, finds himself thrown into a cold, different, and thoroughly disturbing new world, in the guise of the Louise XVI suite. It is there that he is forced to confront his life as it would have been had he not been taken from it so abruptly. After this eerily profound display, he is given an option; to live out the life he has just witnessed, or take place in the next step in human evolution. Reaching for the solemn Monolith, possibly a fathomable image of God, his choice has been made. He will now cease to become the working man, whose mind functions merely to control his body, but become the thinking man, whose body is nothing more than a vessel to hold his newly formed mind. -
On the Banality of Characters - - In the views and opinions of the author, spontaneity is a prime step towards the development of personality. In the films near future, as we have progressed into a thoroughly mechanical social order, so also have our personalities. When a life leads such a linear and predictable pattern, there is little chance of freak alterations, lending every person his exclusive one-dimensionality. -
On HALs Mutiny - - It is well believed that emotions are the key separation between man and animal. Therefore anything endowed with these emotions is, perhaps non-technically, human (a la HAL). However, humanity is not selective, but a package deal. Therefor anyone filled with the essence of humanity carries the ability to act upon all that entails, whether helpful or harmful to those around him. Perhaps no one can be good without the ability to do evil. -
On Extraterrestrial Existence - - Anyone, whether confiding in the belief of God or not, must believe that the universe is infinite. And in the infinite, an infinite amount of things are possible. This then, ironically, makes it highly improbable that extraterrestrial life (or anti-life for that matter) does not exist. However, this also lends to the possibility that these beings would be, rather than the bug-eyed monsters of the perennial pulp magazines, unfathomable to earthbound minds. It is therefore probable that these beings could exist in another spectrum, made up of a variety of unimaginable colors. The same goes for lines of symmetry, and physical plains. In infinity there can only exist infinity.
This movie was released in 1968. That's 33 years ago.
For those who were not even alive then (check your birth date...are you younger than 33?), watch other science-fiction genre movies of the day and compare them to 2001 to get a perspective and appreciation of it's WAY-ahead-of-its-time stature.
This ain't no Robbie the Robot (even tho THAT was ahead of IT'S time). Hell, compare it to sci-fi films of today. Compare it from several angles, not just computer-animation and computer-generated explosions.
Too slow? Get away from sitting in front of your PC chat rooms, day-trading, and computer games - get out and experience nature to get a feel for the natural flow of life.
By the way, I thought it was terrific.
Let me tell you about the first time I saw this film. It had been released
only a few years earlier and was evidently still playing in cinemas. My
father took me to see it one day. It would have been around 1971, and I was
5 years old. I don't remember much clearly, and at that age I doubt most
people could, however one scene was etched into my mind. It was of course
the ending, where Dave emerges from his pod into the room. Why did this
scene have such an impact? Not because of its significance to a 5 year old,
but because it was at the point in the film that my father told me we could
go because there was nothing more to see. He then attempted to usher me
the theatre. Apparently, he explained, the "space epic" was over. I was
unconvinced and insisted that we stay until the end (you know, when the
credits role?). What I saw from that point remains with me not just due to
its unique nature, but specifically because it was deemed to be not worth
seeing by my father - someone who's opinion I valued and trusted. Although
this time, I knew that missing this scene would have been a mistake I would
regret in later life. I may have been only 5 years old, but I could tell
something significant was happening here, and in a strange way, I have my
father to thank for drawing attention to it!
It was years before I saw the film again, all the while remembering that occurrence of years earlier where it was deemed that the ending to this film actually occurred before the final scene. Why? Upon viewing the film again as an adolescent, I realised why. It is because this is the exact point in the film is where it transcends a number of commonly held notions. It transcends the notion of a "space movie". It transcends the explicable. And it transcends the accepted conventions of cinema. I could see that my father was motivated by fear. The fear that my first words upon leaving the cinema would be "What did that mean?". A question he could not answer, or perhaps did not think it was possible to explain to a 5 year old.
Go to see this film, and if you find yourself thinking it is incomprehensible (or worse, has no script, direction, theme, etc.) then force yourself to watch it to its conclusion and then watch it again until you understand. Because this film contains, in it's entirety the largest idea ever put forth in a science fiction film, if not in films of all kinds. And the idea is truly awesome.
2001: A Space Odyssey is the best sci-fi movie I have ever seen. From Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra" to the HAL-9000 computer to Bowman's weird trip through the star gate, this film is perfect. It starts out at "The Dawn of Man", where we first get a glimpse of those apes that we developed from. We also get our first glimpse of the huge black slab known as the monolith. Well, as soon as the apes touch it, they became hunters and killers, something from which they weren't before. The monolith somehow gave them the knowledge to kill and hunt so they can evolve. Although these scenes are long (around 25 minutes), they are very well set up and keeps the viewer's attention, well, those who didn't fall asleep yet anyway. Fast forward 4 million years to 1999. A second monolith is found on the moon near the crater Tycho and a team led by Dr. Haywood Floyd (William Sylvester) sets out to investigate it. While they gather for pictures, an ear piercing sound emerged from the monolith heading straight for Jupiter. Forward a year and a half to 2001. The spaceship "Discovery", with it's commander David Bowman (Keir Dullea), co-pilot Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood), 3 hibernating scientists and central computer HAL-9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain) is on it's way to Jupiter on the orders of Dr. Floyd to find out what they can about the monolith and what is actually near there. Kubrick stretches out these scenes so much that we can actually be on the Discovery and feel for the 2 commanders as the boredom eventually sets in. Dave draws pictures of the hibernating scientists, Frank plays chess and relaxes, the sleep, eat, run parts of the ship and talk to HAL, that is about all they can do considering that HAL runs mostly all of the ship's systems. After Dave and Frank notice the "mistake" HAL makes, things start to kick in. The decide to disconnect him but HAL strikes back, killing Frank outside the ship by disconnecting his air supply, and then shutting off the life support systems of the 3 hibernating scientists while Dave sets off to rescue Frank (who is already dead). Then, to make matters worse, HAL won't let Dave in the ship! Dave, after some quick thinking, finally gets in the ship and disconnects HAL. Now, after this, we are treated to the stunning "star gate" sequence, where Dave goes to investigate giant, floating monolith over Jupiter. I have to say, I think this is the scariest part of the film, seeing all of those colors and shapes and objects flying around, sends chills up my back. After that sequence, Dave ends up in a hotel room, visibly shaken from the encounter, where he grows old, older, on his deathbed and then, turned into a child, reborn so to say. This film leaves so many questions unanswered and that is what Kubrick wanted. I mean, what was the monolith? Who sent it? What REALLY happened to Dave Bowman? Why did HAL malfunction? These questions are meant to be answered in "2010" and they aren't, making the whole story seem more confusing. People who watch this film will either like it (because of the questions being presented and the philosophical meaning of it) or hate it (it's too slow, boring, dull and there is no dialogue), either way, this film ranks up there as Kubrick's best work and no matter how many times I watch this film, it amazes me more and more and more.
I have seen 2001 all of twice now, but I will never cease to marvel at what an astounding accomplishment it is. I have never seen a film with such amazing vision. Everything in it seems so incredibly well and completely though out. Kubrick is, no question, the bravest director I've ever seen. What other director would have an overture, intermission, entre'acte and exit music now? The space sequences are truly silent, whereas Armageddon, for example, fills it with useless noise. It gives the real feeling of a void, a vacuum, of emptiness and infinity itself. 2001 is a visual opera. It tests the limits of cinema and the very imagination. I have never seen another movie that required real existential discussion afterwards. This movie, though it is over 30 years old, has the greatest special effects of any ever. The ending sequence may be the greatest 20 minutes ever captured on film. The title is perfect: "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite." How it was done is beyond me. How Kubrick could have ever even imagined it is totally beyond me. I would say right now that this is the greatest film I have ever seen. It is a masterpiece. The film world is immeasurably poorer without Kubrick, but it owes him an eternal debt.
2001,is certainly the best sci-fi picture ever made,because it takes you to a wonderful futuristic world,but it also shows a theory that changes everything we have been told.I think it is important to say that it is a movie that pleases the eye and yet the ear while it is playing with our mind.
I must say this movie makes you think and that is why it is so good. The feeling of where one comes from can be scary but is also very interesting. To even imagine that our race was primates is very unnerving. But the way Kubrick does makes it so real and the music in this film is fantastic in the scenes. From the beginning shots of sunrise from space to the final triumph of Dave Bowman as the star child this movie is spectacular. The evolution of mankind is beautiful in detail. This movie just plain rules.
2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest movie of all time. The importance of this movie is greatly depreciated. It is one of the important movies ever made. The meaning of this is so deep. It is amazing, I recommend it to anyone.
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