A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
"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
The film inspired David Bowie's 1969 breakthrough single "Space Oddity" (hence the title), which was written about an astronaut stranded in space. On a more humerus note: the Mad Magazine version of the movie was entitled: "2001 a Space Idiocy!" See more »
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 »
[choosing sandwiches from a cooler while flying over the lunar surface]
What's that? Chicken?
Dr. Bill Michaels:
Something like that. Tastes the same anyway.
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In the 2001 UK cinema re-release, the music carries on for 10-15 minutes after the end of the credits. See more »
The film originally premiered at 160 minutes. After the premiere, director Stanley Kubrick removed about 19 minutes' worth of scenes and made a few changes:
Some shots from the "Dawn of Man" sequence were removed and a new scene was inserted where an ape pauses with the bone it is about to use as a tool. The new scene was a low-angle shot of the monolith, done in order to portray and clarify the connection between the man-ape using the tool and the monolith.
Some shots of Frank Poole jogging in the centrifuge were removed.
An entire sequence of several shots in which Dave Bowman searches for the replacement antenna part in storage was removed.
A scene where HAL severs radio communication between the "Discovery" and Poole's pod before killing him was removed. This scene explains a line that stayed in the film in which Bowman addresses HAL on the subject.
Some shots of Poole's space walk before he is killed were removed.
I'm always surprised, given that the famous title track of 2001 is called "Also sprach Zarathustra", that nobody (nobody I've read, anyway) has noted the parallels between the movie and Nietzsche's famous work, "Also sprach Zarathustra". The idea of man's rebirth into a star child; an infant form of an indescribably more advanced being, is an explicit part of N.'s "Zarathustra"; there is a prominent passage called "On how a camel becomes a lion, and a lion becomes a child", in which N. describes the first incarnation of the overman as a child, transcending both the ascetic, altruistic side of man (the camel; always asking to bear more weight) and the rapacious, brutish, will-to-power side of man (the lion). The fact that the song plays during the star child sequence can hardly be coincidence. And also, Zarathustra said that "man is a rope tied between beasts and the overman." The structure of the movie fits that description: a brief history of man as beast, until we become truly man by mastering weapons and acquiring reason, then a long sequence about man (the rope, as it were), and then a brief glimpse of the overman. The inscrutability of how these transformations occurred, and the suggestion that an external force caused them, is also Nietzschean; in "Zarathustra", he makes it pretty clear that he doesn't have a clue how people are going to be able to enact these changes themselves and suggests that we will have to depend on an outsider (Zarathustra) to show us how to "go under". Bowman's psychedelic sequence at the near-end could be seen as Kubrick's best 1960's-style attempt at depicting the mystical "going under".
I know these parallels are pretty broad, and almost certainly have been noted elsewhere despite the fact that I have not personally seen it. But I just wanted to mention them, if for no other reason than to try to dispel the myth that Nietzsche was ultimately a gloomy philosopher. Few people find the ending of 2001 to be gloomy, and it is in my opinion, explicitly and unmistakeably Nietzschean. The case could certainly be made that 2001 is above all a dramatization of "Zarathustra" updated for the modern age. Feel free to disregard the outright snobbishness of my tying everything to Nietzsche.
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