A space-opera spanning the dawn of man to humanity reaching the stars, 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of the Black Monolith, humanity's evolution and the rise of A.I.'s ultimate supercomputer HAL 9000.
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
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, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.
"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
Stanley Kubrick previewed the film for critics, but quickly regretted doing so. Among the mostly indifferent and unfavorable reviews, as noted in the documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth (2001), were: "Somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring"--The New York Times; "A monumentally unimaginative movie"--Harpers; "Space Odyssey fails most gloriously"--Newsday; and "Big, Beautiful but plodding scifi epic. Superb photography major asset to confusing, long-unfolding plot."--Variety. See more »
Stanley Kubrick considered shooting the Dawn of man sequence on location in Southern Africa but was unable to due to the expense and also the likelihood of shooting being disrupted by adverse weather. Rear projection as well as colour separation overlay (blue-screen) were considered but not used because both methods would lack visual quality. Instead with assistance from MGM's special effects department the crew developed a new front projection system that used 8x10-inch slides taken on location in Africa. A high-intensity projector was aligned at a perfect angle from the camera and used to project the slide through a partially-transparent mirror that simulated placing the camera and projector in exactly the same place - thus the shadows cast by actors and set objects on the screen were invisible. However the screen material was only available in rolls of limited width and there were variations in reflectivity between rolls. Tearing the material up into small sections and "collaging" them together provided the best uniformity but with effort some variation can be seen in places. 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 »
Tribute to one of the top 5 filmmakers of our time...
I write this review just after hearing of Stanley Kubrick's death. It's a great loss, and I write about 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, because I feel it is the consummate Kubrick film, the one he will be most remembered for. It is a picture like no other, not only revolutionizing science fiction, but changing the way films are conceptualized. It was probably America's first 'art' film and has inspired the likes of George Lucas and countless other writers and directors.
Aside from its visual greatness, the reason the film spawns so much discussion and analysis is because so many people have so many different interpretations of it. Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, his co-writer, had a vision, but we have never really found out what was going through their minds. Of course, the skinny on its 'message' is how technology of the future will take over humanity and decide the course of our lives unless we are careful. 2001's ending is one of hope, a version of our rebirth through the star-child's flight back to earth. It is meaningless to many, but discerning filmgoers will understand.
Although 2001 does not have the wicked, dark humor of DR. STRANGELOVE or CLOCKWORK ORANGE, or contain strong, eccentric characters that filled his earlier works like PATHS OF GLORY or SPARTACUS, I still feel he would've liked to be remembered most for this. If anything, HAL will be his most memorable character, dangerous, murderous, and artificial. It was a half-decade in the making at a time when Hollywood was still churning out dull musicals and just waking up to the New Wave of French and Italian cinema. Kubrick was a maverick director who made great films on his own terms, his own time, and for everyone else to marvel at. He will be missed.
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