2001: A Space Odyssey

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Prometheus
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2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by Prometheus » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:33 am

I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time last night. It is one of those films that I’ve been meaning to see for some time, but just kept forgetting to do so. Prior to watching it I had no knowledge of the film save for the use of the Zarathustra opening by Strauss.

While watching I was struck by the overall feel of the film. There were many excellent camera shots, almost an expansive nature to the scenery that looked more modern than the year it was made. The camera does not move fast either; there was a slow motion aspect of it that reinforced the space of scenery.

Very much enjoyed the use of Classical Music and the lack of dialogue. It at times felt less like a traditional film and more like viewing a landscape.

Any other fans of the film? Is the sequel, 2010, any good?

Ricordanza
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:26 am

Prometheus wrote:I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time last night. ...

Any other fans of the film? Is the sequel, 2010, any good?
I saw this film when it first came out, and it made an immediate and enormous impression...and it still made an impression the four or five times I have seen it since. It remains one of my all-time favorites. The sequel is pale by comparison.

Parenthetically, when I first saw this film, although I obviously recognized "The Blue Danube," I had never heard Also Sprach Zarathustra before, or even realized that this was something other than music written for the film. It wasn't until years later that I heard the complete work.

HoustonDavid
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by HoustonDavid » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:58 pm

Many consider this Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece among the many great films he
directed. It is on nearly everyone's top two or three science fiction films despite its
age. Considering the number of films in that genre, especially since the advent of
CGI, that is quite a compliment. Back in the '60's people used to smoke a joint or
even drop acid in order to "better" understand or appreciate the enigmatic ending.

I'm not sure anyone has come up with a completely satisfactory explanation of that
sequence ending with the baby in the womb. The symbolism of "rebirth" is obvious,
but the sequence of events preceding it is still subject to speculation. Certainly a
part of what makes this a great film. Kubrick died without providing an explanation.

Arthur C. Clark's book - a masterpiece of science fiction literature - upon which the
film is based doesn't provide any inciteful information either. Certainly the sequel
"2010" is a big letdown, but to be expected considering the film (and book) to which
it will always be compared. There has been no attempt to make films of the other
books in Clark's continuation of the story.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

karlhenning
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by karlhenning » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:54 pm

I had come to think somehow that the film pre-dated Clarke's book.

Cheers,
~Karl
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HoustonDavid
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by HoustonDavid » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:16 am

Karl, you are very correct and diplomatic in pointing out the error of my memory.
As in so many things, I should'a looked it up before pontificating. According to
Wikipedia:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film. The story is based in part on various short stories by Clarke, most notably "The Sentinel" (written in 1948 for a BBC competition but first published in 1951 under the title "Sentinel of Eternity"). For an elaboration of Clarke and Kubrick's collaborative work on this project, see The Lost Worlds of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke, Signet, 1972.

Clarke did indeed write a few sequels based on similar themes and the elaboration of
the "reborn" universe hinted at in "2010". I may have been remembering "The Sentinel"
because I was a huge fan of Clarke's work at that time. I am still a great fan of Kubrick's
films.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

Prometheus
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by Prometheus » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:30 am

Thanks for the replies and further info about the creation of the book and film.

Regarding the use of the two pieces by Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss II: I really liked as well the transition between time that meshed the bone into the satellite, showing both as inventions and weapons. The fact that this was done while playing two pieces of music by persons with the same last name, though no relation, also further paralleled the transition.

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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:47 pm

I savor the film as much as anyone, but thought the ending was an elaborate cop-out. Even when those kind of effects were supposed to be novel and impressive, they only bored me, without stimulating my imagination by suggesting a range of interpretations about what was supposed to have happened.

The sequel, 2010, is IMO a much better movie than general opinion would have it. It is a superior SF movie in its own right that couldn't measure up to the iconic hold the first movie has. It does an imaginative and convincing job of resolving the HAL issue and, with respect to the theme of aliens influencing our solar system, has a far more satisfactory ending.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:19 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:Karl, you are very correct and diplomatic in pointing out the error of my memory.
As in so many things, I should'a looked it up before pontificating. According to
Wikipedia:

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film. The story is based in part on various short stories by Clarke, most notably "The Sentinel" (written in 1948 for a BBC competition but first published in 1951 under the title "Sentinel of Eternity"). For an elaboration of Clarke and Kubrick's collaborative work on this project, see The Lost Worlds of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke, Signet, 1972.

Clarke did indeed write a few sequels based on similar themes and the elaboration of
the "reborn" universe hinted at in "2010". I may have been remembering "The Sentinel"
because I was a huge fan of Clarke's work at that time. I am still a great fan of Kubrick's
films.
Then you're still in large part right, David, as part of the idea of the film came from the earlier story.
jbuck919 wrote:I savor the film as much as anyone, but thought the ending was an elaborate cop-out. Even when those kind of effects were supposed to be novel and impressive, they only bored me, without stimulating my imagination by suggesting a range of interpretations about what was supposed to have happened.

The sequel, 2010, is IMO a much better movie than general opinion would have it. It is a superior SF movie in its own right that couldn't measure up to the iconic hold the first movie has. It does an imaginative and convincing job of resolving the HAL issue and, with respect to the theme of aliens influencing our solar system, has a far more satisfactory ending.
Very interesting, John. I've been kind-of-interested in revisiting the original movie, but your commentary kindles a curiosity in the sequel, too . . . .

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

david johnson
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by david johnson » Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:40 pm

2001 is/was a flick that interests me but does not excite me. Clarke told lots of good tales, but ruined many of them when he 'preachy'. Sagan's 'Contact' suffers the same fatal malady.

HoustonDavid
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by HoustonDavid » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:02 am

David (Johnson):

If I were to make a list of greatest science fiction films, "2001" would rank in the top
two or three - as I've said before - but the so-called "Sagan" film "Contact would rank
2,987th. I do tend to exaggerate, particularly in person, but it was a total failure on
so many levels. Sagan's principle theorem offered at the end of his book "Contact", is
that "pi" was the root of intelligent communication because it is a universal mathematical
concept no matter what universe intelligent beings inhabit. The movie - I refuse to dignify
it by calling it a film - doesn't even get to that concept. A waste of at least one very good
actor.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

karlhenning
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by karlhenning » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:31 am

Well, but at least that actor had work for a couple of months.

David (Johnson), I agree, but I think that a didactic tone is quite a common problem in science-fiction, generally.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

HoustonDavid
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by HoustonDavid » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:09 pm

That may be true, but at least they learned something..... :wink:
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

bigshot
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by bigshot » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:28 am

2001 is a half of a good movie.

I much prefer Lolita and Dr Strangelove. I think 2001 and Clockwork Orange just aren't good movies.

John F
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by John F » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:55 am

HoustonDavid wrote:I'm not sure anyone has come up with a completely satisfactory explanation of that sequence ending with the baby in the womb. The symbolism of "rebirth" is obvious, but the sequence of events preceding it is still subject to speculation. Certainly a part of what makes this a great film. Kubrick died without providing an explanation.
"2001" doesn't give answers, it asks questions. For example, we never find out who or what created the monoliths, or why, though some kind of "intelligent design" is implied. And the fetal conclusion leaves all the questions open, including the big one of what the story is really about. Add to this that the most striking personality, and the only one to undergo character development and conflict, is a talking computer, and you realize what a strange movie this is, even for science fiction, and especially from an old-line mainstream studio such as MGM. Without Kubrik's visual brilliance, I expect it would have been a flop, and its release in 1968 was perfectly if inadvertently timed to catch the eye and imagination of a pot-smoking countercultural generation.

I haven't seen it again since 1968 nor particularly wanted to. However effective the story-telling, which was Clarke's forte, the writing is flat, which was Clarke's weakness. It might be argued, and probably has been, that the minimalism of the character-drawing and dialogue, amid all the special effects of space and possibly time travel, is one of the movie's points, and maybe it is. But it bores me.
John Francis

Bro
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by Bro » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:12 pm

bigshot wrote:2001 is a half of a good movie.

I much prefer Lolita and Dr Strangelove. I think 2001 and Clockwork Orange just aren't good movies.
I do too, bigshot. And I really like Paths of Glory and The Killing. I think Pauline Kael said it best when she called 2001 " a monumentally unimaginative movie". A second grader could have written the screenplay. Kael also wrote, amusingly, that the Hal computer's voice suggested a rejected homosexual lover. I also agree with her about Clockwork (the movie) being morally repellent and about Barry Lyndon, about which she said,.. "it is movie for people who think things are lovely,.. and people are disgusting.."

Bro

bigshot
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by bigshot » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:42 pm

John F wrote:
HoustonDavid wrote:I'm not sure anyone has come up with a completely satisfactory explanation of that sequence ending with the baby in the womb.
"2001" doesn't give answers, it asks questions.
The book explains the Star Child and what is happening at the end with Dullea. Kubrick wisely realized that making that all literal in the film would look silly. Unfortunately, he didn't come up with any way of handling the end that made any kind of visual sense. He went from zippy light show to plodding obfuscation to a baby floating in space. It left many viewers with a sense of portent without having to actually express anything important to them.

It's always fun to hear people after the movie trying to explain what it all means to their puzzled girlfriends. I've overheard a hundred different wild guesses, some of them quite funny. To me 2001 is like the Emporor's New Clothes.

bigshot
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by bigshot » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:53 pm

For a futuristic fable, Clockwork Orange is one of the most incredibly dated movies of all time. The whole thing screams Beatle boots, Carnaby Street and Neru jackets. But the aggressively ugly action blinds people to the hilarious unintentional tastelessness of the whole thing. Clockwork Orange reminds me of the Dr Phibes movies, but it isn't nearly as fun.

Kubrick is a master of audience manipulation and misdirection. He plays on their tendency to ascribe importance to things that seem like they're important. When he took on portraying real human traits, like in the first half of Full Metal Jacket, Lolita, the characters in The Shining, and the caricatures of personalities in Dr Strangelove, he was great. When he tried to depict oh so serous epic themes of society and the future of mankind, he pumped out sludge.

John F
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Re: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Post by John F » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:33 pm

Clarke made a mini-career based on the movie, starting with his novelization with the same title and continuing with three sequels, one of which was filmed. But taking the movie in itself, the answers just aren't there. Clarke may have provided the story, but Kubrick made the movie; though related - obviously - they're different productions - obviously.

I haven't read the novelization, and I won't, but I have read the synopsis in Wikipedia. The novel makes explicit what Kubrick chose to make ambiguous, and continues well beyond the last scene of the movie. If this is the scenario that Clarke originally provided to Kubrick, it's easy to see why Kubrick didn't film it - for one thing, that would have called for an immensely larger budget, and for another, it would have made an already long movie considerably longer. (The final cut, cut by 19 minutes after the premiere, is 141 minutes plus intermission, and it was also cut substantially before release.) However, film and novel end in essentially the same ambiguous way, with the "star child's" future unknown and unknowable. In that respect, then, Kubrick remains true to Clarke's vision.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Sp ... ey_(novel)

Incidentally, "2001" relates to Clarke's first and very successful novel, "Childhood's End," which also posits vastly powerful and intelligent extraterrestrials with a benevolent and shaping influence on human evolution. God, in effect - and when you think about it, the Judeo-Christian God is indeed an extraterrestrial. :D But the ETs in "Childhood's End" look like conventional representations of Satan.
John Francis

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