2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

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Davey the Fat Boy
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2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 04 Apr 2018, 22:38

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Alluding to Kubrick has long been a pretty commonplace signifier for cinematic ambition - and when people invoke his name that way, they are thinking about 2001, aren’t they?

I certainly was remembering the film within that framework when I took my teenage daughter to see it in 70MM about 5 months ago. So it was strange how quaint some of it felt. No less ambitious than I had recalled it - but really like a time capsule from another era. Now that we’re 17 years past the date it envisions, some of the scenes (especially in the first half) had a whiff of “1968 world’s fair” about them, and the visual freak out at the end seemed at kitschy as the LSD trip in Easy Rider does now.

My daughter was seemingly less than impressed, but offered that “The Shining is one of my favorite movies.” I felt like I’d failed a bit...remembering my father taking me to see 2001 every chance he could. We saw it in planetariums and domed theaters...anywhere it was projected. My father didn’t confer greatness onto any other works of art - but he clearly believed 2001 to be the pinnacle of art, and I never questioned that he was right. Even as I found it unfathomable.

Over the years I was able to make sense of its plot. So much so that it seems almost startlingly linear watching it now. Certainly there have been other films since that are harder to unpack.

But there is STILL something awe-inspiring about it, isn’t there? Maybe it’s the subject matter itself. The fact that a film ever dared to take seriously the idea that mankind might really evolve as a species - and dared to illustrate what that might look like.

My father wasn’t right about art too often. But I think he was right about 2001, and I hope it nags at my daughter over time. I’d hate to think that a generation weaned on CGI depictions of the Marvel Universe believes that we’ve all evolved beyond it.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Quaco » 04 Apr 2018, 23:54

Some of the typefaces, shapes of chairs, etc. could be called dated, but the rest of it holds up. I plan on seeing the new version, so I'll check back to make sure I agree with myself. It does seem that the more quaint, dated thing about it is the cleanness and civility of the people and the action.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby ORORORO » 05 Apr 2018, 00:04

I like the datedness of it and I think that's part of its appeal and I know you're not supposed to say that.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 05 Apr 2018, 01:30

Weston Drury, Jnr. wrote:I like the datedness of it and I think that's part of its appeal and I know you're not supposed to say that.



I don’t disagree. It’s like listening to records from the same era. Comforting, but seemingly a world away.

Hard to imagine this scene in a modern film. Not just the clothes and the set...but the pacing:

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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Hightea » 05 Apr 2018, 02:32

Love it but was from a biased household. My dad part of the ranger missions, so anything about space and we were sold. Don't remember the first time we saw it but we would have been young. But watched it several times in the 70's and onward. Yes agree about the certain 60's space look about it that makes it dated but still worth watching from time to time.

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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Charlie O. » 05 Apr 2018, 03:43

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My father didn’t confer greatness onto any other works of art - but he clearly believed 2001 to be the pinnacle of art, and I never questioned that he was right.

What was his opinion of The Zombies? ;)

I've only seen it from beginning to end once, and I won't pretend that I totally grokked it. But I'd love to see it again.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 05 Apr 2018, 03:56

Charlie O. wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:My father didn’t confer greatness onto any other works of art - but he clearly believed 2001 to be the pinnacle of art, and I never questioned that he was right.

What was his opinion of The Zombies? ;)


I doubt he knows they exist!
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Rayge » 05 Apr 2018, 09:35

Old news to anyone who's seen my posts before, but I saw it twice in the space of a week at the cinema (at this distance the reasons why I went back the second timeare lost) and I absolutely hated it (to this day, whenever I hear a Strauss waltz, I want to hit something). The second time still ranks as my worst experience in a cinema, even beats out the time I saw The Wicker Man/Don't Look Now double bill with a raging migraine.
Doesn't mean it's not art, maybe even great art: it's just that all it moved me to was resentment and ultimately disgust. Kubrick struck me back then as a miserable fucker with a nasty outlook on life, and I've never had a reason to change that view.
To be fairer than I usually am, it may well have suffered, as Sgt Poopy did, from being released so soon after my father's death.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby caramba » 05 Apr 2018, 09:48

While the technology available to SK in 1968 has caused 2001 to date, his vision as a film-maker hasn't dimmed one jot. His use of the ape/bone/spaceship transition to sum up the whole of human history early on in the film has got to be one of the most imaginative and effective cinematic edits ever.

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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby never/ever » 05 Apr 2018, 11:33

I saw this as part of our cinematic club in high school at age 14. Earlier I had my mind blown by Star Wars, was watching sci-fi series like Star Trek, Logan's Run and Space 1999 with great interest and read all sorts of fantasy and science fiction novels....although I had heard of this movie and saw the poster frequently at our local cinema, I had no preconceived idea about what the movie was about.

What struck me was how Kubrick made a potent science fiction-movie without all the bells and whistles the genre was known for In the 70s (and yes, I know that this movie preceded them by a decade or so). The use of several classical themes as backdrop was interesting. The slow sequences showing the full movement of the ship was a scene n itself and not an insert. The tense scenes with Dave in space, confronting HAL in silence with only his breath as a sound effect was terrific and added to the whole 'empty space'-backdrop. In a time where movies were saturated wall to wall with sound and vision, Kubrick found a way to deliver a true feeling of being in space by giving a more accurate, action-less driven version of it.
The ending is the only part that still doesn't quite work out for me but for the rest it is utterly absorbing and amazing.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Quaco » 05 Apr 2018, 17:44

Rayge wrote:Kubrick struck me back then as a miserable fucker with a nasty outlook on life, and I've never had a reason to change that view.

I can see how some of his movies (Barry Lyndon, The Shining) might leave you with that feeling, but 2001 -- mankind does evolve -- and A Clockwork Orange -- people are people and society should never try to change that -- both seem pretty optimistic or at least neutral.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Goat Boy » 05 Apr 2018, 17:58

I only saw it on the big screen fairly recently but it was something of a revelation to me. For years I was always a bit bored by it (probably stoned as well, searching for the ultimate movie high or some shit).

On the big screen though I was gripped from the beginning. Just watching the opening scene with THAT music and the timpanis going off like canons made me GET IT. Instantly. This is what Kubrick had in mind. Not some tv screen or, heaven forbid, some mobile device but your own personal black monolith with music so loud it could loosen your fillings. A lot of directors have attempted science fiction but few have managed to convey the infinite like Kubrick does in just THE OPENING FUCKING SCENE. You know how Till I Die by the Beach Boys captures that humbling moment when the overwhelming vastness of the universe almost, sorta, reveals itself to us - well, as best it can to our simian minds I guess - and we feel so incredibly small and helpless but also thrilled because for a brief moment the wonder of the universe is almost somehow tangible? Well that's what I get from the opening scene. It really thrills.

I don't care if some of it is dated. I actually think the special effects stand up remarkably well considering it's 50 years old. I love their crispness and physicality. The films marriage of music and visuals is sublime and its overall vision is majestic. I mean just the fact that it puts forward this notion of limitless human evolution is so wonderful to me. It took such balls to do that because it's the kind of thing that is easy to laugh at. A fucking star child? But it feels sincere, that's the thing. It's the kind of climax that in the wrong hands would just be so silly but here it's beautiful and right.

It's a serious film by a serious man. I only wish more science fiction was made with such intentions and lofty ambitions.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Jeemo » 05 Apr 2018, 18:19

great post Dougie
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Goat Boy » 05 Apr 2018, 18:20

of course it's no Interstellar
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Dr Markus » 05 Apr 2018, 18:45

Still bored by it and still haven't watched all the way through.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Quaco » 05 Apr 2018, 18:48

The origins of the movie are in this short story. Worth a read for people who don't get it or aren't sure ...

http://future-lives.com/wp-content/uplo ... ntinel.pdf
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Pansy Puff » 05 Apr 2018, 18:50

I'm definitely closer to Dougie than Markus in my evaluation of the film. It's mesmerising. I particularly love the long periods with no dialogue.
The while section with Dave realising what Hal is doing is amazing too, and the end, pretentious as it may be, is perfect for the film.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Jeemo » 05 Apr 2018, 19:08

Goat Boy wrote:of course it's no Interstellar


only the thickest of the thick would rate interstellar over 2001.
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Pansy Puff » 05 Apr 2018, 19:12

Jeemo wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:of course it's no Interstellar


only the thickest of the thick would rate interstellar over 2001.

Surely no-one actually rates Interstellar over 2001?
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Re: 2001: A Space Odessey turns 50

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 05 Apr 2018, 19:54

Goat Boy wrote: On the big screen though I was gripped from the beginning. Just watching the opening scene with THAT music and the timpanis going off like canons made me GET IT. Instantly. This is what Kubrick had in mind. Not some tv screen or, heaven forbid, some mobile device but your own personal black monolith with music so loud it could loosen your fillings. A lot of directors have attempted science fiction but few have managed to convey the infinite like Kubrick does in just THE OPENING FUCKING SCENE. You know how Till I Die by the Beach Boys captures that humbling moment when the overwhelming vastness of the universe almost, sorta, reveals itself to us - well, as best it can to our simian minds I guess - and we feel so incredibly small and helpless but also thrilled because for a brief moment the wonder of the universe is almost somehow tangible? Well that's what I get from the opening scene. It really thrills.


I think this pretty much nails it. 2001 has so few words. It doesn’t need them.

It is amazing how few films actually aspire to be truly cinematic anymore. We don’t have many moments in modern films like the ones you describe here, or seeing Peter O’Toole alone in the vastness of the desert. You forget the potential power of the medium.
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