2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick

Monday, May 31, 2010

What a film.

The opening credits and the ending credits were too long, so just skipped through them. Though it does start with the famous music thum thum~~ thum thum thum~, lol, that everyone will surely recognise. The opening shots of the landscape are beautiful, but also long. Lots of artistic creations put in place, but just so long!

The film can be divided into roughly four parts. The first is of the pre humans still in their monkey like forms, where through inquisition they learn the use to hard bones as tools and weapon, leading to a change of diet from vegetations to (raw) meat. A black monolith that suddenly appears before them one night clearly distresses them. A thigh bone is hurled into the air to become a space ship.

Presumably this is 2001, where space travel is a norm, at least for the academics and the like. There is a secret mission on a planet where the black monolith has been uncovered, that apparently has been deliberately put deeply covered into the earth. It puzzles the men.

The third part is when another space ship is on its way to Jupiter, with two men on board, and the three men from the previous mission in hibernation also with them. The ship is run extensively by computers that is programmed to communicate with the workers, such as holding conversations and playing chess.

It is this part that kept me the most interested, and one of the equipment they used reminded me of iPad, a sheet like object from which they watched programmes, and also of the movie 'I, Robot', because of the way the computer system HAP controlled the ship and talked in that soothing, calm voice that is at the same time so scary!

The thing about the space that annoys me is that everthing runs in such SLOW, though beautiful motions.

At one point the computer HAP tells the workers:
"Take a stress pill, Dave."
I felt like one, after my impatience.

For some reason, like in the movie 'I, Robot', the computer starts to manipulate things to its own advantage. The men become uneasy, but one of them gets eliminated in space. The others under hibernation also die due to 'computer failures'. But of course, not all men can die. The day the computers become emotional, and stronger and more powerful than humans, will be a very frightening day for us all, indeed, at least for me. The last man, Dave, survives, and disconnects HAP. Thus the one man journey to Jupiter, towards uncertainty. Jupiter is the destination since that is the point where the black monolith seemed to project all its energy.

The entrance into Jupiter and the infinite space is portrayed in an awesome spectacle of bright eccentric pop colours, that at first wows you then begins to make you feel queasy. The same goes with the eerie music, which after a while just become an annoying continuation of noise, that you just want stopped.

It must be pointed out that the music in the beginning of the film is wonderful classic orchestral music; throughout most of the duration of the story there is little music, or even dialogue. Just silence, that goes well with the slowness of things, to make you fidgetty.

You must not get me wrong, though, I can definitely see how this film is so great, how it inspired so many others, such as George Lucas' Star Wars. The last part of the film, after all the extraordinary play of colour has past, is an usual artistic artificial space, where time is distorted. Dave is in his ship in a very earthly looking room, still in a drugged like stance after the journey; he is now an older man, exploring his surroundings. He sees a man eating inside a room; then that person is him, only older. Then there is an even older man in bed, that is also him. As the old man dies, he sees the black monolith at the foot of the bed; a star child is born.

It's amazing how this film was made, all those scenes of movements in space, with distorted perception of gravity. You can pick up the film was made in the 60s. Very creative. Very mysterious, and I totally do not get the meanings, it's just too much for me, but very much in awe.

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  1. a long post for a long film
    seems many others agree with me about the ipad - it's been almost a decade late in coming out!
    seems like that with everything else. we still don't drive cars that fly around above ground. space travel is still not the norm. perhaps we have thought too much about our abilities in the 20th century on how our world would be like entering the 21st..


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