2001: A Space Odyssey
Written by Andrew Anselmo
Starring Keir Duella, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Written by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Running Time 141 minutes
MPAA Rating G
Selig Film Rating Full Price
As I watched yesterday, for the second time in as many days, I was able to see more of what a masterpiece this film truly is – a film truly before itʼs time, featuring the most incredible photography that seems so real, it blew my mind as to how exactly it came to fruition. Then, when I learned of the filmʼs release date, 1968, well before CGI, it only compounded my bewilderment.
2001: A Space Odyssey, written and directed by one Stanley Kubrick, is a fantastic film, chop full of stunning visual effects. You never know which way is up and which way is down. Often getting flipped all around and as a consequence, it can become quite disorienting and uneasy to watch. However, 2001 redeems itself, by balancing these head spinning shots with poetic sequences, featuring space ships spinning in mid space, mimicking synchronized swimmers, set to beautiful, easy listening, classical type musical pieces.
The story is long and drawn out and it doesnʼt do a great job of keeping the attention of the ADD riddled individual of today, by lacking in dialogue. The first 15 minutes alone offers no dialogue at all, as you sit there watching a pack of apes. The only real action during this sequence, is when one of the apes realizes he has made a deadly weapon out of a rib bone, and then continues on to bludgeon a defenseless ant eater. However, within this speechless introduction, Kubrick does offer up an important piece of the puzzle.
The film fast forwardʼs into the future, and manʼs tools have evolved into ships and machines, both of which have advanced our civilization into space exploration. Dr. Floyd Heywood, an American scientist, flies to the moon to investigate a black monolith, that was deliberately buried there four million years ago.
This monolith, often showing up at certain parts of the film, provides quite a bit of mystery as to what it is, as Kubrick never letʼs on itʼs true meaning. It has been speculated that this is merely a symbol, that Kubrick uses to signal the audience that an important part of the film has just occurred. One critic in particular, has speculated that this is nothing more than an inverted widescreen.
He goes on to explain that the title of the film, A Space Odyssey, refers to the spatial distance between the audience and the movie screen. And further more, the distance between two individuals, as well as the spatial distance between what we have discovered, and what is out there that is yet to be discovered.
A number of times throughout the film, two individuals are separated by great distances. However, at the end of the film, two individuals, are closely related through space and time.
Among the films more central themes are human evolution, artificial intelligence, technology, and extraterrestrial life. If one views it with a mind geared toward such ideas, one can also draw christian themes, government propaganda and sexual innuendos. Nominated for four academy awards, it won one for visual effects, and in 1991 was deemed so “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress, that it was picked to be preserved in the national film registry.
Overall, I think the film is very well done. It displays a good look at how society has evolved, and it begs the question, how far will technology take us? And although it seems limitless as to what can be achieved through technological advances, it makes us take note, that technology is still artificial, and therefore not immune to human error. It offers some great exposition for debate, and in doing so sparks controversy from both ends of the spectrum.
2001: A Space Odyssey is a film that you will either love or hate.