Film Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey

(Fig. 1)
                                                                                        2001: A Space Odyssey.

Release Date - 1968
Director - Stanley Kubrick
Genre - Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi.

A supposed classic, despite initial mixed reviews the film went on to gross 5x it's 10 million dollar budget, paving the way for almost every sci-fi film in the 20th century. Produced during the space hype of the 1960's, this film shows a decent realistic and fascinating at the time distant future. 
The special effects from the life like model space ships to the techniques used to replicate a zero gravity environment are absolutely outstanding and convincing, see (Fig.1) and (Fig.2) for examples,  this is perhaps doubly outstanding considering this film was made a full year before man actually landed on the moon, nearly a decade before Star Wars come out, Roger Ebert mention the special effects in more detail by saying "Nearly 30 years after it was made, it has not dated in any important detail, and although special effects have become more versatile in the computer age, Trumbull's work remains completely convincing -- more convincing, perhaps, than more sophisticated effects in later films, because it looks more plausible, more like documentary footage than like elements in a story." (Ebert, 1997)

Clear Example of model ship.

Beautifully shot moment of zero gravity in effect.
Every shot is carefully thought out, beautifuly capturing the actors and the environment, (Fig.4). given it's achievements it's no wonder dozens of film institutes have rated this picture high in the list of most influential sci-fi film of all time. Unfortunately the ground breaking achievement is packaged as a ridiculously slow moving motion picture. Kubrick is supposedly famous for creative painstakingly dragged out films, a space odyssey is clearly his crowning achievement. The interesting and engaging middle act is ended by a drab 25 minute long sequence with no dialogue or any purpose. There is a fine line between deliberately artistic and a unwatchable movie, which sadly Kubrick crossed the line. The few iconic sequences and now famous sound track are some of the only things that made this film watchable, but just barely. Roger Ebert also mention the music in his review by saying "The classical music chosen by Kubrick exists outside the action. It uplifts. It wants to be sublime; it brings a seriousness and transcendence to the visuals."  (Ebert, 1997) 

Another brilliantly captured moment.

2001: A Space Odyssey was the last film made about men on the moon before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked there in real life and years later the conspiracy theories still flew around that this is not a coincidence claiming that all the footage of Armstrong's voyage was a hoax directed by Kubric using left over scenes and props from the film.

In terms of technology Kubrick was jumping ahead of time, its remarkable how a director could have such a vision seeing as Dr. Heywood Floyd talks to his his daughter on the video payphone (Fig.5) which we now know commonly as Skype or face time, But at the time this was a whole new concept infact the whole film is purely Kubrick's concept.

Outstanding technology for the time.
It also has become clear that whomever watches this film is then filled with questions and slight confusion, the film can very much be interpreted in anyway but this doesn't help while you're watching, reading into the film after it seems that even on release day there was much confusion and even people walked out before the end, again i refer to Roger Ebert in his review saying "But not everyone remained. Rock Hudson stalked down the aisle, complaining, “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?'' There were many other walkouts, and some restlessness at the film's slow pace." (Ebert, 1997). For a film like this it was to be expected, something with no clear narrative and no easy entertainment and random scenes where astronauts end up in rooms with there older self, it was no wonder Kubrick didn't become an over night success, even though it seems he focused so heavily on the set and effects he forgot to maybe make it understandable or even watchable like any other film of its kind.

For a film that might as well be a silent film it's worth viewing at least once to say you've actually seen it. 

Bibliography -

Ebert, Roger. (1997) '2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)'
In: http://www.rogerebert.com 27.03.97 [Online]
At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-2001-a-space-odyssey-1968 (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

Illustration List - 

Figure 1. Poster | Sort | Simen Meyer (2013) From: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Film Poster] England / America: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
At: http://simenmeyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/2001-A-Space-Odyssey-ny.jpg (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

Figure 2. 2001: A Space odyssey Wallpaper (1968) From: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] England / America: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
At: http://www.turkishdenial.com/2001-a-space-odyssey-wallpaper/ (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

Figure 3. 2001: A Space odyssey Wallpaper (1968) From: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] England / America: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
At:http://www.google.co.uk/urlsa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw4Ig&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwfiles.brothersoft.com%2F2%2F2001_a_space_odyssey_598571920x1080.jpg&ei=JWBEVNH5JcGd7gbit4Bw&psig=AFQjCNGtB7PVHbgSZ45sJmwSGiD9KwFz3Q&ust=1413853605715823 (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

Figure 4. 25 2001: A Space odyssey Wallpaper (1968) From: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] England / America: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
At:http://www.google.co.uk/urlsa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.alphacoders.com%2F270%2F2701.jpg&ei=LWBEVO2iAcaS7Aa4nYHQCw&psig=AFQjCNHMjbAHBbE7Y38We9jKk_bRueH69g&ust=1413853613098848 (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

Figure 5. VideoPhone Booth in 2001 - Critical commons (1968) From: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] England / America: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
At:http://www.google.co.uk/urlsa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw4Dg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.criticalcommons.org%2FMembers%2FccManager%2Fclips%2F2001videophonebooth.mp4%2FthumbnailImage&ei=LGJEVKWPGK3d7QbWtYCYAg&psig=AFQjCNF63s49l35uALjhUK8t6SepZt1skQ&ust=1413854124487135 (Accessed on the 20.10.14)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Becky!

    It sounds as though you found this film a 'challenge' ! :)
    Again, you have made some interesting observations - the links between the portrayal of Kubrick's moon landing with the 'real' one soon after, for example.

    Don't forget to italicise your film names!!