2001: A Space Odyssey -- I don't get it *spoilers*

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Kennedy, Aug 22, 2001.

  1. Scott Kennedy

    Scott Kennedy Auditioning

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    I'm working my way through the AFI Top 100 list, and have been thrilled with each of the movies that I've run into. It's been a good way for me to watch some of the classics that I've never seen.
    Well, I ran into my first disappointment this weekend. I have to say, I really didn't like 2001: A Space Odyssey
    I was hoping I could get some explanations from some of you as to why you enjoyed it, or further yet, why it is considered a top 20 of all time type of movie.
    My only guess was that the visual effects must have been ground breaking at the time. It was probably unlike any other movie that had been done at the time. However, being that this is 2001 in real time, I thought the movie did not age well at all. Meaning, if all it had was visual images, then it isn't going to hold up when it's images look pedestrian by today's technological standards. The other older movies on this list are great movies based on character development and storylines... that's where I thought 2001: A Space Odyssey was severely lacking.
    The beginning of the movie was interesting. It shows the beginnings of human nature, violent.... what I don't understand is are we supposed to guess whether or not the monolith was just a witness to the primates developing weapons, or did it play an active role? Nothing later in the movie really answered that question.
    I really enjoyed the whole scene with HAL and the crew heading to Jupiter, but that was a very short part of the movie overall, and was not enough to carry over the slowness of the rest of the movie IMO.
    and as soon as Dave got to Jupiter, it turned into what looked like an artists rendition of a bad acid trip done on 60's technology. I really like movies that are open to interpretation, but I really could not even fathom an educated guess as to what Kubrick was going for with the conclusion of the movie. Did Dave witness his own aging process only to have his inner child absorbed by the monolith?
    I mean, not to sound to stupid or anything, but my wife and I, who graduated from duke and is a smart cookie herself, actually took some film study classes in college, looked at each other when it was over and said "What the hell was that"
    so, I'm open minded here..... I could use some explanation as to why this movie would be considered a top 20 type of film of all time, and if you enjoyed the film, let me hear why....
    thanks in advance.....
    [Edited last by Scott Kennedy on August 22, 2001 at 02:37 PM]
     
  2. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Here is an archived discussion on this film which might help.
    ~Edwin
     
  3. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Scott
    Have you tried to do a search on 2001? There have been numerous threads on this exact topic, I think one with the exact same title of this thread. There were many interesting responses from many members who loved the film. I know the search function has been off and on lately, but give it a shot. [​IMG]
    Edit: Edwin to the rescue! [​IMG]
    There you go Scott.
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    [Edited last by Tino on August 22, 2001 at 02:18 PM]
     
  4. Scott Kennedy

    Scott Kennedy Auditioning

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    Thanks for the link!
     
  5. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    I really love this movie. I would put it in my top 10. This being said, I can see why someone would not care for it, think it was slow, etc. I totally understand that point of view. However, for me, something about this film really let me connect with it. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to see it on the big screen a few years ago.
    #1: The Dawn of Man- the Monolith was there to help guide a fledgling race out of extinction. Early Man was dying - the drought had all but destroyed the plants they used as food. They were going to die. The Monolith shows up to give a helping hand. It transmits a signal which places the seed of an idea in these creatures, which is then realized when the ape begins smashing the bones, connecting that he could also do this to the pigs that were around them allowing his people to eat. It also gave him the survival instinct that allowed him to kill his rival. There wasn't enough water for everyone, only the strongest could dominate that resource and survive. In short, the path of evolution was helped along by this extraterrestrial source.
    #2- The scenes with HAL interacting with Dave and Frank set up the relationship, showing the audience that the crew absolutely trusted HAL with their lives. This, of course, set up the drama of HAL losing it later. BTW, those of us that like the film prefer the term "evenly paced". [​IMG]
    #3- The drug trip was realized with 60's special effects, and due to it's dated look does appear to just be psychedelic(sp?) eye-candy. However, I think that it is meant to convey Dave's crossing from anything that we would consider reality into this place that the Monolith is taking him. Once at his destination, he is beyond anything that we could possibly know or understand. As you (and he) see him aging, it is his old self dying as he is transformed into a cosmic being which will continue to watch over this little section of space, helping as need be.
     
  6. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  7. Scott Kennedy

    Scott Kennedy Auditioning

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    what I did think was awfully cool, was the silence in space.... as you know, sound does not travel in a vacuum... so that was a really cool touch.......
     
  8. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Although some might consider this blasphemy on the Home Theater Forum (my emphasis [​IMG]), I think you probably have to see this on the big screen to appreciate it initially. I had seen it on tv or video a couple times and never had it "click" for me.
    I saw it in 70mm at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, and it was a completely different experience. The film made sense for once, and I finally realized why it is considered one of the all-time greats. Afterwards the air in the theater was electric. It was a magical experience.
    As for what the film means, I'll let others take over there. If you get the chance to see it in a theater, go. The film isn't complex so much as it is metaphorical. With its "even pace", distractions at home are more likely to detract from the viewing experience.
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  9. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Here we go again.
    "Paging Jack Briggs, paging Jack Briggs..." [​IMG]
    What you get out of the movie depends entirely on you. Watch it again, then again, then again...hopefully something will come to you.
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    [Edited last by Rain on August 22, 2001 at 06:51 PM]
     
  10. Mike A

    Mike A Agent

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    It helps if you've read the book too. I read the book long before watching the movie. If I hadn't read the book, I probably would have never understood most of the concepts.
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  11. Heinz W

    Heinz W Second Unit

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    Oh my. Where to begin? I concur with Rain, watch it again. This movie has more symbolism in it than any other film I can think of. The very first thing you see, the opening shot with the sunrise above the Earth and Moon symbolize the Dawn of Man. This continues throughout the film. Kubrick does not hand you all the ideas/concepts going on here. You really have to consider all the parts as a whole, not as individual segments. I can tell you the general gist of the movie in a sentence: Two phases of Mankinds evolution are assisted by a higher power/force (God, aliens?). However, that is a gross oversimplification of the movie.
    I consider this film to be just about the most beautiful movie I've ever seen. You have to consider the artistry with with Kubrick presents the idea behind the film. It is so memorable that I can never, ever hear The Blue Danube without picturing the waltzing spaceships from 2001. The WAY Kubrick shows us his (and Arthur Clarke's) extremely intriguing ideas about human evolution is the real 'star' of the movie. Almost every shot is simply magnificent in its grandeur. Granted the pace is somewhat slow, but the next time you watch it don't think "Oh no, this sequence is ten minutes long, or Kubrick holds this shot for three and a half minutes... observe the beauty of Kubrick's framing and Geoffrey Unsworth's incredible cinematography. Just stunning!
    I must disagree that it does not hold up well visually. Aside from only one or two model shots the film has aged remarkably well. Watch it again and pay attention to the computer terminals and display devices, for instance. IMO, the visual effects of the space sequences in this movie have aged better than any other film I can think of, including the original un-molested cut of Star Wars.
    If after a subsequent viewing (or two!) you still find slow or boring or whatever then I suggest you go watch Forbidden Planet or Star Wars if you need a sci-fi fix. Some people just don't take to 2001 for whatever reason, and that's fine. I think I've watched it completely 3 or 4 times since the new DVD came out a couple of months ago. I think it is the finest science fiction film, indeed, one of the best films of any genre ever made. I will continue to enjoy and appreciate this landmark film for the rest of my life.
     
  12. Scott Kennedy

    Scott Kennedy Auditioning

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    "I must disagree that it does not hold up well visually. Aside from only one or two model shots the film has aged remarkably well. Watch it again and pay attention to the computer terminals and display devices"
    I guess I was thinking more along the lines of the transition to the different plane, in which it was kind of kaleidoscope feel as he was transitioning planes..... that part gave me a headache.... all I could think of was, I bet all the folks in the 60's who were on acid marvelled at this [​IMG]
    The Space ship itself more than held its own.... no arguments here....
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Just a suggestion:
    If you're going to write up a long, personal review of 2001, why not put it in the "official" thread that Edwin linked to?
    If you read through that thread first, you'll find many interesting perspectives, and I'm sure you'll want to add yours to theirs. After all, this thread will soon whither and die, but your carefully expressed ideas will be preserved in perpetuity in the other one!
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  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  15. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Yes, here we go again. ...
    "What all the others (Edwin, Rain, Al, et al) have said."
    Re the visual effects: 2001: A Space Odyssey is unique in that the effects hold up better than any other science-fiction film ever made. After all these years, the film still looks futuristic. All that research Mr. Kubrick did paid off handsomely. This is a film for the ages. And, again, one that's ageless.
    No need to defend a film that is clearly among the ten or so best ever made. The Masterpiece stands on its own voluminous merits--and stands alone.
    Come to it again, if you want. Not everyone will cotton to it. But, as with virtually all other Kubrick films, 2001 must be watched on its own terms.
    With all due respect, I do not believe Arthur C. Clarke's novel is "required reading" in order to appreciate Mr. Kubrick's vision.
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    [Edited last by Jack Briggs on August 23, 2001 at 10:11 AM]
     
  16. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  17. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    ...ahh... unless I am sorely mistaken, 2001 is not, repeat not a 'film of the book' - nor is the book a 'novelization' of the screenplay... both the movie and the book 'developed' concurrently, and the book was released around the same time the movie was...
    ...that said, reading the novel right after having seen the movie for the first time certainly helped me to appreciate some 'obscure' bits... and 'inspired' me to see 2001 again only a day after the first viewing...
    ...also, as someone correctly remarked above, see this movie projected on the 'big screen' if you get the chance... my first two viewings were of a 'pristine' 70mm copy projected onto the big, big screen of the London Cinerama theater... later I repeated the 'experience' a few times, watching 2001 on the big, big screen of the Zurich Cinerama theater - believe me: 'Home Theater' was never like this (and never will be! pace the HT enthousiasts on this Board [​IMG] )...
    ...of course, admittedly 2001 doesn't feature loud whooshing noises sweeping around the theater... or deep, stomach-vibrating rumbling sounds... nor does it have grisly, gruesome, slime-dripping, many-fanged, evil, evil aliens - and... there are no, repeat no explosions - not a single one, not even a gunshot...
    ... [​IMG] . . .
     
  18. tyler O

    tyler O Stunt Coordinator

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    I liked the book, but not as a companion piece or supplement, or replacement for the novel. I thought Fight Club supplemented the movie well, providing more information, slightly better insights, et. al. Of course Fight Club, the movie, was based on the book. 2001 was not based on the book, and (as my rumor mill has put together) it was developed either concurrently or after, depending on sources and when you ask Clarke . [​IMG] The book did what I feared it would. It attempted to explain, in concrete scientific terms exactly how and what happened in my favorite movie/film/piece of art of all time. I have no problems with concrete or scientific things, in fact, one of my quests in life seems to be to figure things out and try to quantify and qualify everything. I do have a slight problem with people not using their own power of deduction and past experiences and perceptions to try to mean what the movie means TO THEM. That is what true art is all about, interpretation by 1000 people yields 1000 different things. (Unless two people are exactly identical (and I'm not talking genetics, but full identical existences) but that falls far outside the true realm of probability) To me, more than any other film, 2001 embodies that. There is no true explanation or quantifiable description of what you just saw. And for that, I am grateful. I can only hope that more films will continue to follow this guideline.
    I'm not saying the movie is nonsensical, but only that you have to make sense of it, and therein lies so much of its beauty and perfection. The music is great, the Effects are fantastic, the actors do their job with fantastic accuracy. Cinematography, sound recording, direction. All is top notch and, in my opinion, unmatched.
    It does take more than one viewing though. It is still one of my life's quests to see the movie in 70mm, but I fear it may never come to fruition with our meager subsistence existence that we eke out from our surroundings. I have seen this movie more than any other, and though I joke that it is the easiest movie to fall asleep to, I also feel that it is the best movie to watch over and over and stay awake through.
    Basically, give it another chance and form your own conclusions. It may be your worst movie ever, depending on your frame of reference. You may see it again in 10 years and it be your favorite. Only who you are then can decide that. Maybe a monolith will come down and give you the hook up. [​IMG]
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    [Edited last by tyler O on August 23, 2001 at 12:53 PM]
     
  19. Mike A

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