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2001: A Space Odyssey


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#1 of 209 DarrylWHarrisJr

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Posted June 10 2001 - 01:25 PM

Some please explain this movie to me. I have seen it 7 times and fallen asleep through it a few more. I mean the special effects are great and it's a beautiful film (especail the remaster version) but PLEASE. It just seems like Kubrik through a buch of images to create scenes that have no relation to each other. But I think he trying to come across as man evolving to something so great that one of their creations (as the bone for the apes used as a weapon) finally to the better of them (as in HAL not opening the damn door).
Sorry for sounding like an idiot, but this film is deep.
thanks


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#2 of 209 Ben Motley

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Posted June 10 2001 - 01:43 PM

The film is deep Darryl. No offense, but how old are you? I'm 32, have seen the film numerous times (more than 20 maybe) and am only now starting to "understand" more than, say, 70 percent of the movie. This is one of those films where no one else can tell you "what happened". You have to interpret it for yourself. As you get older, and learn about the cycle of life through your own life journey, the more you will "understand" 2001.

My take...
Who knows what the obilisks are there for, for their own reasons, but it can't be denied that they show up during times of great discovery, or intellectual growth.

HAL is Dave's bone (that kinda sounds bad Posted Image ); the computer and the spaceship are Dave's tools. Dave loses control of his tools, and in giving up his tools (shutting HAL down), he gives up control of his life. Giving up this control, he dies, but then is reborn. Reborn into what though? We don't know. He is reborn on such a plane that is not comprehensible to us, because we have not been through that transformation ourselves.

These are just a few musings, and in no way do I attempt to "explain" 2001. I'm just talkin' here. One thing I do know, is that you just have to grow with 2001. Through your life, keep revisiting it. It only gets better and better. Posted Image

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#3 of 209 Chris K

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Posted June 10 2001 - 02:20 PM

Another message removed by administrator

#4 of 209 Roby Adams

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Posted June 10 2001 - 02:25 PM

Can you feel the love?
I can.

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#5 of 209 Rain

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Posted June 10 2001 - 02:26 PM

Not everyone's a whiz at typing. What say we try to be nice to one another...just a thought. Posted Image You may have noticed that Darryl has only been a member of HTF for 4 days...nice welcome he gets. Sheesh.

Darryl, try not to worry about what the movie is about. As Ben says, it is how you interpret it and what you get out of it that counts, not someone else's ideas about it. Watch it and just let your mind go where it goes.

There is not just one "correct" interpretation.

There's another thread in the Movies section, which started on the topic of 2010, but many people commented on 2001 as well. You might want to check it out for more discussion on the subject.

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#6 of 209 Bill McCamy

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Posted June 10 2001 - 02:59 PM

There are a number of websites devoted to this incredible movie. From my first viewing at the Orpheum theater in San Francisco in '68, I knew it was a great film, and that I might never understand all of its implications.

http://www.modemac.com/2001/

http://www.underview.com/2001.html

Some of the essays at these websites may help you in an exploration of the levels and meanings of the greatest odyssey since Odysseus sailed the Aegean.

"Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.

"Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea, fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home. But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove--the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all, the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the sun and the Sungod blotted out the day of their return. Launch out on his story, Muse daughter of Zeus, start from where you will--sing for our time too."
(The Odyssey, translation by Robert Fagles.)



#7 of 209 SpenceJT

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Posted June 10 2001 - 03:01 PM

Like you, after viewing the movie many times, I became frustrated at not being able to grasp the film's meaning.

I gave up and read Clarke's rendition of 2001, a re-telling of his short story, "The Sentinal". Having done so, I came away with a better understanding of the movie.

Just an idea that may help you better understand the movie.

Spence

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#8 of 209 Rain

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Posted June 10 2001 - 03:07 PM

Personally, I have to disagree. I recommend staying away from anything that Clarke wrote, which was spun out of the movie. I also recommend staying away from 2010. There are some things that are better left unsaid.

Reading Clarke's interpretations may not bring you further clarity, since the movie was as much Kubrick's brainchild (if not more so) than Clarke's.

But that's just my opinion.

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#9 of 209 Steve Tannehill

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Posted June 10 2001 - 03:56 PM

Judging by the statements made by DavidRP and Chris K, there are two people who need to abide by forum rules, lest they want their posting privileges revoked.

No personal attacks, fellas.

- Steve

#10 of 209 DanL

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Posted June 10 2001 - 04:42 PM

Actually, the "meaning" behind 2001 seems to be pretty clear if you've read all of the books. Obviously, the first film (in which nothing is explained) is supposed to attain an air of mystery around it. The mystery is supposed to be there, possibly confusing you. I think maybe that's the one small flaw of 2001 is that Kubrick left out a lot of explanations for things that WERE explained in the novel (which came first, technically). And, of course, much more is explained in the following books. Once you've read 3001, it sort of all makes sense. Granted, I think Clarke took a bit of an easy out with 3001 (it wraps up things a bit too neatly and simply), but it certainly brings things full circle.

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#11 of 209 Dome Vongvises

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Posted June 10 2001 - 05:01 PM

Starting rant:

I had rented 2001: A Space Odyssey last year, expecting something absolutely fantastic, beyond my wildest dreams, and/or an extremely well thought out plot or character-driven movie (I didn't expect it to be a popcorn thriller because of everybody's description of it). Let's just say I was extremely disappointed. I had no clue where the hell the movie was taking me. Yeah, the special effects are great and all, but the story put me right to sleep. I couldn't tell whether or not Kubrick wanted to tell some creative story

Spoiler:
An ape clan getting advantage because of weaponry, HAL going nuts, mysterious psychadelic colors, old dude in bed at the end


or be some movie realistically depicting a series of related events.

Spoiler:
Spaceships engines not making a damn sound, a dude just running on a ship, monolith appearing at different points in space and time, yiddy yaddy yo and so forth.


I'm making this point (one of the few) because somebody made it clear that spaceship engines don't make sounds in space. Okay, so Kubrick is trying to be realistic in certain depictions. If he tried for a movie with realism, why couldn't he be consistent about it? I mean why is it on one hand it was accpetable to show

Spoiler:
something as creative/unexplainable as the ending with the old dude in bed and the psychadelic colors


, but on the other hand, Kubrick wouldn't make cool sounding special effects from the ships?

Another point I need to make is that I also feel that this movie showcases one of Kubrick's and many other director's flaws: over extended shots or film time dedicated to one thing. Basically speaking, a lot of director's for some strange reason, like to dwell too long on something before advancing the story. It's like with Mike Cimino's The Deer Hunter (the first thirty minutes are too long to dwell on the subject of how good of a friends the characters are, especially filming an overly long dance sequence at the wedding reception): why did Kubrick dwell so damn long on the ape clan rivalry? We get the point!

The MAIN problem I had with the movie (besides the realism/creative contrast point, the overly long dwelling on one subject), is basically a problem with a lot of supposed "cerebral" fare: lack of apparent connecting clues. Watching this movie, I felt cheated by this movie because I could make no sense of the events depicted whatsoever. There was a thorough lack of clues as to the purpose of whatever happens in the movie. It's one thing to say, "what's the point of that?" and then get some sort of context clues in the movie that could lead to well-thought out substantiated conclusions (sort of like in John Carpenter's The Thing, you don't know how it could end, but at least you could support your conclusion). It's another thing, however, when a movie just shows "stuff" and leave nothing for the audience to base their conclusions on.

Spoiler:
Again I must rant about the ending. What was the whole damn point of the dude's journey through space to all of a sudden have the monolith appear again? Why the strange colors? And why did the dude end up in a bed? Where's the evidence to support any subjective conclusions somebody can arrive at?


End Rant

Before I get flamed by anybody, I'm going to give this movie a second chance this weekend. Maybe I'll find those context clues I'm looking for, and make some conclusion about this movie so I'll understand it. Hopefully on second viewing, the dude in the story will

Spoiler:
disarm HAL a whole lot quicker. That damn alarm annoyed the living hell out of me. That doesn't take anything away from the movie, but the sound effect was so annoying, it woke up my roommate.




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#12 of 209 Rain

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Posted June 10 2001 - 05:11 PM

I don't think there is any way to fully appreciate this movie only seeing it once.

Those who seek to "understand" it will ultimately be disappointed. It is when you stop trying that you may get something out of it. The movie is rather like a Zen riddle in some ways.

As for Clarke, just so there is no misunderstanding...I've never read any of his books, quite deliberately. I consider the movie Kubrick's vision and, as such, Clarke's books would not provide any further insight. They would only be his interpretation of the film, no more valid than yours or mine.

I made the suggestion to avoid his books because I think the movie should be looked at on its own. Unfortunately, I've already seen 2010 and am wishing I could wipe it from my mind. I don't consider anything in 2010 valid in terms of how I view 2001, but it does pop into my head at times and I'd really rather it didn't.

If you are looking for LITERAL meaning in 2001, I would suggest you give up now.

"Any resemblance between your reality and mine is purely coincidental."

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#13 of 209 Ben Motley

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Posted June 10 2001 - 07:04 PM

Dome, you are very funny! Really, do watch it again. I personally love the way Kubrick filmed it. I've come to appreciate silence, when used correctly, and the "held" shot, when used correctly. But that's probably because I'm an old foagie Posted Image. I love the incessant alarm (although I do feel sorry for your poor roommate). And the breathing. I wasn't quite as cynical as you about 2001 when I was younger, but you do sound like I did twenty years ago. Christ, did I just say that? Wow. Anyway, watch it. And watch it again, but let some time pass between viewings. I like the zen analogy. Don't demand anything from it, just let go of any expectations and EXPERIENCE it. It may not be explainable, but it can certainly be felt. Posted Image

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#14 of 209 Jeff

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Posted June 10 2001 - 08:23 PM


I still find it hard to watch the exterior shots of the ship (with HAL) in this movie. The model that was made was totally botched. Next time you watch it, check out the size of the pod bay doors in relation to to the rest of the ship. Also keep in mind that the pods are small and fit one person. It sure is a pretty tiny ship! Posted Image

Jeff



#15 of 209 Rob Gillespie

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Posted June 10 2001 - 08:31 PM

Quote:
The model that was made was totally botched

I don't think so.

Quote:
Next time you watch it, check out the size of the pod bay doors in relation to to the rest of the ship.

And? Sorry I think I'm missing your point Jeff. Discovery isn't a 'big' ship as in Star Destroyer big. The scale of the pods seems fine.
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#16 of 209 andrew markworthy

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Posted June 10 2001 - 10:19 PM

Darryl, welcome to the forum!

Warning: some spoilers ahead.

You asked for an explanation of the plot, so here goes!

The plot is very cogent, but you have to work at it, unless you want to 'cheat' and read the spin-off book Clarke wrote. In essence, the story simply tells how a race of aliens accelerates the development of a species of ape by use of a black obelisk shaped device which dramatically improves their cognitive abilities.

The apes who are subjected to this treatment discover the use of tools and of killing. The point is being made that in order to follow the path of progress it has taken, humankind has had to control the environment, not be part of it, and that aggression is a part of even our 'civilised' behaviour. We then cut to a future in which there are space stations and humans have colonised the Moon. The meeting with the Russians on the space station indicates that even with all this magnificent technology, the world is still an aggressive place; if anything, it is more dangerous, because with improved technology comes not only greater benefits but greater dangers. A second obelisk has been buried on the Moon which sends out a signal 'pointing' the way to Jupiter. (Why is it buried on the Moon? - so that humans wouldn't discover it until they were ready for the next stage in development). The expedition to Jupiter is marred by the idiosyncratic and ultimately murderous behaviour of HAL, the onboard computer, who succeeds in killing all but one of the crew. The reason for this section, as with the scenes on the space station, is to illustrate how flawed humans still are. The fact that even a supposedly logical machine like a computer is at the end of the day still a reflection of the humans who created it illustrates this very neatly.

The final section is by far the most confusing. The surviving astronaut makes contact with the giant obelisk and is in effect sucked into another dimension/universe/reality. The bit with the flashing lights is meant to indicate the disorienting journey. When the journey stops, the astronaut finds himself in a luxurious hotel room (in the movie this acts as a further piece of alienation - in the book, it's explained that it's an attempt by the aliens to make the astronaut feel more comfortable). He then over a few minutes ages incredibly quickly and then on his 'death bed' encounters a further obelisk, which transports him back to Earth, where we see that he has in effect been reborn as a 'star child'. The implication is that he represents the future evolution of humans. The reason for the rapid ageing process is symbolic - it indicates the length of time it requires a human to attain the advanced wisdom and knowledge being imparted (and also indicates that what happens is outside the conventional understanding of time). Incidentally, the broken glass incident is meant to represent a 'marriage' between humans and aliens (a glass is broken in the Jewish wedding ceremony). The ending could have been made easier if Kubrick had gone ahead with his original plan to have the Star Child destroy the Earth's nuclear weapons, but this was felt to be too similar to the ending of Doctor Strangelove (Kubrick's previous movie).

The trouble with reading this as a bald description is that it appears pretentious. However, 2001 is not just about the plot - it is about how the visual images are integrated with the story in a way which has rarely been equalled. I put it in my personal top 10 (FWIW: 2001, Belle et la Bete, Last Year at Marienbad, ET, Citizen Kane, Zulu, Hobson's Choice, La Regle du Jeu, The Big Country, and Apollo 13), if nothing else for the moment where the ape picks up the jawbone. This made the hair stand up on my neck when I saw this movie for the first time as a 9 year-old and it still does, every time. Just think about it - something just like that must have happened at some point in our species' development, and it is that *precise* moment when we discovered tool use when we became human.

#17 of 209 Jeff

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Posted June 10 2001 - 10:54 PM


I know the ship isn't as big as a Star Destroyer. Posted Image But if you look at the front of it carefully and look at the size of the doors which are almost the size of the pods, that would mean you can only fit around 20 pods in the front sphere section of the ship. Given the fact that people are about the same height of the pods, maybe bigger since I don't think they can stand in them, then you can't fit a lot of people in there. The people should be just a little bigger than the size of the columns seperating each of the windows sections.

Ok, maybe I'm wrong but I always thought the ship was bigger than the pod bay doors make it. It should be!

Here's a link to a picture of a model of the ships sphere section.
http://www.starshipm...iscovery_6s.jpg

And don't get me started on Star Trek The Motion Picture, with Kirk and the others walking on the saucer section at the end. Posted Image

Jeff



#18 of 209 Alex Shk

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Posted June 10 2001 - 11:27 PM

Andrew's explanation of the plot is pretty much what I remember from the Clarke book. I also remember reading one of those "Making of 2001" paperback books in the late 60's/early 70's (these things were popular before the world had supplemental material - lol) in which Kubrick stated that the script called for plot explanation at the point where HAL is disconnected. The film that appears when HAL was shut down was supposed to explain the story to that point, but Kubrick decided he enjoyed the film more without it. Hence - there is an abrupt cut at this point in the film.

#19 of 209 Doug Pyle

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Posted June 11 2001 - 12:40 AM

Lots of good comments here. To which, I'd add that it helps if you see other Kubrick films to help understand 2001.

Kubrick has some recurring themes, one of my favorites being the fallibility of humans in the areas we arrogantly think we excel. (Examples: the failing 'perfect' computer; and in Dr. Strangelove the Doomsday Machine 'perfect' weapon to prevent war doesn't; in Full Metal Jacket the rigorously trained soldier backfires; and Eyes Wide Shut has multiple layers of this theme showing up, and interestingly moves from human technology foibles to human relationship foibles -- just when the main character thinks he' got it down pat ... plus believing he's unraveling a mystery but maybe is weaving his own ... and the 'conspiracy' manipulations against his meddling backfire as well.)

Some suggest reading the novel, which I think is helpful but only as a contrast to the film. The film and the novel are different works of art. In all his films, Kubrick confidently maintains his own purposes whenever applying the written word to film, and unapologetically departs from the text to suit the needs of film. Most controversial among these is his adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. While King was upset over the changes to the story, I believe Kubrick was justified in being integral to his own film art rather than this or any book.

One thing I personally like about the film ending with the star child is it reflects the innocense I feel at that point. No matter how many times I view this film, each time I am just starting to figure it out.

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#20 of 209 RobR

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Posted June 11 2001 - 02:23 AM

Why isn't this thread in the Movies area? Neither Steve nor Rob has noticed? Perhaps they like "2001" too much to put a lock on it Posted Image





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