2001: A Space Odyssey- A Strangers verdict

For those of you who act as though you have ADD there you go.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The movie itself lasts for 2:15 hours and is split up into four sections, each of which I shall do individually.

The Build Up

This is by far the simplest part of the movie. It documents the time when apes realised they could use objects to their advantage (In this case bones to beat the crap out of each other). So it's essentially the dawn of man, which is probably why the movie begins at dawn come to think of it. It also shows the apes interaction with a possibly extra-terrestrial monolith, they are at first fearful but their curiosity soon takes hold as they begin to touch it.

Anyway while I am one for meaningful intros and build up, I found this scene to be far FAR to long. I've condensed what is around 45 minutes of the movie into barely four lines. About half an hour is just scenery shots which, while very beautiful, are ultimately boring.

Man in Space

Man now has a keen foothold in space, well mostly the moon but they now have bases and everything. The film follows a man travelling to one of these bases on a top-secret mission. Man is shown to be vulnerable in space, they eat what looks to be baby food, they have to learn how to walk in zero gravity and how to use a toilet. Anyway the man that we are following reaches said base and goes on an expedition to a dig site on the moon. Hear he and his team find a monolith, exactly like the one seen in the first scene. But man is no longer fearful so instead of approaching with caution they stand next to it and take a video (possibly to put on Youtube). Cue screeching noise and cut to act 3!

Now I didn't get most of this the first time I watched it. Instead I was intensely bored but I persevered because it is a 'classic' and therefore I'm expected to notice quotes from it. It contains some nice theory though, man has now mastered the use of tools and is using them to go places it previously couldn't. You can probably tell where the film is going with this then.

Now again in this act there are lots of panning shots and the soundtrack is very noticable. Many of you will recognise at least 2 of the pieces.

Man in Space (but 18 months later)

image
By the end of this film you will be scared of this

This is the bit you'd most likely have heard of. It involves H.A.L 9000 (HAL is IBM but each letter a step back in the alphabet) a computer with a personality that acts as the nervous system and brain for a ship heading for Jupiter. There are 5 men on board but 3 have been put to near death by freezing to preserve air. The two that are awake act as maintenance men. Man and its' tools have switched roles. I won't go in the story too much as I do not want to give it away for anyone willing to watch it. What I will say is that HAL makes a mistake and the men decide to shut him down, HAL thinks he is alive so acts against them. The result? Well it's fucking creepy.

This is my favourite part of the movie, it's deeply unsettling but it somehow manages to keep me watching. The use of sound is masterful, there is a five minute long scene of a man floating though space and all you can hear is his laboured breathing. However the whole act has a sort of labouring feel, like everything is being stretched out for longer than it should be. Some of the scenes are actually painful to watch as everything is sooo slooowwww.
-

The Last Supper

Something really weird happens and a man finds himself in a white room facing and older version of himself eating. The old man turns around to see who's there's nobody, he continues to eat his meal of bread and wine before lying down to die. I guess what the film is saying is that you are nothing without your tools but a vessel waiting to die.

So the film ends in a crescendo of creepiness as you can probably tell and it's very easy to watch it and not realise that there is a meaning at all, where upon it is just merely odd.

My overall opinion?

Well, I think 2001: A Space Odyssey is a film that attempts to be too clever. It is a very boring movie to start off with but you have to watch the beginning to ultimately appreciate the rest of the movie. I would highly suggest this movie if you have the patience of..of, of.. a camper (Hey a video game reference, something we can all relate to). While I admit this is a good movie, I only think it is because it is so vague that you can imprint almost any meaning you want onto it. So in a short, snappy, kid friendly sentence, this movie is a brilliant piece of pretentious drivel.

Now go and waste 2 and a quarter hours of your life watching it!

EDIT: My reason for watching this? My best friend is called Hal, so now I know that all it takes is a screw driver to shut him up!

I thought it was boring. The easiest way to watch the last 25 minutes is to watch the whole "Jupiter" scene while listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfgoVZswC4k

Honestly I never liked the movie, I think they could have cut out the first and last parts and they would have had something that wasn't as bad, but that's just me. But overall great review!

I watched it with a friend around a few days ago. It was right after watching Clockwork Orange which was awesome so we were expecting something similar with it being the same director.

It must've been the most life-drainingly boring 2 hours of our lives though. I mean the first 20 minutes is entirely watching monkeys to monkey-type things, which is soon followed by astronauts doing mundane astronaut things for an hour.

It got a bit more interesting once HAL was introduced but by then we were too restless to pay attention.
We read the synopsis on imdb instead and overall it seemed like a really good plot, it was just far far too strung out.

Stranger of Sorts:
The Build Up

This is by far the simplest part of the movie. It documents the time when apes realised they could use objects to their advantage (In this case bones to beat the crap out of each other). So it's essentially the dawn of man, which is probably why the movie begins at dawn come to think of it. It also shows the apes interaction with a possibly extra-terrestrial monolith, they are at first fearful but their curiosity soon takes hold as they begin to touch it.

Anyway while I am one for meaningful intros and build up, I found this scene to be far FAR to long. I've condensed what is around 45 minutes of the movie into barely four lines. About half an hour is just scenery shots which, while very beautiful, are ultimately boring.

I agree, it was the same in the book. IT was incredibly long and really off-putting.

Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.

Dexiro:
I watched it with a friend around a few days ago. It was right after watching Clockwork Orange which was awesome so we were expecting something similar with it being the same director.

It must've been the most life-drainingly boring 2 hours of our lives though. I mean the first 20 minutes is entirely watching monkeys to monkey-type things, which is soon followed by astronauts doing mundane astronaut things for an hour.

It got a bit more interesting once HAL was introduced but by then we were too restless to pay attention.
We read the synopsis on imdb instead and overall it seemed like a really good plot, it was just far far too strung out.

I've made my feelings on this director/creator abundantly clear in another thread. :P

The movie is a "classic" because it was one of the first movies to touch on what were some pretty stereotypical things in a film. Really at the time this first came out the idea of a "rogue AI" wasn't a staple for the mainstream. What's more the fact that it was slow and boring gave people the impression that it could happen, etc...

In the end though it's basically a slow, boring, pretentious movie with little interesting to say that hadn't been said before, but happened to be new to the masses, and thus seemed a lot more profound than it actually was.

That's my opinion, and I know a lot of people disagree, after all the movie is famous because of it's ongoing fan base.

Happy Easter!!
Happy Easter!!

Oh how cute, game website forumgoers trying to give an opinion on 2001: A Space Odyssey!

:)

Alrighty well, 2001 101 it is then.

The first thing to know about the parts of the movie is that they are essentially repeating the same theme over and over again - emphasising the fact that Kubrick and co saw humans as a basic, primal species in dire need of some kind of great-than-us help.

The first part - prehistoric man - describes how humans developed from simple but peaceful creatures to creatures of conflict and, eventually murderers. This first part ends with a shot of a bone - man's tool for killing/advancement - flying in the air which transmutes into a space craft soaring above the planet (with amazing music)

It is important to note that the catalyst for primitive man's questioning his surroundings and developing intellect is a mysterious monolith that appears next to their sleeping area one morning.

this part is talking about how, even centuries later, humanity is still basically working to the same work-with-tools/kill-with-tools blueprint

The first space sequence - following the government scientist travelling to the monolith and observing it's sending a pulse into space - is defined by the (as the OP astutely pointed out) feeble and seemingly infantile performance of humans in space - complete with a stereotypically paranoid talk between some US and Soviet scientists about secret and mysterious happenings at a US base, a jaw-droppingly boring meeting at the US base, and an amusing scene of men eating space-food on the way to the monolith that the US had uncovered.

This monolith, like in the prehistoric portion of the movie, is the catalyst once more for humanity's next giant leap in development - cue sequence 3, the trip to jupiter.

this sequence ends with the monolith sending a pulse towards jupiter. Man resolves to follow this pulse and, months later, sends an expedition.

The third sequence pits two men - trained but not highly intellectual astronauts - and a computer against the oppresively vast emptiness of space on a journey to the gassy Giant. Ironically, the computer - HAL - is made to be more interesting and aparently more deep than the humans - another quick jab by Kubrick and co against humanity's simplicity, maybe?

This movie contains lots of references to evolution, and in this sequence HAL and the humans are both seen to be evolving. HAL remarks that one astronaut is improving with his sketching skills, while the computer develops self-awareness and resolves to kill his human cargo, as he doesn't believe that humanity is worthy of meeting the E.T. intelligence he knows the mission is directed to finding.

At the end of this sequence, HAL is defeated by Frank Bowman (interesting, prehistoric-referencing last name), one of the astronauts, who triumphs through his ability to problem solve and use his hands (and opposable thumbs)

the next sequences are now entirely metaphorical, and it's here that most computer-age geeks will probably start losing all comprehension and decide that a movie that's too good for them is 'boring'

To describe these sequences in detail would take too long. Suffice to say that the sequences with Bowman ageing in an alien, timeless bedroom are talking about his shedding his mortal skin and getting ready for his next evolutionary step. The final sequence - with lots of psychadelic lighting and effects (very well done) is the process of his shooting across the universe at past the speed of light and the final, exceptional scene portrays a newly reborn Bowman (similar face to the astronaut) as a cosmic child, floating back towards earth bringing with him evolution and englightenment.

Gotta run out the door. Hope you liked that spoonfull of clarification.

urprobablyright:
snip

A+, good sir. A+, indeed.

Casual Shinji:

A+, good sir. A+, indeed.

*bow* At your service.

urprobablyright:
HAL remarks that one astronaut is improving with his sketching skills, while the computer develops self-awareness and resolves to kill his human cargo, as he doesn't believe that humanity is worthy of meeting the E.T. intelligence he knows the mission is directed to finding.

You are reading too much into it there. HAL's motives are unknown in the film and a lot of the tension comes from how implacable it is and how it's motivations are hard to guess. As the plot is developed in the sequels it turns out that HAL was actually made less self-aware and dysfunctional by bad secret orders. This is quite philosophical in a way as it is a case of a sort of a "spiritually" clean being soiled by interactions with the outside world.

The film in general is fairly slow and long but it does that for a reason, I think, to give it a sort of feeling that you don't see that often in films. The intermission music by György Ligeti that plays when the screen is black is something in itself. Apparently many hippies went to see this film multiple times for some hazy reason.

It is pretentious and can be interpreted in maybe too many different ways but it is about as far from drivel as movies get. Stanley Kubrick was one of the most deliberate and fiercely intelligent directors ever.

urprobablyright:
Oh how cute, game website forumgoers trying to give an opinion on 2001: A Space Odyssey!

:)

Alrighty well, 2001 101 it is then.
.

Thank you for this. Might I add that knowing this helps getting what 2010 is about a lot more :)

I found the book to be loads better, personally.

urprobablyright:
Hope you liked that spoonfull of clarification.

Men often criiies about a little spoonfull,

Some often liiieeesss about a little spoonfull,

Some of 'em diiieeesss about a little spoonfull,

That spoon, that spoon, that spoonfull~

Magnificent synopsis, urprobablyright. Bummer about getting carried away over HAL's thought processes.

Historic film.

This is one of my favorite films.

And thanks urprobablyright, you summed it up very well.

You know, it seems these days movie goers simply want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, ignoring the small nuances and details which make great movies stand out. Sure Kubrick could have cut out 45 minutes to streamline the story. But the film would have suffered as a result. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper, and THINK about WHY the director intentionally sets up very long scenes, or very short ones.

Honestly I fell asleep in it twice. I can't sit through it. I've never fallen asleep in a movie before.

Casual Shinji:
Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.

A-mfking-men.

It's boring, yeah yeah. Attention deficited modern generation. I remember showing my friend Scarface and he fell asleep because of the slow pacing in the start and hated it. Why do so many people can't concentrate unless they are drilled with visual information or catchy music that makes the scene progress?

It just happens to be one of the best movies ever made, but to each his own I guess.

mannaroth:
Honestly I fell asleep in it twice. I can't sit through it. I've never fallen asleep in a movie before.

You too?

I am still trying wade through it...and every time I wake up to the floating fetus and then look at my glass of Scotch and wonder what just happened...

Casual Shinji:
Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.

I have to disagree. I personally think Alien or Blade Runner (the original cut, not the director's cut) hold that spot.

I occasionally enjoyed this film high as a kite in my reckless youth.... now I just find it bizarre cold and a little pretencious.

the way I understand it, it was made to either be watched while high or after reading the book trust me after you read the book it becomes one of the greatest movies of all time.

Marowit:

Casual Shinji:
Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.

I have to disagree. I personally think Alien or Blade Runner (the original cut, not the director's cut) hold that spot.

That's thing; I always fall asleep during Bladerunner. It's still one of if not the best looking movie ever made - the miniatures and sets trounces any of the 3D Avatar effects - but it's just so boring. And that Vangelis music, while beautiful and epic, soothes me to sleep in a matter of minutes.

Casual Shinji:

Marowit:

Casual Shinji:
Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.

I have to disagree. I personally think Alien or Blade Runner (the original cut, not the director's cut) hold that spot.

That's thing; I always fall asleep during Bladerunner. It's still one of if not the best looking movie ever made - the miniatures and sets trounces any of the 3D Avatar effects - but it's just so boring. And that Vangelis music, while beautiful and epic, soothes me to sleep in a matter of minutes.

Hah, it sounds like we have similar problems. Have you seen the original cut? I know I had difficulty finding the original cut, but it was well worth it as it leaves you with the ambiguous feeling of whether or not Harrison Ford is a android.

ah yes... Ligetis work picked for that film is really odd....

I liked it though, both the music and the film, the book is kinda odd, somewhat dry to read - still good though.

I found the beginning to be the most interesting part, as that's as far as I got. Well, okay, that's a little flip. But I found the whole neanderthal thing fascinatingly hypnotizing. The last shot seemed to go on forever, but I paid attention the whole way throughout. Still, I wouldn't want to watch the whole thing throughout.

Not to use the kind of thinking that this movie demands (that is, sadly, in short supply in this soundbite age), but to me, this thread looks like the scene with the protohumans jumping around the monolith in part one. Imagine (as metaphors and allegories demand) the movie in the place of the monolith (alien technology/existentialist metaphor for the stubbornly unanswering inscrutability of the cosmos we inhabit) and the video game forumgoers in place of the clueless protohumans, and it's almost a perfect match.

Just sayin'

I watched it not all that long ago, and personally I found the entire thing to be absolutely gripping. It's all so eerie, creepy, and beautiful, and for the most part, I thought, was paced quite well. It's mesmerizing. The biggest issue I have with it is the insane color explosion sequence, which doesn't keep up with its own pacing and hasn't aged as well as the rest of the film, though it's still well-made as film sections go.
One of my favorite films, really.

Kubrick's films are notable for having extreme YMMV effects, of course.

It is also worthwhile to mention that you definitely have to go into this kind of film with the right mindset. If I approached it in the mood for a Hollywood action film I would be very quickly disgusted.

Sigma-6:
Not to use the kind of thinking that this movie demands (that is, sadly, in short supply in this soundbite age), but to me, this thread looks like the scene with the protohumans jumping around the monolith in part one. Imagine (as metaphors and allegories demand) the movie in the place of the monolith (alien technology/existentialist metaphor for the stubbornly unanswering inscrutability of the cosmos we inhabit) and the video game forumgoers in place of the clueless protohumans, and it's almost a perfect match.

Just sayin'

The fine line between art and rubbish is something that we, ourselves, decide. To come in here and claim that we are the same as the monkey's in the first scene shows that you have a mighty high opinion of yourself and have not learned the first sentence.

I felt that when I did this review, which was quite a while ago I might add, I gave a fairly balanced opinion. I didn't go into the film with any predispositions and I do enjoy artistic albums, films and such. To cut to the point I don't know why you made an account just to make yourself look like a narrow-minded shut in.

"Just sayin'"

As for the slowness of the movie: I do not think that this movie should have been "fast". There are just way too many interesting details that would need to be axed. Plus, i really dislike how "hyperactive" many movies are nowadays.

However, i do agree that 2001 overdoes the slowness. In total, probably around 20 minutes could have been cut without removing significant features or making it hectic.

urprobablyright:
- snip. -

Couldn't it also be the case that the movie is more about the monoliths than any of the characters, and how their presence allows for the emergence of intelligence or self-awareness in non-intelligent or self-aware beings?

1. Prehistory: Monolith appears, apes become tool-users.
2. The Jupiter Mission: Monolith appears, HAL becomes self-aware.
3. Beyond the Infinite: Dave enters monolith, intelligence evolves.

Just an alternate interpretation of the film.

NOSTALGIA GOGGLES ALERT

This thread starts looking more and more like one of my literature classes. People reading too much into things, sometimes forgetting their own opinion through the myriad of applauses and bravos that artists receive. Wait... i guess it doesn't really look like one of my literature classes, then. People overanalyzing is still happening, though.

I didn't know jack shit about the movie until about a year ago (blissfully ignorant of all the HAL and the "mygoditsfullofstars" references on the internet) so i watched it and... it sucked. The message? The overused symbolism, the subtle hints, the interesting nuances and the general mindfuck? It's nothing without a solid story to tie it together. It wasn't a few times that i wished the story to just sit its pretentious ass down and get on with it already. The first part was dragged out and boring. The in-between parts were also dragged out and boring. Finally, we come to the main point in the story, the one that has an unambiguous plot. A plot about a supercomputer who was better than all the rest because it "didn't make mistakes" (i didn't know error-checking algorithms were the main problem affecting computer performance in 2001) that plays like a light horror movie with the computer going down the classic "i'm sentient THEREFORE I DO BAD THINGS" corridor. Somehow the human triumphs and the most ear-raping noise takes over for about 20 more minutes in the longest, most drawn-out mindfuck scene i've seen since Neon Genesis Evangelion (i hated that too). The only reason i watched all of it was because people were praising it so much.

I'll give it credit for one thing though. Remember those drawn-out scenes where the screen was black and nothing happened except the creepy music?

Also, HAL is programmed to read lips. Suspension of disbelief--;

Still the best sci-fi movie to this date.[/quote]

In my opinion, "Blade Runner" is the best sci-fi movie to this date.

I like 2001 quite a lot, easily one of the best sci-fi movies around. However the one thing that really bothers me with the movie is the ending, as it feels incredible rushed compared to the book, from watching the movie it's not even clear what exactly is going on once they arrive at Jupiter, it's like they left out a few scenes. The whole "Star Gate" sequence is essentially a quick shoot of Jupiter and then a full bunch of colorful stuff for the next 10 minutes, but there is never any transition or explanation how Bowman got out of his ship into the colors. It's not like there happens any extraordinary stuff in the book, as it is really just Bowman arriving at Saturn[1] and then taking one of the shuttles to approaching the monolith on one of the moons, then a warp gates opens and things goes crazy, but knowing that is kind of important to not get completly lost in that transition. Also the famous last words "My God Its Full Of Stars" are not actually in the 2001 movie, only in the 2010 movie, again kind of a weird omission that would have made the whole situation easier to understand.

After reading the book I found myself enjoying the movie a good bit more, as a lot of the weird crazy stuff on which the audience can easily become lost, gets a whole lot more clear in the book and there really isn't anything pretentious about the book, as it is very straight forward sci-fi.

[1] Saturn got switched for Jupiter in the movie as Saturn rings where to difficult for special effects.

 

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