Despite being a sci fi fan and a Kubrick enthusiast, it was only the other day that I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it wasn’t even because it was on my mandated movie watch list, it’s because I saw a bunch of Nolan interviews last week and he noted that 2001 was monumental to him so I finally decided to see it.
So this movie is about space obviously, but it is so loosely translated by the viewers that you can relate it to anything. Of course the story revels around a black monolith which is like a tablet which I think gave man the ability for higher intellect. It starts with apes and ends with the floating baby, if you can’t make that connection in your head, you’d just have to see the movie.
I think one of the reasons why this movie became a cult classic is because everything is open to interpretation. The 2.5 hour movie is mostly just soundtrack with cool stuff in space. I know that might seem boring which it is sometimes is but I think this is an accurate representation of the title, a space odyssey. I mean space is uneventful and boring with a lot of darkness and just talking to computers which the movie accurately represented. Most people think that this sucks because it’s too plain and nothing happens but I think it’s a show to represent what space actually is. I think the silence in this movie provides a landscape of what cinema can offer you in 1968 (I mean I wasn’t born then but I can definitely appreciate that this was pre-Star Wars and the cinematography kicks Star Wars on its ass).
Also, I think the monotonous tone not only for HAL but also for the actors were a satire to depict the calculating view of humans. In that in order for us to complete a difficult task, we must remain at our utmost logical self, totally forgetting our impulsive side. Unfortunately, this will become our downfall because this will cause an internal struggle towards doing what is right and doing what we think is right that will tear us into pieces. It also depicts that we can be ruthless in our ways if we think that we are doing the right thing for other people. I mean when HAL decided to terminate the crew, he just decided that he’ll kill them, of course he had no emotional attachment to them, because he is a machine, but you feel in yourself that he became ruthless, despite not being human when he tries to terminate the entire crew. Lastly, the monotonous feel of the movie provided an ironic (if you can call it that) death to HAL. When you hear him plead for his life (?), when you hear him tell Dave that he won’t be any trouble, the movie definitely plays on its audience to substitute their own aggression and sympathy to both HAL and Dave and that to me is a powerful expression.
The movie is definitely famous for its score and cinematography as it should be. When you see the first few minutes of this movie, you will automatically get impressed in how much Kubrick is so ahead of his time that the techniques that he used in 1968 could still rival the idiots who use CGI in recent movies. The cinematography is just spectacular and the accompanying classical music depicts a certain grace of nothingness which is amazing to see. There were definitely some scenes where you don’t feel that it was filmed in 1968. I mean the way the built the space machines, imitating zero gravity, people walking on the moon (ahead of the actual man on the moon); this movie has accomplished a lot with only the fact that it was made the way it was. It’s just movie magic (without the actual magic).
I really do feel that this movie has been so influential not only to the sci fi movies we have today but also to movies in general. The accurate portrayal of everything and the details are so thoughtful that you knew that everyone who worked on the film was careful on how to detail it (of course this is to add to the fact that they were working for Kubrick himself who was anal about details). I mean the props, the suits, the shuttles, you can see all the details and appreciated that they put in that much work in designing and building those things to just float in the background of the movie.
I think some people tend to hate Kubrick because of his style and the fact that he is obsessive and lives and his own world, but you can’t deny the fact that Kubrick has created a following that will never die. His influence will always be around and his work iconic. I have to rate this movie as a MUST SEE NOW. I know that’s a little hypocritical on my part since it took me this long to see it. But it’s a good movie; it is despite the lack of action, because it leaves you wanting more. You can’t say a movie is boring and without substance if it creates questions in your head that will not leave you after you’ve seen it. This movie engages you to use your head and think about what it means behind all the cool sci fi and how it depicts real life.