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2001: A Space Odyssey

Page history last edited by Air Dupaix 11 years, 1 month ago

The Story     

2001 was made in 1968, directed by Stanley Kubrick. The movie was based on the collaborative writing project of Arthur C. Clark and Kubrick. 2001: A Space Odyssey was inspired an earlier novel by Clark called The Sentinel. The film was originally going to be called Journey Beyond the Stars but Kubrick decided on something more epic and took the film's name from Homer's classic work, The Odyssey.


The novel and the screenplay were written at the same time but the vision of the works varied greatly. Clark gave more of an explanation about strange things like the monoliths by giving them an alien background, providing a more in depth explanation about the stargate and its functioning, and fill in the great gaps in the time line. Kubrick, on the other hand, wanted to leave certain objects and occurrences up to the viewers' interpretation. In fact, the first time you actually hear someone speak intelligently it is almost 30 minutes into the film. This ambiguity about key aspects of the film, like for who or what makes the monoliths appear, the purpose of HAL, and where does Dave go? creates a tension for anyone to give a widely accepted explanation on what the film's meaning is.  Whatever the interpretation of the viewer or reader may be, it is clear that both Clark and Kubrick create a setting in which the growth of mankind is the primary focus.


The movie takes place in three possibly four different stages/parts. Beginning with the "Dawn of Man" where humanoid ape men discover a monolith and learn from, which we can infer from the editing of the shot, to use tools.





This mental growth of these proto-men then moves the film to opening of the greatest technological movement of mankind, space travel. The movie then follows the progression of Dr. Floyd and to a secret moon mission where yet another monolith is found. The film jumped ahead to 18 months after the moon discovery and the spaceship's Odyssey voyage to Jupiter. The humans aboard must overcome their own technology, the computer HAL, in order to survive and as Dave Bowman finally discovers, to find where the monolith came from. Finally in the last stage, Dave travels to "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" through the stargate that is created with the monolith by Jupiter. The movie takes these massive jumps in time because the only time we need to pay attention to is when the monoliths push mankinds understanding beyond what it has become used to. As we can see in the clip above, Kubrick condenses the whole of human history as we know it into a spinning bone of the proto-man which culminates into the leap of space travel. The affect of this possible minor editorial cut is that all of human kinds push beyond the primitive in inconsequential and that it is only the movement beyond our own planet that truly counts in the eons.


The Film Style

The film is a spectacle in and of itself. It takes more than half an hour to hear anyone speak in a recognizeable line in this film, we as an audience know the visual aspects of the film is more important than any sound we may hear. It took Kubrick two years to create the "most realistic" depictions of space  that could be created at that time (4). It appeared that people in the space stations and ships were in anti-gravity situations like sometimes running on walls and ceilings and float like astronauts actually do in space. This work on creating the special effects helped advance movie technology by leaps and bounds, this fact is sort of funny because the movies seems, especially the HAL sequences, to show his doubts about our technology and technologies advancement. The film features nondiagetic music from orchestras, perhaps to fill the space for space, and sounds from the characters, but you don't hear both orchestra and characters at the same time. Some people thought that this movie was slow and dull because of how slowly it progresses of the story by the plot, however that lack of action gives the viewer pleantly of time to look around the screen and take in the the masterful mise-en-scene that Kubrick brought to the screen. In the clip below we can see how Kubrick took his time to make every long shot count to the fullest and finally culminating in the emergence of the stargate and the final transition of man that we see in the film.



 Work Cited

(1). "2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)." Greatest Films - The Best Movies in Cinematic History. Web. 04 Nov. 2009. <http://www.filmsite.org/twot.html>.
(2)."2001: A Space Odyssey (film) -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 04 Nov. 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_(film)>.
(3). "2001: A Space Odyssey Internet Resource Archive." Business solutions with a Web interface | Palantir.net. Web. 04 Nov. 2009. <http://www.palantir.net/2001/>. 


(4). "2001: A Space Odyssey Overview -." AllMovie. Web. 04 Nov. 2009. <http://www.allmovie.com/work/169>. 

Comments (1)

Sean Desilets said

at 10:48 am on Nov 5, 2009

* Could use some interpretive material--for example: *why* does the film make those big jumps in time?
* More on visual style?
* "The Film" paragraph mentions reservations about technology. More about that?

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