Sunday, December 26, 2010

#142. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

DVD Synopsis: Stanley Kubrick's dazzling, Academy Award-winning achievement, a compelling drama of man vs. machine, a stunning meld of music and motion. Kubrick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur C. Clarke) first visits our prehistoric ape-ancestry past, then leaps millennia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever) into colonized space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted realms of space, perhaps even into immortality. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." Let an awesome journey unlike any other begin.

Stanley Kubrick has directed some of the greatest motion pictures ever to appear on the big screen. From Paths Of Glory to Eyes Wide Shut, his career achievements read like a cinematic honor roll, and yet I believe 2001: A Space Odyssey is his finest work, a film of breathtaking beauty and grandeur. 

Of course, not everybody agrees. As the film's detractors are quick to point out, the pace of 2001: A Space Odyssey is slow (one contemporary reviewer described the film as “a monumental bore”). Yet far from criticizing Kubrick for his choice of tempo, I praise him for moving the events of the film along slowly. In doing so, we the audience are given a chance to absorb everything that this view of the universe has to offer. We are the wide-eyed children, gazing up in wonder at the beauty of the cosmos. 

If you think about it, with all the marvels that undoubtedly exist within the known universe, is it even reasonable to assume they can be adequately explored by way of a few rapid montages set to kitschy new-age music? Far from sharing in the belief that 2001: A Space Odyssey is too long, I always find myself wishing there was just a little bit more.

Please leave a comment below... I'd love to hear from you


5plitreel said...

I love the slow pace, and agree that this is Kubrick's best ! I love this blog, I'm planning on starting a similar mission next year. Are you picking films randomly or do you have some sort of list?

i'll be definitely checking back

Dave Becker said...

@Splitreel: Thanks for checking out the blog, and for the kind words. I appreciate it.

While I do have a list of films that I really want to cover during this 'experiment', I'm also trying to keep it all a bit open-ended and random. Not always knowing what film I'll be watching on any given day adds to the experience, I feel, and also keeps it interesting.

Best of luck with your mission...I've bookmarked your blog, and I, too, will be following along!

Eric D. Leach said...

Sadly There are five movies in my life that I cannot separate for position of my all time favourite number one film. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, is amongst them. With a wonderful storyline that is so beautifully timed and paced and is exquisitily separated into several glorious segments that define time and the evolution of mankind and beyond that the infinite journey of time and space and life and death itself? All scenes are directed with a pace necessary to make it work like the most perfectly tuned engine. How anyone can criticise this beautiful and all encompassing movie on its original release and even today question it, are (very foolish) nay, beyond the pale? History as thankfully showed how time as increased this epic movies value and standing rather than diminish any single framed shot and that alone must give it massive gravitas that very few other movies carry upon their lofty groundbreaking shoulders and with it such a illustrious mark in cinema history, FORTY - FOUR years on. This film was made in 1968, (yes folks 1968). Kubrick's visions and glorious direction is magnificent. The stage sets are remarkable and quite literally out of this world! You could use all the superlatives and clichés to explain in words what this movie encapsuates as a visual experience and in conveying the storyline that deals with many complex issues, in particular in the latter half the betrayal of technology. The difference here is in the use of all these complimentory words which I use to describe this film, it would rightly relate to this production ten fold. This is Sci - Fi's true movie birth, I am sorry but it is, end of discussion (for me anyway). It is one of the greatest movies ever made, coming from one of the greatest directors of all time, what more is there to say. I wish I could say more but the film simply conveys everything without fans like me having to do the job. In summation then. If you never see this film then you have my deepest sympathy. If you have had the great fortune to see this film then surely as an individual you must be better for the experience of the films presence in you're life. Currently I do not own A Blu - ray player. The day I finally do become Blu - ray dependant this movie and the other four I can not separate from my number one position will be my first purchases. True movie magnificence. I do not exaggerate!

Dave B. said...

Eric: Thanks once again for the awesome comment!

I'm also astonished at how people criticize this movie. I couldn't agree more that it's paced exactly as it should be. Kubrick was a stickler for detail, a trait that is on display in full force in this film.

And definitely pick up the Blu-Ray when you's great!

Thanks again, and have a good one!

Devin Watson said...

Having watched this so many times, going through three VHS copies, 2 DVDs, and 1 Blu-Ray, this will always be the film that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the craft.

The first time I saw it was at the age of 7. It astounded me. I wasn't obviously old enough to marvel at the technical wizardry or cinematography of it, but I was able to immerse myself in the story, however little dialogue there was. It was an almost pure form of cinema through its visual storytelling.

As I got older, I still found more things to see in it. No matter how many times I watched, there's always something new in it.

2001 will probably stay firmly entrenched at #1 on my all-time favorites list. It was the gateway drug to filmmaking for me, and introduced me to the world of Kubrick.

Giuseppe Lippi, Milan, Italy said...

I can just tell you this: I was 15 in 1968 and I saw the film four times during the first year from its release. It opened here in December, just in time to accompany Apollo 8 men going around the Moon for the first time in history. I tell you, I was a boy of 15, but I marveled, opened my eyes, and pierced my ears with the sound and color of that picture. Today, I still deem it my #1 experience in a lifetime of moviegoing. And there is more: since 1968, I feel I actually WENT to the Moon, thanks to this superior artistic achievement.And a Moon was born within myself, too.

John DeBoer said...

This is an epic and beautiful film. And a technological marvel, not just for its age, but even for today. The overlong psychedelic segment at the end was a bit of a drag, but I'll take that with the rest of this tour de force. When they made the sequel, they couldn't get quite right the features of Bowman's spaceship, but that was an excellent movie, too.