OTB#2: 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick. 1968. ⚅

The end is nigh! For this blog series.

I think… I haven’t seen this movie since the 80s? I think I saw it in a movie theatre? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did. And then on VHS later.

When thinking back on it, there’s so many scenes I vaguely remember, like the guy jogging in that circular space ship thing… and the obelisk monkey thing… and Daisy Daisy…

What I’m saying is that it has to be (at least) a visually striking film.

But it might still not be much cop. Let’s find out.

[twenty-five minutes pass]

Oooh! They just did the line that Colourbox sampled here:

It’s always so weird seeing scenes with dialogue you’ve heard a million times in various songs…

Anyway. This is really quite spiffy. The monkey thing was all kinds of deep (people injecting mary jane into their eyeballs and smoking LSD and such back in 1968 would have their minds blown), and the space station and docking thing is exquisite. It’s just the right pace, too: The grandeur of the movie is also in how deliberately it moves.

[forty-five more minutes pass]

I had totally blanked on the structure of the movie… it’s pretty brave having these clear sections with no overlapping characters to identify with. Sure, there’s some infodumps to carry us through (the briefing, the interview), but it feels oddly natural.

The work with all the rotating rooms (for filming) is amazeballs. No wonder everybody thought Kubrick faked the moon landing.

[the end]

I like it. It’s amazing how emotional Kubrick made that HAL lobotomy scene. *sniffle* And I really love how unemotional he made the astronauts — it’s like they’re professionals or something. Whenever I’ve seen a space movie from the past decade it’s like “”We’ve momentarily lost communication with Earth AAAARGH WE”RE ALL GONNA DIE!! NO COMMUNICATION!!!! WHERE”S MY SHOTGUN!!1!! We’re all cannibals now AND I”M GOING TO EAT YOU!!! NOOOOOO!!! YOU WEREN”T THERE FOR ME WHEN I GREW UP YOU”RE NOT MY FATHER oh communication has been re-established; let’s continue on to Mars”” in every single one of them.

The stoicness (stoicity? sure, that’s a word now) of the humans is an effective counterweight to the saga.

It’s so oddly structured, though, that I wonder whether the HAL conflict was added as a sweetener between all the cosmic stuff, or whether the cosmic stuff was added to give the HAL stuff more weight? Or perhaps it was always going to be this odd; Clarke isn’t a very good writer…

Anyway, it’s wonderful. Doesn’t feel like it’s seven hours long at all.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

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