Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login
Movies
Byrne Robotics > Movies
Topic: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Post ReplyPost New Topic
Author
Message
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 10492
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 2:28am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

It seems impossible to find consistent release dates for old films via the internet (some sites are as reliable as Wikipedia!), but many I have checked show a 2nd April 1968 release date (Washington D.C.) for the premiere of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. 

So that means it's the 50th anniversary today!





I'm not the biggest fan of the movie. I can't pretend to know exactly what it is about.

There are four "acts" (if that's the right word) in the film. I like the "Dawn of Man" stuff, it's very atmospheric as we see early humans learning to make tools and wage war. I didn't like the second act as we see humanity travel into space to investigate the monolith (I found that act quite tedious); I enjoy the third act as we see HAL turn on its crew; as for the fourth act, I found that incredibly boring and pretentious as we follow the main character, Bowman, through a trippy and existential journey pertaining to the monolith, which leads, well, I'm not entirely sure (our next evolutionary step, I think).

Visually, it's a very good film. One could probably have it on as "background noise" and look up every now and again. Or you could just watch the "Dawn of Man" and HAL stuff. The music is tremendous. It just cannot help be boring in places, certainly from my perspective.

I do like long films (CLOUD ATLAS, J.F.K., etc). Length isn't a problem. I commend the film for trying to achieve something. It just has two acts that I find incredibly slow and boring. I realise it has its fans, though.

And, of course, there was the 1970s Marvel adaptation:




Edited by Robbie Parry on 02 April 2018 at 2:31am
Back to Top profile | search
 
Eric Sofer
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 2141
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I read the novelization, and it explained it quite a bit better... but if I have to read "Cliff Notes" for a movie, then I reckon the movie isn't worth it.

It was brilliant, but it was too much art for a science-fiction movie - or so I thought at the time. Sometimes a movie is just a movie, and I don't feel like working that hard to understand it.

Odyssey II explained it too, but again... if it's not patently obvious from the start, then it may need a little more work to make it accessible to the unwashed masses. Including me, certainly... :)
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 110280
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 8:43am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

In an interview in PLAYBOY, Clarke said "If you understood it, we failed."

I'd clock that as about the most pretentious piece of twaddle on record.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 10492
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 9:04am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Ah, thank you. I was vaguely aware of that quote, but couldn't recall the source so didn't mention it.

I'm not a fan of a pretentious comment like that, anyway. I also think that a film can be visually spectacular and accessible.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Shaun Barry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 08 December 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 5571
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 9:28am | IP Logged | 5 post reply


I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with Clarke's quote, considering he usually would repeat it in TV and film interviews with a wry smile and a chuckle.  He was good-humored about it, at least.  I would imagine he was suspect of anyone who could view 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and proclaim they understood it all, from beginning to end, when there was some very deliberate mystery and ambiguity baked into it from the start.  (Sort of like Kramer, in "Seinfeld," proclaiming, "I now understand ALL women!!!")

Personally, I love 2001 unabashedly, and think it's one of the greatest films ever made.  Can it be seen as pretentious?  Sure... when you're making a "profound" sci-fi movie, it's almost unavoidable.  But I like & admire the fact that the film is uniquely its own beast.  I wasn't there in 1968, but I can easily see how some people were blown away by it at the time, when almost no other science-fiction film before it looked or sounded quite the same.  Did it pave the way for far more pretentious stabs at sci-fi flicks?  You betcha.  But this one is worth revisiting and talking about, 50 years later and beyond.  Too much thought, time and effort was put into its production, to simply write it off.





Edited by Shaun Barry on 02 April 2018 at 9:31am
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 110280
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with Clarke's quote, considering he usually would repeat it in TV and film interviews with a wry smile and a chuckle. He was good-humored about it, at least. I would imagine he was suspect of anyone who could view 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and proclaim they understood it all, from beginning to end, when there was some very deliberate mystery and ambiguity baked into it from the start. (Sort of like Kramer, in "Seinfeld," proclaiming, "I now understand ALL women!!!")

"Mystery" in 2001 is all imported from the outside, much like the mythology of George Lucas having STAR WARS "all figured out" from the beginning. The story the movie tells is very simple, if occasionally obtuse. An alien force has "watched over" humanity through the course of our evolution. It has manifested itself at significant moments, especially when we reach a point at which we may destroy ourselves. At that point it takes a direct hand.

Clark himself "unpacked" the more ambiguous parts in 2010, explaining the monolith and basically literalizing what fans had so long contemplated as "mysteries".

Visually, the film is stunning, but as storytelling it is quite hackneyed. I recently introduced a young friend to the movie, and she "read" it at a totally superficial level -- which worked just fine for her.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 10492
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 9:56am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I really should try and watch 2010 at some point. I've been meaning to for a while.

I'd like to read the Marvel Comics adaptation, too.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Shaun Barry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 08 December 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 5571
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 10:24am | IP Logged | 8 post reply


No harm in checking it out, Robbie... though I'm not wild about Clarke going out of his way to almost over-explain everything in 2001, 2010 (aka THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT), I'll admit right-out, features a much more engaging, coherent space adventure storyline, and equally engaging human characters as well (Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren and Bob Balaban?  That's a solid lead cast!).

I don't think both films necessarily work well together, viewing one right after the other (the two approaches and directors are too different), but it's still decent.





Edited by Shaun Barry on 02 April 2018 at 10:26am
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne
Avatar
Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 110280
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The two films work just FINE together, if one is prepared to abandon the fairy tales that have woven themselves around the first.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 10492
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 3:37pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Stanley Kubrick died in 1999 when DVDs were (sort of) in their infancy. I am not sure he ever did a commentary.

I wonder, if he were alive today, would he record a commentary for the film? I know I'm asking an extremely hypothetical question, but was thinking about it earlier today.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Matt Hawes
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 14154
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Before DVD commentary, there were laser disc commentaries. Maybe he did one of those?
Back to Top profile | search | www
 
Joe Hollon
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 08 May 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13283
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 6:14pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I always took the last part to be intentionally
incomprehensible to modern man (us people watching the
movie) just like the space ships would be
incomprehensible to the ape men from the first act.
Maybe that's what Clark meant, assuming he wasn't just
messing with whoever was interviewing him.

Beautiful film with amazing sound and music. One of my
favorites. Glad I got to see it last year in a theater
re-release.
Back to Top profile | search | www e-mail
 
Pete Carrubba
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 22 June 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2698
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 7:31pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

When it comes to this film, I highly recommend reading Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name. I believe the two compliment each other, even though there are differences. Reading Clarke's follow up novels is also something I recommend, including his forewords. 
Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Shaun Barry
Byrne Robotics Member
Avatar

Joined: 08 December 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 5571
Posted: 02 April 2018 at 8:57pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply


(Sadly, no Kubrick commentaries, nor any TV interviews... only print and some audio interviews over the years.)



Back to Top profile | search
 

If you wish to post a reply to this topic you must first login
If you are not already registered you must first register

  Post ReplyPost New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login