Thursday, 3 December 2015

2001 A Space Odyssey, 1968. Review

Fig 1, 2001: a Space Odyssey Poster.
2001: a space odyssey, Directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1968, is a visually and musically impressive movie for its time, something that wouldn't seem possible in making, but was successful.
The movie is separated into 3 acts, although people will complain about the length of the movie but should be grateful for the breaks it gives you before the next act.

The story starts of with (for its time) one of the best jump cuts in the film industry, with several shots of ape men back in the times before man to jump to a shot of a presumably falling shuttle in space with just one flip of a bone club that was just used by said ape man (Fig 2).
The music that was used during this sequence as well, made it seem very intense and dramatic, as if to make it serve some sort of purpose to the movie (which there isn't), although the music used to show the appearances of the Monolith through the movie was very suspenseful and mysterious as if to say 'this is an important object of some kind and we have no idea what it is, what it does so we have to be cautious' (Fig 3 & 4).

Fig 2, Simple jump cut from bone to ship that
was considered the best for its time.
Fig 3, The Ape men discovering and becoming curious
of the Monolith.
Fig 4, 4.000.000 Years into the future, Humans
rediscover the Monolith on the moon.
The Visual quality of the movie starts with the scenes after the jump cut transition with the spaceship and space station with a well known song playing at the same time making it seem entrancing and magical from the way the song was played (Fig 5).
The environment for the station and ships are both spacious and symmetrical in design and a set color code of red and white which gave a futuristic unearthly feel to the interiors, something that was man made but doesn't belong in areas of Earth, which makes you wonder what the set designers and directors thought 2001 looked like from 1968 (not too far off). Even though the spaceships are probably models, Kubrick makes them look like a scene made with CG to quote one reviewer;

'Kubrick's spaceships are perhaps little more than Airfix models, but he makes them majestic, even awesome in the proper sense of the word.' Kate Muir - Times UK.
As far as the story goes from there, it really feels as if it just started another movie not really giving the indication of what the previous scenes were saying, just that they dropped that story all together only to bring it up towards the end of the movie only to show it as a round up of what we already know, so the story is not really there, it's as if the movie was only made to be a art piece for both visual and musical traits.

The scenes that star Dave (Keir Dullea) and co pilot Frank (Gary Lockwood) and there fight for survival against HAL (Douglas Rein) are probably the most we see of interior spaces design wise, cause your not just centered around one part of the ship but you visit multiple locations and revisit areas as well, although some of the areas you see do look the same in comparison but sets like;
The main hub area with it's take on how gravity works by having one of the two pilots run around the whole room as if on a hamster wheel with instruments and computers along the wall to show that wherever he runs, the area around him will always be level with him which is a pretty good take on how a circular room on a spaceship would be (Fig 6).
HALs computer server room really gives you a sense of an artificial design with reds and blacks with each part of the room being a computer server (Fig 7), this must of given some impact in today media where this color code of room design has been used multiple times through sci fi movies and games.

Fig 5, Spaceship and space station look as if
there dancing along with the song that is played
Fig 6, Showing how the set will be level with the
person (Set was actual made on a hamster like wheel)
Fig 7, Hals server room has given to new set designs
in today media in movies and games. 
Now, the third act is probably where the editing team and director didn't care anymore for the story at this point or it was just one of Stanley Kubrick iconic mind messing ending. The visuals that was shown was for some an eye sore and others hypnotic, considering the time this movie was made which was the late 60's the years of the hippie era it's understandable but as to why it was put in the movie, probably to show what hyper space or time travel looks like but other than those theories it was completely unnecessary. (Fig 8)
Going past that to the scenes that leaves everyone scratching their heads is both confusing but also intriguing with it leaving many questions. Where is this place? Why is Dave there? Whats with the constant ageing and isolation that he has to suffer for? What part does the Monolith have in all of this? There have been many answers to this questions but none have been proven. perhaps some where down the line, from this movies debut, that Kubrick has answered this question but just like all reviewers nobody knows if it is the truth. (Fig 9) This can probably be best summed up with quotes from two other reviewers;

'Extraordinary film making, creating intellectual arguments mostly through image and music.' Tim Brayton - Antagony and Ecstasy.

'Notoriously baffling yet oddly compelling...' David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews.
Fig 8, Hyperspace or Time travel?
What ever it is seems painful.
Fig 9, A short passage of time for us is a life time
for Dave as he sees the Monolith in his final minutes.

Image Bibliography.
Fig 1;

Fig 2;

Fig 3;

Fig 4;

Fig 5;*LfDjzccEZ8yWJzysz5UyU*BbUxst5erKZgbh/dockingagain1600x1200.jpg

Fig 6;

Fig 7;

Fig 8;

Fig 9;


Kate Muir, Times UK, December 1 2014;

Tim Brayton, Antagony and Ecstasy, November 18 2014;

David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews, November 18 2014;

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