Wednesday, February 3, 2010

#42 2001: A Space Odyssey: Give me your answer do

1968. dir. Stanley Kubrick, starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain.

Seen it before? Yes.
"Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?"
-Rock Hudson, while storming out of the 1968 premiere of 2001
A movie in four acts:
  1. The Dawn Of Man: Some chimps find a mysterious black monolith. Then they invent weapons.
  2. Clavius: A scientist goes to the moon, where they have found a similar monolith. It emits a radio signal to Jupiter.
  3. Discovery: Five astronauts, plus the sentient HAL-9000 computer, go to Jupiter to investigate. HAL malfunctions and murders four of the astronauts, so the last one, Dave, shuts him down.
  4. Jupiter And Beyond the Infinite: Dave arrives at Jupiter... a bunch of psychedelic bullshit happens, Dave gets stuck in a weird hotel room for decades. As he dies, another monolith appears above his head. Cut back to Earth, where there's a weird fetus-baby thing in orbit. The End.
So yeah. I was able to summarize the "plot" in a few sentences there. The movie is almost two and a half hours long! There are so many long stretches where nobody says anything and nothing important happens. Kubrick needed to tighten this shit up!

The special effects are great. Years ahead of their time. You can see the influence this had on Star Wars and so forth. The classical score gives the movie some much-needed gravitas. The HAL-9000 sequence is quite enjoyable and memorable, but unfortunately the rest of the movie is just this boring, intentionally confusing mess. Take the rest out, expand the HAL-9000 plot into a nice, tight 90 minute sci-fi thriller, and there's your movie. Alas.

I won't bother dissecting the symbolism, or the meaning of the monoliths or the Star Child, because it apparently is deliberately left ambiguous. Word Of God says so:
"We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered." -Arthur C. Clarke
OK, here's a question: What were you smoking?

Position on the list: 76
Intermission: Why? That was pointless. It breaks up the tension for no reason.

No comments:

Post a Comment