Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by stemikger »

At 50 years old I have never seen this classic. I finally got around to it. Grant it, I was distracted while watching toward the end but can anyone tell me what the ending meant? I understand it is symbolic and I have my own ideas, but would love to hear what it really means just to confirm if I'm right.

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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by JMacDonald »

OK, It has been at least 40 years since I saw the movie: Humanity is reborn by a need for a challenge. That is as simple an explanation as I saw it. It will be interesting to see what others think.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Ron »

For me, the question was answered in the movie 2010.

I'll let you see that one without inserting my own comments on the 2001 ending :) ...

BTW, I still have both (in VHS!) in my library...

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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novelization of it, as well as of the sequels, so you can check what he thought it meant. I've forgotten. I think it was the novelization that clued me in that the dimensions of the slab are (supposed to be) precisely in the ratios 1:4:16. Connoisseurs: is the actual slab in the actual movie really that shape?

Nowadays the slabs would be CGI, but back then they had to be models, and when the light strikes them correctly you can see hints of texture on the sides.

My belief is that there isn't an atom of meaning in it.

The whole movie is just "cinematic" as all heck. It is entirely about evocative images, and what they evoke is up to you. It is not "about" space travel, it is about the look of spacecraft and things turning slowly to waltz music, and far more screens than any human pilot could possibly read. And it's also about filling a Todd-AO screen with minute and sharply rendered detail. You probably didn't see it in Todd-AO but I sure hope you at least saw a real 70 mm print. (OK, I don't know what the best Blu-Ray transfers would look like on a really big digital screen). The pace seems slow nowadays, but it didn't at the time because, sharply rendered on a Todd-AO screen, every image is so crammed full of stuff that you don't actually have enough time to absorb all the detail.

I've never understood the strangely-wooden acting--anyone else remember Keir Dullea in "David and Lisa?" but my assumption is that it's to keep you so bored and uninvolved in the story that you have a chance to appreciate the special effects.

It still has the most convincing "blinding-sunlight" tonal scale I've seen in movies...

On the first run, they handed out little leaflets written by Arthur C. Clarke explaining... no, not the ending. You'll never guess what Clarke wanted to explain. He was explaining that yes, it was possible for astronauts to survive without suits for thirty seconds or so in the vacuum of space.

Remember this was at the height of the psychedelic 60s and while I don't know that Kubrick meant for it to be watched under the influence, I have my suspicions. It was at about this time that Disney re-released Fantasia with posters highlighting Satan and the tagline "The Ultimate Trip." And Google Images isn't finding that Disney poster for me because every search I try that includes the phrase "ultimate trip" retrieves mostly images of.... 2001, A Space Odyssey!

Correction: it seems that it was released in a process under the name Cinerama, not Todd-AO. But it wasn't the genuine three-strip CInerama. Perhaps I saw it at something named the Todd-AO theatre in New York?????
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by oldzey »

A great question, and there's plenty of others' ideas floating around out there (pun intended).

I like the Kubrick Site, which examines 2001 and Kubrick's other films.

Another site I like is Collative Learning, which has good film reviews (both free and pay-to-view) about Kubrick's and other directors' films. The associated YouTube Channel is here.

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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by bertilak »

nisiprius wrote:Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novelization of it, as well as of the sequels, so you can check what he thought it meant. I've forgotten. I think it was the novelization that clued me in that the dimensions of the slab are (supposed to be) precisely in the ratios 1:4:16.

My belief is that there isn't an atom of meaning in it.

The whole movie is just "cinematic" as all heck. It is entirely about evocative images, and what they evoke is up to you. It is not "about" space travel, it is about the look of spacecraft and things turning slowly to waltz music, and far more screens than any human pilot could possibly read. And it's also about filling a Todd-AO screen with minute and sharply rendered detail. You probably didn't see it in Todd-AO but I sure hope you at least saw a real 70 mm print. The pace seems slow nowadays, but it didn't at the time because, sharply rendered on a big screen, every image is so crammed full of stuff that you don't actually have enough time to absorb all the detail.

Remember this was at the height of the psychedelic 60s and I won't swear that Kubrick meant for it to be watched under the influence, I have my suspicions. It was at about this time that Disney re-released Fantasia with posters highlighting Satan and the tagline "The Ultimate Trip." And Google Images isn't finding that poster for me because every search I try that includes the phrase "ultimate trip" retrieves mostly images of.... 2001, A Space Odyssey!
I think this and couple of other Kubrick movies, are about "Art." Asking what it means is like asking what Beethoven's Ninth (or the Blue Danube) means. Sure you can deconstruct it and dig out all kinds of "meanings" including some obvious cultural references but asking the question misses the point.

Unless, of course, we are just like Alex in Clockwork Orange and the point is being driven home through our emotions and subconscious without us even being ware of what that point is! :shock:
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

bertilak wrote:...Sure you can deconstruct it and dig out all kinds of "meanings" including some obvious cultural references but asking the question misses the point...
I'm wondering when it was that Life magazine--I think it was Life--published the first color photographs of fetuses in utero. I don't remember what the technology was. Like the first images of the whole earth from space, they were true landmark images, and I rather suspect the Space Child or whatever it was, might have been included just because Kubrick liked the image.

Added: Google, click click. Yes, it was Life. The photographer was Lennart Nilsson. The year was 1965. The timing is about right.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healt ... ml?image=1

Image
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Stonebr »

nisiprius wrote: My belief is that there isn't an atom of meaning in it.
+1 I saw the movie in the theatre when it first came out and found it baffling. I'd read Clarke's Childhood's End, so I was at least clued in to his ideas, but the movie was too abstract. The story was incomprehensible or non-existent, and the acting, as you say, wooden. I've seen it several times in the recent past on small screen and enjoy some of the scenes, particularly when HAL takes over. But the movie doesn't mean anything to me, and I've decided it's not my fault.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Stonebr wrote:
nisiprius wrote: My belief is that there isn't an atom of meaning in it.
+1 I saw the movie in the theatre when it first came out and found it baffling. I'd read Clarke's Childhood's End, so I was at least clued in to his ideas, but the movie was too abstract. The story was incomprehensible or non-existent, and the acting, as you say, wooden. I've seen it several times in the recent past on small screen and enjoy some of the scenes, particularly when HAL takes over. But the movie doesn't mean anything to me, and I've decided it's not my fault.
+1. Everything you've said. For me it was a lousy movie. 2010 was much better, IMO.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by bertilak »

nisiprius wrote:Correction: it seems that it was released in a process under the name Cinerama, not Todd-AO. But it wasn't the genuine three-strip CInerama. Perhaps I saw it at something named the Todd-AO theatre in New York?????
I saw it in a theater when it first came out. The theater was properly equipped for whatever technology was in use. Unfortunately, the only tickets we could get were for the balcony so we saw the actual curvature of the screen and were probably too far from the screen (in addition to being at the wrong angle) to get the proper effect. Even so, the effect was impressive. After a few minutes the curved image we got to see was compensated for by our brains so I didn't even notice it after a bit.

Absolute best part of the movie? The cut from the bone to the spaceship. That was almost a physical blow. I doubt I'll ever forget seeing that for the first time. OK, the Blue Danube sequence was right up there too. The ending sequence actually didn't impress me nearly as much and it went on for too long.

Do you remember the Allen Sherman comedy album of 1964? One of the cuts was "The End of a Symphony" where (with the help of Arthur Fiedler) he parodied how symphony endings went of forever? See: https://www.google.com/search?num=20&es ... a+symphony if you have 8 minutes.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Ninegrams »

I think I read somewhere back that the "wooden" acting was intentional to make humanity seem more computer like ( less emotional ), and the computers ( HAL for example ) more human like. Sort of a being on the cusp of singularity thing. I think it was Kubrick's "prediction" of where man was headed.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by 22twain »

Stonebr wrote:The story was incomprehensible or non-existent, and the acting, as you say, wooden.
Your description makes me think of the title of MAD magazine's spoof which appeared shortly afterward: "201 Minutes of a Space Idiocy". :twisted:

Aha! Here it is.

(I'm in the camp that loved the movie. I pull out my video of it every few years to re-live my high-school days.)
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by sketchy9 »

The acting is supposed to be wooden. The most "human" character in the movie isn't human at all.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Great Movie. It traces man's pursuit of knowledge(the stone is a metaphor for knowledge and also is a communication device from a world much further advanced than us). The movie traces man's progress from apes to outer space. Of course, the baby at the end is just an indicator that man is as the stage of an infant in our tapping into true knowledge. Of course the theme of robots vs. man is thrown in for suspense. Stanley Kubrick is a great filmmaker if you take the time to enjoy and let yourself go.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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I always thought that the ending with the baby represented the next step in the evolution of man. The same way the monolith tinkered with apes who became human in the beginning of the movie, the makers of the monolith tinkered with David Bowman as a modern human to make the human looking, but not quite human baby.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by stemikger »

bengal22 wrote:Great Movie. It traces man's pursuit of knowledge(the stone is a metaphor for knowledge and also is a communication device from a world much further advanced than us). The movie traces man's progress from apes to outer space. Of course, the baby at the end is just an indicator that man is as the stage of an infant in our tapping into true knowledge. Of course the theme of robots vs. man is thrown in for suspense. Stanley Kubrick is a great filmmaker if you take the time to enjoy and let yourself go.
This was my understanding of the movie also.

Thanks for the replies and your interpretations and/or explanation. I was starting to think it went over my head.

On a side note, the movie got me thinking what Elan Musk has been saying quite vocally and is very serious about. He says artificial intelligence is a real concern of his and if not heavily regulated he has serious fears it would be a thread to mankind. If I heard that from anyone else I would have thought they were crazy, but coming from him, it now scares me too. His words were it would be like letting a demon out of a box.

Thank God we are only at the Amzon Echo (Alexa) stage - which reminded me of HAL. LOL.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Stephen Hawking believes AI may be the end of mankind:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30290540
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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I remember my step-father, the truck driver, asking me that question back in the late 70's -- as though an adult couldn't understand it but a kid smarter than he might get it. My perception was that pretty much the consensus from the common man's perspective was that the movie made no sense whatsoever. Most people that went to see it simply fell asleep in the theater due to all the beautiful music.

However, I took it upon myself to read the book, and it did a much, much better job with the ending. I encourage you to read it. Kubrick is still a genius IMHO, but...
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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nisiprius wrote:Remember this was at the height of the psychedelic 60s and while I don't know that Kubrick meant for it to be watched under the influence, I have my suspicions. It was at about this time that Disney re-released Fantasia with posters highlighting Satan and the tagline "The Ultimate Trip." And Google Images isn't finding that Disney poster for me because every search I try that includes the phrase "ultimate trip" retrieves mostly images of.... 2001, A Space Odyssey!
The tagline was "The Ultimate Experience", not "Trip". And it was apparently used in promotional content, but not the actual 1969 poster:

Image
image from https://www.movieposter.com/poster/b70- ... tasia.html. It's for sale if you want it.

It amounts to the same thing though. Jimi Hendrix's "Are you Experienced?" had been released 2 years earlier and everyone in the target demographic undoubtedly knew exactly what it meant.

(And no, I don't know this first hand, I was born in 1968.)
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by oldzey »

stemikger wrote:At 50 years old I have never seen this classic. I finally got around to it. Grant it, I was distracted while watching toward the end but can anyone tell me what the ending meant? I understand it is symbolic and I have my own ideas, but would love to hear what it really means just to confirm if I'm right.

Thanks!
The ending is even groovier with Pink Floyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2uuRG9l1JA

Enjoy! :beer
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by bertilak »

Alex Frakt wrote:Image
(And no, I don't know this first hand, I was born in 1968.)
Weren't we all!

And I thought it was first hand!
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Stonebr »

bengal22 wrote:Great Movie. It traces man's pursuit of knowledge(the stone is a metaphor for knowledge and also is a communication device from a world much further advanced than us). The movie traces man's progress from apes to outer space. Of course, the baby at the end is just an indicator that man is as the stage of an infant in our tapping into true knowledge. Of course the theme of robots vs. man is thrown in for suspense. Stanley Kubrick is a great filmmaker if you take the time to enjoy and let yourself go.
This is all true and is the conventional interpretation. However, my conclusion after seeing it numerous times is that it's gorgeous cinema, but it's basically meaningless. What's the point of tracing man's progress, the monolith, the baby, HAL? What's the point? Whatever Kubrick was trying to say was probably left on the cutting room floor. Or he was just zonked out on drugs like many of his viewers and reviewers back in the day.

Interesting that nobody has mentioned the soundtrack, the best part of the movie.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Alex Frakt wrote:
nisiprius wrote:Remember this was at the height of the psychedelic 60s and while I don't know that Kubrick meant for it to be watched under the influence, I have my suspicions. It was at about this time that Disney re-released Fantasia with posters highlighting Satan and the tagline "The Ultimate Trip." And Google Images isn't finding that Disney poster for me because every search I try that includes the phrase "ultimate trip" retrieves mostly images of.... 2001, A Space Odyssey!
The tagline was "The Ultimate Experience", not "Trip". And it was apparently used in promotional content, but not the actual 1969 poster:

Image
image from https://www.movieposter.com/poster/b70- ... tasia.html. It's for sale if you want it.

It amounts to the same thing though. Jimi Hendrix's "Are you Experienced?" had been released 2 years earlier and everyone in the target demographic undoubtedly knew exactly what it meant.

(And no, I don't know this first hand, I was born in 1968.)
Remember it well,,,,I was 18 in 1968(target demographic 8-) )
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

Alex Frakt wrote:The tagline was "The Ultimate Experience", not "Trip". And it was apparently used in promotional content, but not the actual 1969 poster.
Thanks for the correction, and for the image of the poster itself. Some parts of Fantasia probably could have used "a little help from my friends." Imagine going to the movie to see the cool Satan/Chernabog and having to sit through the endless excerpt from Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, with those awkward, awkward visuals of sexless teenaged centaur stallions courting teenaged centaur mares (who wore strategically placed garlands of flowers in lieu of pasties).

I've always liked 2001 a lot, but it is still mostly empty visuals. Or maybe I'm being dismissive, maybe a "look" is worth something... but you can only go so far. You can appreciate the decor of a restaurant but at some point you want food.

Yes, I liked the score, and it popularized some rather nice pieces of classical music that deserved it. I liked the scene where one of the astronauts, Dullea I think, is exercising by running around the space station, to something rather poignant from Khachaturian's Gayne Ballet Suite--up to that point, best known only for "Sabre Dance." It is sooooooo not your obvious exercise music.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by madbrain »

This is my favorite movie of all time, and I wasn't even born in 1968 .
I don't need the ending to have any specific meaning . One can interpret it as they wish, in many different ways.

I wish I had a chance to see it in a real movie theater. It was re-released last month in the UK. Alas, not here in California.
So I will have to live with the Blu-ray and watching it on my 106" screen in my home theater in HD. Which I have done many times.

I really love the dialogues, especially with HAL. And somehow, I don't think the movie has aged badly at all.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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BolderBoy wrote: +1. Everything you've said. For me it was a lousy movie. 2010 was much better, IMO.
Sorry, but 2010 was just an average and much more conventional movie compared to 2001, IMO. Maybe if Kubrick had directed it, it would have been better.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by spectec »

I found it boring.
Watched parts of it again recently and remembered why.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

madbrain wrote:...And somehow, I don't think the movie has aged badly at all...
Except, of course, for the trademarks and logos of defunct companies. And a Boglehead-relevant lesson in the belief in "solid blue-chip stocks." In 1968 it seemed like a sure thing that Howard Johnson's and Pan American Airways and the Bell System would exist in 2001.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by madbrain »

nisiprius wrote:
madbrain wrote:...And somehow, I don't think the movie has aged badly at all...
Except, of course, for the trademarks and logos of defunct companies. And a Boglehead-relevant lesson in the belief in "solid blue-chip stocks." In 1968 it seemed like a sure thing that Howard Johnson's and Pan American Airways and the Bell System would exist in 2001.
Yes, but I would say the company names are a fairly minor thing, IMO.

I think many movies made long after - and not just Scifi movies - haven't aged as well as 2001 due to how quickly the technology they depict has become outdated. Movies with bulky PCs with cassette tapes or floppy drives and huge CRT screens for example. And it likely will be the same with movies that depict cell phones and tablets whenever those go out of fashion, IMO.
Sure, there is one CRT screen in 2001 for the video conversation. But other than that, I would say it's the haircuts and the furniture that date 2001 more than technology depicted in it.
Even though HAL 9000 was a big mainframe and most people haven't seen one in their lifetime, nowadays the equivalent would probably a supercomputer taking a bunch of racks in a data center. Ie. , big computers still exist. Also, we still don't have AI anywhere close to what HAL was capable of ;))
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Kenkat »

It's all about the monoliths. Understand the monoliths and the rest becomes clear. Or clearer at least. :D
The extraterrestrial species that built the monoliths is never described in much detail, but some knowledge of its existence is given to Dave Bowman after he is transported by the stargate to the "cosmic zoo", as detailed in the novels 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: Odyssey Two. The existence of this species is only hypothesized by the rest of humanity, but it is obvious because the monolith was immediately identified as an artefact of non-human origin.

The extraterrestrial species that built the monoliths developed intergalactic travel millions or perhaps billions of years before the present time. In the novels, Clarke refers to them as the "Firstborn" (not to be confused with the identically-named race in Arthur C. Clarke's and Stephen Baxter's Time Odyssey Series) since they were quite possibly the first sentient species to possess a significant capability of interstellar travel. Members of this species explored the universe in the search of knowledge, and especially knowledge about other intelligent species.

While these early explorers discovered that life was quite common, they observed that intelligent life was often stunted in its development, or else died out prematurely. Hence, they set about fostering it. The "Firstborn" were in many ways physically different from human beings, though from another point-of-view they were fundamentally the same: they were creatures made of "flesh and blood", and hence like human beings they were mortal.

However, the evolutionary development projects they began would by their nature require very long time-spans to complete, far longer than the lifetimes of their creators. Therefore, the aliens created increasingly complex automated machines to oversee and carry out their projects over the eons. When they encountered a living world that had features in favour of the evolution of intelligent life, they left behind the monoliths as remote observers that were also capable of taking a variety of actions according to the wishes of their creators. One such planet, encountered when it was still quite young, was the Earth. They also observed Jupiter and its watery moon, Europa. The decaying ecology of Mars was also visited, but passed over in favour of more fruitful locations like Earth. The aliens left behind three monoliths to observe and enact their plan to foster humans to pursue technology and space travel.

As described in Clarke's novel, the Firstborn discovered later how to transfer their consciousness onto computers, and thus they became thinking machines. In the end, they surpassed even this achievement, and were able to transfer entirely from physical to non-corporeal forms – the "Lords of the Galaxy" — omniscient, immortal, and capable of travelling at great speeds. The Firstborn had abandoned physical form, but their creations, the monoliths, remained, and these continued to carry out their original assignments.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monolith_(Space_Odyssey)
It is a very different movie, but one I really enjoyed. I think it helps to read the books 2001 and 2010, as they go into a lot more detail than the films can. But the visuals of the film make a great complement to the books in my opinion.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by madbrain »

22twain wrote:
Stonebr wrote:The story was incomprehensible or non-existent, and the acting, as you say, wooden.
Your description makes me think of the title of MAD magazine's spoof which appeared shortly afterward: "201 Minutes of a Space Idiocy". :twisted:

Aha! Here it is.

(I'm in the camp that loved the movie. I pull out my video of it every few years to re-live my high-school days.)
Thank you for posting this link. I couldn't stop laughing. I think a few people that have sat through the movie with me (and some not to the end) might appreciate it even more ;)
But I still love the movie.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Fallible »

nisiprius wrote:...
My belief is that there isn't an atom of meaning in it.

The whole movie is just "cinematic" as all heck. It is entirely about evocative images, and what they evoke is up to you.
...
Agree. Meaning is up to the individual and his/her imagination. It's a magnificent sensory experience, although at times more like an onslaught on the senses. The special effects and the visuals, especially at the end, were for me stunning entertainment. I had fun with it, especially HAL, and I don't think he signaled at all the future of AI. I may be wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that he was something of a programming error that made his behavior inevitable and understandable.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

kenschmidt wrote:It's all about the monoliths. Understand the monoliths and the rest becomes clear. Or clearer at least. :D
Actually one of the minor things about the movie that gripes me is those monoliths. They're weren't supposed to be black slabs, they were supposed to be crystal pyramids (or at least "roughly pyramidal.")
In 'The Sentinel,' Arthur C. Clarke wrote:I was standing on a plateau perhaps a hundred feet across. It had once been smooth-too smooth to be natural-but falling meteors had pitted and scored its surface through immeasurable eons. It had been leveled to support a glittering, roughly pyramidal structure, twice as high as a man, that was set in the rock like a gigantic, many-faceted jewel....

Yet the dust and the meteor scratches ended quite abruptly in a wide circle enclosing the little pyramid, as though an invisible wall was protecting it from the ravages of time and the slow but ceaseless bombardment from space....

Perhaps you understand now why that crystal pyramid was set upon the Moon instead of on the Earth....

Once we had passed that crisis, it was only a matter of time before we found the pyramid and forced it open....
It's his story and his imagined future and Clarke certainly had the right to change it if he wanted to, but I suspect this is just one more case of Kubrick wanting a certain "look."
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Chin00k »

nisiprius wrote:Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novelization of it, as well as of the sequels, so you can check what he thought it meant. I've forgotten. I think it was the novelization that clued me in that the dimensions of the slab are (supposed to be) precisely in the ratios 1:4:16. Connoisseurs: is the actual slab in the actual movie really that shape?
The physical dimensions of the monolith are in the precise ratio of 1:4:9 (i.e., the squares of the first three integers).
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by jimgour »

My Take:

The movie was for special effects.

The book was for understanding the movie:

At the early dawn of the development of humans, earth was visited by a very advanced alien race. They saw potential, but not the probability of survival for our ancestors to develop. So, they gave them a little help. Implanted some ideas that might help. Then the aliens moved on. But before they left, they rigged up an alarm to let them know if we ever developed technologically. They buried the alarm on the moon, knowing that if we ever got that far, we had survived and evolved.

Then there was that million or so year gap until we became a technical society. That little gap was covered in the movie between the bone going up into the air, and the space station.

When the astronauts did a magnetic survey of the moon they noticed an anomaly. When they excavated they exposed a monolith to sunlight, which triggered an alarm signal to be sent (remember the view straight up the surface of the monolith, and then the piercing signal when the sun came overhead)? All the astronauts covered their ears.

The human race then realized they had triggered a message to be sent, and naturally paranoid, they wanted to know who got the message, and why. That's why the voyage to Jupiter was made, to follow the signal and see where it had gone.

When they got to Jupiter's moon, they again made contact, in a way, with the ancient aliens, and it was time for the next little boost to help humankind along; a new bit of help, again, to help us to the next level, which was represented by the new embryo.

There is much more to the story, but I don't want to type any more. I saw the movie when it first came out. I loved the special effects, pretty good for the day, but I didn't understand much. Then I read the book and almost all of it made sense.

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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Fallible »

nisiprius wrote:
kenschmidt wrote:It's all about the monoliths. Understand the monoliths and the rest becomes clear. Or clearer at least. :D
Actually one of the minor things about the movie that gripes me is those monoliths. They're weren't supposed to be black slabs, they were supposed to be crystal pyramids (or at least "roughly pyramidal.")
In 'The Sentinel,' Arthur C. Clarke wrote:I was standing on a plateau perhaps a hundred feet across. It had once been smooth-too smooth to be natural-but falling meteors had pitted and scored its surface through immeasurable eons. It had been leveled to support a glittering, roughly pyramidal structure, twice as high as a man, that was set in the rock like a gigantic, many-faceted jewel....

Yet the dust and the meteor scratches ended quite abruptly in a wide circle enclosing the little pyramid, as though an invisible wall was protecting it from the ravages of time and the slow but ceaseless bombardment from space....

Perhaps you understand now why that crystal pyramid was set upon the Moon instead of on the Earth....

Once we had passed that crisis, it was only a matter of time before we found the pyramid and forced it open....
It's his story and his imagined future and Clarke certainly had the right to change it if he wanted to, but I suspect this is just one more case of Kubrick wanting a certain "look."
Have you seen this?
http://www.academia.edu/4979574/The_200 ... orehamwood
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by obgraham »

Like almost all Kubrick movies, the meaning is left up to the viewer.

In the meantime, 2001 is an auditory and visual feast for the senses. The Moonshuttle/Strauss scene to me is among the top 5 scenes in all of moviemaking. Whenever I come across a showing of the movie on some satellite channel I cannot help but watch it, if only for that scene.

And the fact that I watch this version of Arthur C Clarke's story via a geostationary satellite transmission makes it more wondrous yet!
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Jguild2120 »

I remember this movie, ummm … sort of, in a different way than some.

It was 1968; the movie had just been released. Myself and 4 friends had decided to see it. We hitch-hiked from our Van Nuys neighborhood, across the Hollywood Hills, down into Hollywood blvd, to Chinese Grauman’s Theater.

Just before entering the theater we each had something highly recommended by Mr. T. Leary, paid our money, loaded up on goodies and found seats.

The movie made a huge impression on my friends and I: the music was totally ‘freaky’, the visuals were ‘spaced out’ and the colors were ‘strawberry fields forever’. Other than that not much is known :happy

It’s a wonder I survived my teenage years. But I did. I mended my wild ways, stayed married, graduated from the university; remained employed for +45 years, raised two loving children and secured a good retirement. I’m an old man now, but remembering those days brings back a flood of memories, mostly good, a few bad.

I think there was monkey in the movie, or maybe that was Planet Of The Apes; or.. who knows. Ha!
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

Jguild2120 wrote:I think there was monkey in the movie, or maybe that was Planet Of The Apes; or.. who knows. Ha!
There was much discussion at the time about which movie had "better" apes, Planet of the Apes (released February 8, 1968) or 2001, A Space Odyssey (April 2, 1968). Both of them had taken makeup to impressive new levels, both of them were convincing enough to allow you to "believe" in them as ape-men and not as actors in ape-man suits... and different enough that each of them revealed the problems in the other. As I recall the chat leaving the theatre was "Well, these apes were better but I liked the ones in Planet of the Apes more."

For me, the big problem was that real apes have more muscular strength in relation to their size than humans do and are more agile; and thus, no matter how simian in appearance, an actor always seems too slow and ponderous. In Wolfgang Köhler's studies of chimpanzees one of the minor difficulties he faced was that they would solve the problems he set for them in the "wrong" way--if the task was to pile boxes into a tower, they could make a completely unstable pile, climb up it, retrieve the banana, and climb down it again while it was in the process of falling down.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by stemikger »

Jguild2120 wrote:I remember this movie, ummm … sort of, in a different way than some.

It was 1968; the movie had just been released. Myself and 4 friends had decided to see it. We hitch-hiked from our Van Nuys neighborhood, across the Hollywood Hills, down into Hollywood blvd, to Chinese Grauman’s Theater.

Just before entering the theater we each had something highly recommended by Mr. T. Leary, paid our money, loaded up on goodies and found seats.

The movie made a huge impression on my friends and I: the music was totally ‘freaky’, the visuals were ‘spaced out’ and the colors were ‘strawberry fields forever’. Other than that not much is known :happy

It’s a wonder I survived my teenage years. But I did. I mended my wild ways, stayed married, graduated from the university; remained employed for +45 years, raised two loving children and secured a good retirement. I’m an old man now, but remembering those days brings back a flood of memories, mostly good, a few bad.

I think there was monkey in the movie, or maybe that was Planet Of The Apes; or.. who knows. Ha!
:beer Those were the days my friend! I was 4 years old when this movie came out, so I was tripping out in a different way. LOL. However, I related to your post because in my late teens early 20s we made several pilgrimages to the midnight show of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Kind of the same way you described.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by stemikger »

nisiprius wrote:
Jguild2120 wrote:I think there was monkey in the movie, or maybe that was Planet Of The Apes; or.. who knows. Ha!
There was much discussion at the time about which movie had "better" apes, Planet of the Apes (released February 8, 1968) or 2001, A Space Odyssey (April 2, 1968). Both of them had taken makeup to impressive new levels, both of them were convincing enough to allow you to "believe" in them as ape-men and not as actors in ape-man suits... and different enough that each of them revealed the problems in the other. As I recall the chat leaving the theatre was "Well, these apes were better but I liked the ones in Planet of the Apes more."

For me, the big problem was that real apes have more muscular strength in relation to their size than humans do and are more agile; and thus, no matter how simian in appearance, an actor always seems too slow and ponderous. In Wolfgang Köhler's studies of chimpanzees one of the minor difficulties he faced was that they would solve the problems he set for them in the "wrong" way--if the task was to pile boxes into a tower, they could make a completely unstable pile, climb up it, retrieve the banana, and climb down it again while it was in the process of falling down.
Like I said in another post I was 4 when the movie came out and I was pretty impressed with how much ahead of it's time it seemed. The ape costumes must have blown people away and the special effects were pretty amazing. Truthfully, I liked the special effects better than half the stuff that is out today. I'm really not a fan of CGI.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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I happened to catch 2001 recently, after not having seen it for, I don't know, at least 30 years probably.
I was really impressed at how well it held up, and how enjoyable it was. I think I appreciate now more than I did when younger the slow pacing and quietness of much of the movie. Especially in comparison to the usual short-attention-span style of movies these days.
The parts concerning Discovery with HAL and Bowman were particularly enjoyable and subtly done.

The philosophical musings about the nature of evolution and "progress" seem very rooted in the '60s: evolution is accompanied by murder (by the apes when their intelligence is developed or stimulated by the monolith, and by HAL9000 when its artificial intelligence is in turn developed by humans), for example. (Hmm, question that never occurred to me before: does this mean the Starchild will be inspired to murder too? Perhaps wipe out large parts of the earth it is so intently gazing upon?) But well done, and still thought-provoking today.

Keir Dullea spells out some of the thematic elements: http://vimeo.com/user4629961/camerathree2001
He notes that almost all of the dialogue is inane or insincere, except for the scene where Bowman and Poole are urgently discussing what to do with HAL. (Perhaps HAL's admitting to being scared as its memory circuits are being pulled is another one.)

Anyway, a wonderful film. I'd love to see it again on a large screen some time.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by saladdin »

A horrid film.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by bpp »

oldzey wrote:The ending is even groovier with Pink Floyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2uuRG9l1JA

Enjoy! :beer
Excellent!
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by leonidas »

While parts of it were visually stunning, overall it bored me to tears. That's 2 hours of my life I will never get back
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by stemikger »

bpp wrote:
oldzey wrote:The ending is even groovier with Pink Floyd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2uuRG9l1JA

Enjoy! :beer
Excellent!
+ 1 I missed this one! Very cool!
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by nisiprius »

leonidas wrote:While parts of it were visually stunning, overall it bored me to tears. That's 2 hours of my life I will never get back
2 hours, 40 minutes according to imdb. In fact it had an intermission. Since I've seen it about four times, in my case it would be 10 hours, 40 minutes I will never get back, and maybe one day I will make that 13 hours and 20 minutes.

Renata Adler's review in the New York Times when it opened is spot on:
The whole sensibility is intellectual fifties child...
And as an intellectual fifties child, I liked that.
The movie is so completely absorbed in its own problems, its use of color and space, its fanatical devotion to science-fiction detail, that it is somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring. (With intermission, it is three hours long.) Kubrick seems as occupied with the best use of the outer edge of the screen as any painter, and he is particularly fond of simultaneous rotations, revolving, and straight forward motions—the visual equivalent of rubbing the stomach and patting the head.
Yes.
By the end, three unreconciled plot lines—the slabs, Dullea's aging, the period bedroom—are simply left there like a Rorschach, with murky implications of theology.
Yes. Although I would add "the light show" to that list. The light show was absolutely wonderful and really, basically unexplained. In the book he goes through some malarkey about the three dimensions being a sequence of squares (1, 9, 16) being a clue that the sequence must continue and it must have a fourth dimension... but that doesn't explain why traveling through the fourth dimension would look like a Berkeley After Dark screensaver. (My God! It's full of flying toasters!) Actually if I had to come up with a referent, I'd say the light show resembles either the experience of going under old-school anesthesia (ether or nitrous oxide).

It makes just as much sense to me to say that poor Bowman is killed in a collision with the slab, experiences a "tunnel of light" and a brief period in an afterlife, then personal reincarnation and rebirth... as to say it is about something happening to the human race. But, really--it makes as much sense as asking what happens in the final episode of "The Sopranos" when the screen simply goes black.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by bpp »

nisiprius wrote:Renata Adler's review in the New York Times when it opened is spot on:
The whole sensibility is intellectual fifties child...
And as an intellectual fifties child, I liked that.
There do seem to be some echoes of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and of course The Sentinel was published in the 1950s...
Though when I think of canonical 1950s, I think of Forbidden Planet (another of my all-time favorites, as is The Day the Earth Stood Still for that matter).

And 2001 fed forward to the '70s: realistic, non-aerodynamic spacecraft in Star Wars and Alien -- with extra layers of grime added in those cases.
And the wireframe piloting screen graphics in both of them seem borrowed from 2001.

Psychological man-machine elements would get picked up again in the 1980s: Bladerunner?

In the end, it's all a continuum, with much thematic and stylistic cross-fertilization. But 2001 seems a stand-out contribution to the genre.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

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Thanks for my memory revival. I loved it when it came out. I saw it twice in successive days. I found it fascinating and I wanted to find the message. Did I? I did, and it involved the creation of man, our development, and then a rebirth perhaps to a better future. My derived meaning was a guess, of course, and everyone probably had their own. I have seen it several times since then, including early this year on cable. It remains one of my favorites....Hal included.
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Re: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 a space odyssey

Post by Fallible »

bpp wrote:
nisiprius wrote:Renata Adler's review in the New York Times when it opened is spot on:
The whole sensibility is intellectual fifties child...
And as an intellectual fifties child, I liked that.
There do seem to be some echoes of The Day the Earth Stood Still...
I don't quite see the "echoes." Going by sensibilities alone, I don't sense any similarities between "Earth" and "2001." Most of my growing-up years were in the '50s, when I first saw "Earth," and while I can understand Adler's "intellectual fifties child," I never sensed it in "2001," which I first saw shortly after it came out and have seen at least one other time since. "Earth" was in black and white for perfect atmosphere and with a solid script, excellent casting (especially the sort of other-wordly-looking Rennie, Neal, and Jaffe), easily understood and believable, likeable characters (including Gort) and relatively clear message. Then again, I am not that knowledgeable about science fiction and am probably missing something or other here.
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