Alright. So here I am going to review a movie that is quite famous but also reasonably obscure.
It is one of those movies that you either love or hate. Anyways, I am talking about Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has been touted by many as the greatest science fiction motion picture of all time.
And in many ways I am inclined to agree, but if you have seen the movie and hate it, don't pick up rotten fruit and hurl it at me just yet. I will explain my reasons. Also, I consider 2001 to be the prime example of "classical" science fiction, not necessarily trumping Star Wars, because Star Wars is a genre in its own right.
In short, my summary of 2001 is that it is a beautifully artistic and unique film, that is if you skip the beginning and the end. Which is a very rare thing to say about any movie.
But enough beating around the bush. Let's get to talking about the movie already.
And by the way, this is going to have spoilers.
Okay so the movie starts out at the "dawn of man" which translates as a film version of the first pages of an evolution textbook. Besides the obvious flaw of this unbiblical and silly (not to mention false) premise, is the fact that watching a bunch of people dressed as apes and discovering crude technological advances is pretty boring when you popped the disc in to watch a sleek sci-fi film.
So skip the beginning. You're not missing anything. It's also the most violent part of the movie with the people (dressed as apes) clubbing each other to death with a animal bone. Just saying.
So after the "shocking" jump cut (which isn't shocking because I read the back of the box which said the jump cut was shocking or stunning or whatever) you find yourself landed in 2001.
In outer space.
Since I'm writing this in 2017, I guess you could say I'm sorely disappointed in terms of where we're at technologically (except for drones and Tesla cars), but that is beside the point.
In my opinion, this is where the movie truly starts. The music is what is now my favorite classical piece (simply because of this movie) The Blue Danube by Strauss. One thing I love about 2001 that it truly feels futuristic. It feels futuristic even today (because as I referenced before I'm disappointed) and even the "olden days" view of the future is well, still extremely futuristic. The space craft and decor and everything look 60s/70s inspired but they still have a futuristic edge to them.
On the other side of the coin, however, what becomes immediately apparent is the fact that this movie is slow. Like, REALLY slow. And that is basically because everything happens in real time.
If a "normal" movie depicted an aircraft taking off at an airport, typically you will see the passengers getting checked in, jumping on the plane, and then the next shot will be the airplane zooming off in a really cliche shot.
In this part of 2001 you watch a spaceliner coming in to land in a space station and it happens just as slow as it would in real life. So either you'll appreciate the realism, or you'll be bored to tears and find something to throw. It's a matter of taste.
Also, back in the day (1968) computer generated images weren't being used widely (if at all, I really don't know) in movies. You still had real sets, and the space scenes were done using paintings and scale models.
I know very little of how this movie was filmed, but I know they weren't using highly sophisticated computerized images and models. And I must say that I find these techniques more convincing in some ways then more modern filmmaking practices.
But computer technology is getting better and better. However, I still love the look and odd realism of the classic miniatures and painted backgrounds and whatever that stuff is (even though I have no idea what I'm talking about).
I'm not going to talk much about the plot and how the movie essentially progress from beyond this point, and this is pretty fitting, because instead of being a story, 2001 is much more of a auditory and visual experience to me, more artistic rather than a flesh-and-bones plot and story.
Like I said, the realism is unusual, and part of what makes it so unique. Instead of roaring engines and laser sounds, sequences in space do not have any sound other than the actual soundtrack or what you would actually hear in a vacuum (for example, the breathing in your helmet during a spacewalk).
The way the film deals with zero gravity is also novel. Instead of easily explaining it away with a "counter-gravity" device, it would seem that the filmmakers actually looked at how to deal with the problem of floating around while trying to do things from the perspective of an inventor or engineer. With "grip-shoes". It's pretty weird and dorky, but it is clever.
I also love that they make note of how there really isn't "up" or "down" in a zero-gravity environment, and the spaceships and rooms are designed using this principle to an advantage. There are also some pretty interesting shots featuring this, and it is more impressive when you keep in mind it is a 1968 film.
I also really like the design of the movie. The interior designs definitely have a period flair, but as I said before, they look futuristic. Because really, the 60s and 70s did have a considerably futuristic design look even in real life.
The spaceships are not incredibly mind-blowing or anything, but are still pretty cool.
I definitely like the space suit designs, with their helmets, and the ribbed exterior of the suits. I especially like the brightly colored ones rather than the silver.
The everyday clothing would probably be the most unfuturistic design work of the movie, looking basically like 1960/70s clothing made to look a little more futuristic with minor adjustments.
But fashion is very hard to predict, so it's no wonder.
The way the film is shot is also great, with interesting and creative angles.
Content-wise The film is pretty clean, just the "H" and "D" word I think, plopped into a few conversations, but other than that the only other problem would be the paganistic view of humankind (the evolution and the end) as God is never pointed to as the source from which all things are created, nor as the destiny of humankind in the sense that we were created in His image to glorify Him, and how man will either spend eternity in heaven or hell based on whether they commit to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Sorry, Mr. Kubrick, it's not human destiny to become a gigantic baby floating in space. Not to mention that must be as boring as staring at a brick wall.
And in terms of violence, the "ape people" at the beginning beat each other up with murderous intent and results in the beginning, and later an astronaut has his oxygen lines cut during a spacewalk by the evil robot HAL, who also shuts down the power on homeostasis pods and kills astronauts in hibernation.
And one of the male astronauts is shown getting a tan with no shirt and just boxer shorts on (might make some of the girls faint or whatever, I don't know, just want to cover all the bases). And overall, the whole film may just creep you out. I personally wouldn't recommend to kids younger than 13 or 14. Creepy movies can creep you out when you're young. Trust me. I know. Go figure.
But overall, it would be one of may favorite all-time movies. But I do like normal movies. I promise. Don't unfollow my blog. Please.
"I'm afraid I can't do that Dave". "I'm going...".