Sunday, 19 October 2014

Film Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Fig.1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Movie Poster

Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) is an unbelievable, mind bending experience. It will leave you with more questions than answers as it aims to leave an impact on you once the credits start rolling. It's long scenes of classical music, that we have come to hear in many films and tv shows, leave you speechless with little understanding of what is happening on screen. Kubrick wants to leave you waiting for something to happen and leave you waiting he does. This can be backed up by Roger Ebert who says in his review "He reduces each scene to its essence, and leaves it on screen long enough for us to contemplate it, to inhabit it in our imaginations" (Ebert,1997)

Fig. 2 Monkey and bones

The film confuses you from it's very opening scene - "The Dawn of Man". It is a long scene showing a group of Monkeys in an empty desert. A black rectangle, that is later known as "The Monolith" appears amongst them when they awake, and as the music gets louder and louder, the monkeys continue to approach it. It then goes onto show you a monkey smashing some kind of animal's skeleton with a bomb. This whole introduction is very strange and you sit there asking "Why is this being shown?" A question you may still be asking at the end. It is therefore an incredible way to get you into the film as you're already wondering what's going on and you continue watching hoping to find out.

Fig.3 Monolith on the Moon

As the film progresses, so does it's special effects. The audience is left in pure amazement as they watch the breathtaking trips through space or the brilliant camera work that Kubrick uses. Kubrick uses perspective a lot in the film, especially one point perspective. We see a series of corridors all use one point perspective shots and it makes the film feel very consistent. There is no stopping with the craziness of the film as we suddenly lose one of the main characters, Dr. Heywood R. Floyd. Our last glimpse of him was of him holding his ears after going to Monolith on the Moon that seemed to give off an incredibly high pitched tone. We are then introduced to a whole new story, basically. We are taken into some weird spaceship, where two astronauts, David (Dave) Bowman and Frank Poole, are left to run it while the rest of the crew hypersleep, however they are also accompanied by super computer "HAL - 9000", but all isn't as it seems. Almar Haflidason, when talking about this scene said "The introduction of Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood as astronauts on a mission to Jupiter finally gives some narrative to the film." (Haflidason, 2001) The interior of the spaceship reflect what people believed the future to look like and it's wonderful being able to see the things that they got right and the things they got wrong. 

Fig.4 End Scene

The final scenes of the film are still unsolved today, as no one quite knows what is going on. We are left to consume a host of amazing colours and patterns, as the shot occassionally goes back to Dave, but just for a short moment. This scene goes on for some time and makes you feel "tripped out". It is argued that the scene represents the use of LSD in the 1960s and Kubrick wanted to highlight that in the film. The scene concludes, but we become even more confused when we end up in some kind of house that has the furniture of a higher class family, but the walls of a space station. The Monolith stands in the middle of the room as it watches over the elderly Dave in his bed and then the film comes to a conclusion. The questions then begin to be asked. Although, some may feel that the scenes of colour or music are dragged out, they do create a slight feeling of tension as they make you aware that something is about to happen. Renata Adler said in their review that " its use of color and space, its fanatical devotion to science-fiction detail, that it is somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring. "(Adler, 1968) This therefore means that you'll either love or hate the scenes of tension.

Ebert, Roger (1997) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Revew- (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Adler, Renata (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Review- (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Haflidason, Almar (2001) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Review- (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Illustration List:
Fig.1 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Movie Poster - (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Fig. 2 Monkey and bones - (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Fig. 3 Monolith on the Moon - (Accessed 19/10/2014)

Fig. 4 End Scene - (Accessed 19/10/2014)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dan,

    Great! A well thought through review - and you have remembered to italicise the quotes, so that's good! Just check now which bits of your bibliography need to be italicised...