Monday, May 28, 2012
3 of 1001 Movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick directs this film that is set in space, and takes an interesting look at human life while at it. After astronauts are sent on a mission to look into the mysterious appearance of monoliths appearing in the universe, they find themselves also battling their ship's computer, HAL-9000. David and Frank are in a fight to save their mission to Jupiter.
To go ahead an put it out there, I'm not much of a space fan of any sort. Whether it is books, or movies the plots just tend to depress me, and this one doesn't fail at that. Considering the fact it won 4 Academy Awards, and was recognized for it's special effects it's difficult not to be intrigued by it though.
Yes, the plot isn't the most chirpy of stories, but it is interesting. The huge downside is that it takes an hour to actually get to the point of the plot. I thought the monoliths could have been very easily summed up in a quicker time span. I'm not even sure what the point of seeing twenty minutes of monkeys hanging out was before the appearance of the first monolith. I'm sure it looked very cool to see the monkeys hanging out in the 60s when these things were just beginning to appear on screen, but it's essentially useless to the plot. After about an hour though we finally arrive to David and Frank who are aboard a ship ran by HAL-9000. The thing is we first go into an intermission before the movie gets off the ground. So take your bathroom break, and get a snack because you might not want to leave the screen after the movie gets back from break.
During the second half of the movie we finally get some ground. The computer goes crazy, as you would expect, but for a good reason. From here on out we get a very odd progression of things. The movie goes from a film heavily about space to one oddly about a human's journey in life. Actually, I'll just go ahead and say the last few minutes made no sense to me. It's also very difficult for me to gauge the acting. It wasn't bad at all, but this movie remains in silence most the time, and we don't get much interaction with the characters I thought. David is the only one we really grow with, but he doesn't spend much time on screen for me to really feel anything about him or his fate. It has a very memorable soundtrack though that feels in about 10 minutes of space time a piece.
I assume this movie had to be one of the first of it's kind. Space exploration was taking a whole new turn in the 60s, and I can only imagine the curiosity that was being fed to the viewers with a film like this. The special effects are not cheesy at all like most modern viewers seem to assume about older movies. I thin the director gauged the limit of the technology he had very well, so he never tried to do what he knew would look outdated one day in the future, except for expectedly the computers, but you can't fault someone for that. I thought what was absolutely brilliant was the webcam usage in this movie before webcams were really even used!
Not shockingly this film received mixed reactions when it was released. I personally have mixed feelings myself about it still. I can definitely see the significance of the film, but there are so many ways you could see a tighter plot put together. This didn't hurt it though as it became the highest grossing film of 1968.
Rating 3 of 5.