Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick

I decided to write this review absolutely spontaneously. My friend recommended to watch it although the way how he described and understood it was absolutely wrong. It is not an easy movie to watch, but somehow it kept my mouth opened. I thought that it is a movie made in 2001, but later I had to read it on the internet to believe that it was made in 1968 and it was just about futuristic 2001. The director of the movie Stanley Kubrick have done incredible work right even before the first Apollo 11 journey to the moon. This review is based on the story explanations in, C. Clarces merits in the movie from "read with style" blog


The movie is pretty much about evolution. It tells a story by making huge jumps from prehistoric "apemen" four million years to the future when humanity is right about to change again. It is divided in the chapters: The Dawn of Man, Jupiter Mission, 18 Months Later, Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite. Fist two are pretty easy to read, but the end is very surreal. It is not without a reason, although Kubrick showed extremely well how could look futuristic 2001 spaceship life, even our generation can hardly imagine what could be coming next. It is absolutely different from today's Science Fiction perspective - much more interesting. Depending from director's great predictions of how today's spaceships should look like it is possible to believe in his surreal visions of even further future. There was given interesting idea of what could attempt to stop our evolution. During the Jupiter mission antagonist computer HAL attempted to get rid of the people since he thought that they might get the mission failed. There is some sort of duel between humanity and machines - who is going to discover the new life form and step further? Second chapter ends with human victory and in the end main character David Bowman is reborn as a superhuman embryo and is taken back to his motherland earth. The idea is that people have to trust in their own powers and will more in order to evolve. To understand the ending I've red the story in It was said there that The last lines of the book echo: "Then he waited, marshalling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something." ( date of publishing unknown) As it was said in the name of the chapter - Bowman reaches his infinity and can do whatever he wants. In some way everything loses it's worth when you dont even have to try to get something, it is almost like death and becoming into something peaceful and powerful like angel.


The second thing is the style. Cold colour palette and silence sounds depicts the mood. Kubric wasn't the only one who initiated the whole ambience to the movie. "2001 A Space Odyssey is the result of a collaboration between two great minds - the mind of the science-fiction writer C. Clarke and the mind of the director Stanley Kubrick." (Read With Style, Monday, 21 February 2011) (The novel was actually published after the movie screening). Mostly everything in the movie was hand made or improvised and experimented with simple light effects. It is just mind blowing because it easily hits most of the CG science fiction movies to the bottom of the deepest and darkest hole. The reason why it might be hard to understand the surreal part is that even the superhuman is shown with so much esthetics and beauty while in today's movies you expect to see clearly muscular and hyperbolic macho version of a human. It might be also hard to read the visions of lights and the scene when character starts to age very quickly. Those are also more symbolic struggles of life, reaching for the goal and stepping into another world.


This movie just makes you to think at least a little bit about your mentality, point  and value of existence, maybe death. Better then anywhere else it is said about it: "Only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer or a vast belittling landscape...Alone among science-fiction movies, 2001 is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our awe." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, March 27, 1997.


Filmsite link
Read with style


  1. Dom! I just LOVE that you felt compelled to review this movie - with f**king quotes and a (sort of) bibliography. You've made an old man very happy tonight!

  2. Yes, it's like a warm up. :DD I'm glad that I've done it anyway.

  3. Book is great too. The film and book are intended to viewed and read together.

    I also kind of like the often forgotten sequel film, 2010. Its a more traditional Hollywood sci-fi film. No where near as good as 2001 of course, but still a worthy film.

  4. Thanks for the advice, Tom. I'll definitely watch it sooner or later.

  5. The film is quite epic with a live orchestra too Dom, if they put that on in Southbank as they say they will, see if you can get tickets for that. It gave me goosebumps :)