Friday, December 23, 2011

My Take :2001 a Space Odyssey

            Last night while Kicking back on a friends couch which now is my custom . We decided to view Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey. The director  is known for his slow method of working and for using innovative filming techniques . Such as in  2001 where nine years before Star Wars Kubrick used "traveling matte photography " to film the space scenes .  On to the film.
      2001 is a spartan film with little dialogue , long panoramic views and little in the way of narrative.The film can be viewed in three parts. These are .
  1. The dawn of man
  2.  Jupiter Mission
  3. Beyond the Infinite

          Lets start with the Dawn of Man . I could get into the religious issues here. Truly , I was not allowed to watch this film nor was I allowed to read the books due the topic of evolution that is covered here , also the Idea that there is other life in the universe . So we will stay away from all that and just say..this is a work of fiction. It acknowledges that it is fiction and does not in any way try to present itself as truth. Nuff said.
     The dawn of man opens with a tribe of early man . Apes really . They are starving and eating plants and getting into shouting matches with neighboring tribes over  what little water they have.  Then one day a monolith appears near thier little cave . They show fear, curiosity, anger ,then courage . They touch the monolith . Sometime later one of the apes is standing on top of a pig skeleton , which litters the landscape and picks up a bone. He slowly figures out that he can beat the holy hell out of everything near him with it. and soon literates the rest of the tribe to this and they are soon in control of the water and eating a seemingly endless supply of meat .That was the point . The monolith apparently set down by an advanced civilization to give other life forms an evolutionary push. In the novel written by Aurthur C. Clarke this is explained n full and the evolutionary steps of the people who own the monolith are explained in greater detail. The monolith is seemingly some sort of sentient machine. Another monolith is found . On the moon. Man yet again touches it. Then takes pictures. This time the monolith emits some sort of angry sounding signal . What the great evolutionary step this inspires is not explained.Other than to say the signal is on it's way to the Jovian system.
    Jupiter mission  is the voyage of the "Discovery" . In this segment the Discovery enters the Jovian system and we get a glimpse into the lives of Frank Poole and David Bowman . They are kept company by the Hal 9000 computer .  Hal tells Dave that the communication array is damaged so Poole goes to repair it.   Poole's pod under the control of Hall severs the O2 hose of  Poole's suit and sets him adrift. Dave ,unaware if Hals treachery goes out in another pod and retrieves Poole's body but is denied entry into the Discovery. Setting Poole adrift (not to be seen again till 3001) Dave gains entry into the ship and disables Hal by removing his memory with a screwdriver. Hal protesting all the while. Then the Discovery encounters another monolith . Which Dave decides to visit, even though he is the only human for millions of miles.
     The last segment is called "Jupiter and beyond the infinite" in this segment we see Dave visit the monolith and (in the book ) exclaim "My God, it's full of stars" . This quote is not in the movie. What we see in the movie is Dave traveling through a "Star Gate " of psychedelic effects interspersed with still photos of Dave in different stages of fear and terror . Once this 20 min ride is done .Dave is seen twitching with his mind whole blown. in a Louie XVI style bedroom in which he sees himself as an older man ,formally dressed eating dinner and then as a very old man dying on his bed. As he sees each of these versions ,his perspective then changes to that version . As an old man he sees a monolith at the foot of the bed ,watching him. As he tries to touch it he is transformed into a fetus encased in a globe of light and is seen watching the earth.     
      The meaning of all of these things is clear when reading Clarke's novel. However not so much when viewed as the movie ,without the novel the movie becomes a surreal mind trip only with the novel does the story take on a sold structure and make more sense. Either way this movie is worth a Nth viewing. It is followed by the film "2010 the Year Me Make Contact."  and the book is followed by 2010,2061 and 3001 . Much has been made of interpreting the film . The soundtrack with "Atmospheres" by Ligeti being the most poignant to my mind and used for each monolith appearance as well as the music to end the intermission . There are many instances of symbolism and all are open to interpretation, from the floating Pen vs the Bone to spaceship bit , to the Man discovers tools to Hal running amok as man looses control of his tools . And on and on . Do a web search and read these things for your self . There are too many to count . Epic is word i would use. Enjoy!

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