Quick recap: A group of scientists find a monolith buried on the moon and set off toward Jupiter in order to learn more about who might have placed it there. Oh, and there’s a crazy computer that wreaks havoc.
Fun (?) fact: Conspiracy theorists (AKA nutjobs) claim that 2001: A Space Odyssey being released so closely to the moon landing is not a coincidence. They (the nutjobs) think that Kubrick directed the landing and used leftover props from his movie.
My thoughts: As I have come to learn with Kubrick films, they are infinitely more enjoyable on the big screen. I had the opportunity to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Drafthouse and it was every bit as awe inspiring as I expected it to be. The Drafthouse played the entire thing-from overture, to intermission, to ending credits so that we, the audience, would have the full effect of the movie. It is a classic for sure, and yet I have no idea what the hell it is all about.
In writing that, though, I am fulfilling what Kubrick wanted. He said in interviews that he never meant ambiguity but he also said that he doesn’t expect anyone to fully ‘get’ it because it is open to interpretation. As pretentious as that sounds, I like that idea. My personal belief is that the movie is about evolution and the monolith represents the next step. Maybe it was set up by aliens? I don’t know. When Dave passes through all the light and ends up in the neoclassical room, I think it’s because he has seen the inside of the monolith, evidently all of time and space. As he progresses in age and finally back to fetus, he represents the ‘birth’ of a new age for Earth, something even more exciting to come. I have no idea if I am right and I don’t really care because that’s just not the point.
A guy next to me evidently hated the whole movie and when he left, scoffed and said that Star Wars was much better, in terms of special effects. I didn’t punch him, although I don’t think anyone would have stopped me. Aside from that guy (who also called the ‘intermission’, the ‘intervention’), I think most people would agree how amazing the whole movie looked. It’s so hard to believe it was shot in the ’60s and I was most impressed by how realistic space travel was portrayed. This is a very visual movie, which sounds redundant, but it’s not. There is very little dialogue throughout the whole thing, but there is so much too look at. It’s almost too much at times and I can see why so many people devote their lives to trying and figuring out all the symbolism.
The main reason the Drafthouse showed 2001: A Space Odyssey was because it is part of their ‘soundtrack’ series, which showcases movies with great soundtracks. So it’s a no brainer to include this film. Every note was put in place perfectly and set the mood for each scene in a way no other film I have seen does. The music heard when the monolith is first seen on the moon is terrifying and for good reason. It sounded like angry bee people or something and I actually felt an uneasiness throughout the entire scene. What also impressed me was how the absence of sound or music could be as equally terrifying. When HAL cuts the oxygen cord from the astronaut and sends him hurtling into space, that scene scared me as much as any other scene in a horror movie could have done.
Final review: 5/5. Go see it if you haven’t yet, but only watch it if you have chance to see it in a theater. I don’t see how a television could do it justice.
Up next: Fantastic Planet