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comment by mknod
mknod  ·  2746 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 2001: A Space Odyssey - Discussion Thread.

So I am a huge fan of 2001.

Here is the poster my wife gave me from a 1971 release of the film. Which hangs in my office and watches over me.

To me, 2001, more than almost any other movie, represents the absolute pinnacle in pre-digital movie making. More than just special effects, but accurate representations of scientific phenomenon, philosophical queries and humanity.

2001 has many theories about separate meanings of the imagery and plot. Some involve things as obvious as "Mankinds survival or exploration" and others a bit more subtle "Kubrick made the movie to fake the moon landings".

What I get from the movie the most though, is at a fundamental level, the question of adaptation.

If I were to put it into a question form "Why are humans (apes) the only animal we know of that has adapted to their environment through the use of tools?"

2001 uses human tools throughout the film not only to display the great ingenuity by humankind, but also a great arrogance. The entire movie speaks to me as a series of questions. "Why are we here? What brought us? Where are we going? Should we go? Can we go back?" If you watch the movie you see the connections of each tool that is used in every act, from the bones the apes smashed, to HAL, to the eventual Infinite. These tools both serve us and cause us pain. They are both positive and negative aspects and they have done nothing short of give us longer life spans, ease of living, and caused great destruction to our own.

The photography in the film is absolutely stunning as per usual Kubrick. I wont even go into it because if you don't think the movie is a beautiful moving painting you aren't going to like it in the first place. It's stunning how he put so much into the frame that we still talk about the movie.

The music and sound of the movie plays a huge roll in making the viewer either comfortable or very distraught, depending on the scene. The "locusts" sound when the monolith appears gives it a great amount of fearful, yet intriguing mystery. How the hell does that work? How can a sound so simple as "bzzzzzz" make you feel so uncomfortable?

Everyone has theories about this movie, and everyone gets to have a theory because Kubrick was so famously and purposefully opaque about the meaning behind his works. I love hearing all of them, even if I can't buy them.

This movie, to me, marks a significant shift in scifi. It makes you take science fiction seriously.

I want to know if this was your first Kubrick film, would you watch another?

havires  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It was my first one as an adult, and I don't regret that decision. So much so I went on to read the book, what did you think of that? The next one I had watched as a nostalgia trip from watching it as a younger man, was The v Shining. After that I decided to watch Dr. Strangelove... That was... Different.

mknod  ·  2738 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I actually have never read the book all the way through SHOCKING I know. I just can't ever get over "Childhood's End" which made me feel cheap at the end because it was not "wrapped up" to my satisfaction. I guess I should read it. OKAY FINE havires I WILL READ IT GEEZ.

Dr. Strangelove is an odd one for me, because I actually DID read the book it's based on "Red Alert" before I had even heard of the film. The book is a very serious take on war while the movie is much more comedic.

I would also suggest "Full Metal Jacket" and "Paths of Glory". Actually just watch them all (am I coming off as a Kubrick fan boy? I can't believe how many military movies I've actually watched now that I think about it)

iammyownrushmore  ·  2746 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ooh I'll bite!

    It makes you take science fiction seriously.

I think people have taken sci-fi seriously for a while, but I think the framing of allegories as to what the future means for each generation has changed. Sci-fi is about the future insomuch as it is a cursory, transient container for moral utopian (or dystopian, post-modern non-topias, pick your continental poison) tales based upon incarnations of technology and man's interaction with them.

    If I were to put it into a question form "Why are humans (apes) the only animal we know of that has adapted to their environment through the use of tools?

I like this, but even further, I think there's commentary upon the relationship we have developed with them. All of our tools, from a hammer that fits neatly into your palm, to an AI that speaks English at a tempo your brain can accommodate, are all in our image. Or some simulation of. I think more so it calls upon the essential difference between the motivations of our creations and of us, what happens when a hammer simply hammers without a human hand to guide it? We use them to achieve things, make progress, etc., but a hammer is always quintessentially a hammer, and an AI goes forth with the solemn commandment of "carry out orders". (which, of course, the humans in the film never sway from, either)

technology is constantly failing in Kubrick's universe, whether the gun used in the duel in Barry Lyndon or damn near everything in Dr. Strangelove, and we march forward, trusting our creations, regardless.

The subtlety of this question and it's answer is found in the few times when Kubrick allows the frayed threads of humanity stretch out. This non-uniformity, even though it is encapsulated by arrogance and founded on violence, is it's saving grace.

Saved for what? Where forward is? who the hell knows, we don't have such a convenient plot device for a civilization as the monolith to steer us, but we worship a silent, overbearing "progress" anyway. We've transformed clay into pots, steel into weapons, so need to take an active place in guiding the sculpting of our future selves, now.

I think the only thing we can find Kubrick prodding us with is simply, take a look at what and how we worship, what have we built civilization upon? Where should we go, if those things have brought us here?

    I want to know if this was your first Kubrick film, would you watch another?

ain't my first rodeo, can you help me convince everyone we should watch Barry Lyndon?

mknod  ·  2746 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'll agree with your assessment about the framing of allegory (which kleinbl00 happily connected to the modern day fable).

I'm quite surprised that you chose Metropolis as a movie where people started taking science fiction seriously. What I mean by that is that pre-2001 we had a couple of so called "serious" sci-fi films and a multitude of "This Island Earth" type of films. Post-2001 filmmakers seemed to take the genre much more seriously. I'll give Metropolis a lot of credit anyway because it still holds up and has all of the aforementioned "fable" elements. I've now seen it with several different scores, including an (electronic music score which was my favorite) and it still gives me chills. So maybe I'm not giving sci-fi enough credit, but intuitively, it does seem like there is a bit of a change in tone post 2001! I've often thought that Voltaire was the first sci fi writer with Micromegas.

    All of our tools, from a hammer that fits neatly into your palm, to an AI that speaks English at a tempo your brain can accommodate, are all in our image.

Yes! and also get out of my brain! Even our computer languages are designed in a way that WE can relate to (which of course is because it makes them easier to use). The whole thing seems like a great argument for "Man created god, then god created man" type ideas.

    Where should we go, if those things have brought us here?

Seriously I need to get some tin foil.

I think we can convince everyone they should watch Barry Lyndon just as soon as soon as Gilliam finishes Napoleon! But seriously, Lyndon should be on the movie list as it is a great example of how you can use the opposite of an idea (I'm thinking of the Hero's Journey) and still have compelling characters.

kleinbl00  ·  2746 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You know, most armchair scholars of science fiction point to Star Wars in 1976 as the point where people stopped paying attention to science fiction, not 1968 as the point where it started. I mean, Logan's Run and Star Wars are separated by 18 months - and while Logan's Run is corny and dated, it's also an allegorical exploration of big ideas. Star Wars is a samurai film with bitchin' special effects.

I tried to draw up a timeline, but you're right - there were some shite '60s sci fi. There were some great ones, though - Time Machine, Alphaville, Fahrenheit 451. If you take a look at '68, yeah, you've got 2001... but you've also got Charly. And, well, Barbarella. So I think it's more fair to say it's the start of a trend.

Speaking of Logan's Run - you know the head nun in Call the Midwife?


Kaius  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wait... Call the midwife is big in the states?! Big as in you have heard of it. Next you'll be telling me you watch "Corrie".

kleinbl00  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Big among a certain segment. As my wife is a midwife, I'm in that segment whether I like it or not.

Kaius  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yea, my wife made me watch it too.

kleinbl00  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Could be worse. I dated a girl who made me watch this piece of shit every week.

Kaius  ·  2741 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Apart from the obvious eye-candy it looks pretty bad, my condolences. Right now im stuck watching the latest in a long long line of Jamie Oliver cooking shows, there's only so many times you can watch a man boiling pasta before it becomes excruciating.