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2001: A Space Odyssey


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#1 Overstreet

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:26 PM

We don't have a 2001 thread?

Well, let's fix that.

Kubrick Explains 2001

This has prompted me to repost the thoughts I jotted down on the occasion of its 2001 rerelease.

Edited by Overstreet, 18 November 2010 - 01:47 PM.


#2 Tyler

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:01 PM

That summary is explained in more detail if you read Clarke's other three books in the series--2010, 2061, and 3001. I don't necessarily recommend doing that, but they're there. It's similar to how the sequels to Rendevzous with Rama kind of ruined that series by explaining everything that was mysterious in the first book.

#3 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:21 PM

Link to our thread on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) from a few message boards ago. It includes a link to the Kubrick archive that Kottke links to.

#4 NBooth

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:23 PM

I only managed to listen to an abridged version of 3001, but it was enough to convince me that, as far as I was concerned, the sequels never happened (and that Clarke's distant future was one in which no sane person would really want to live, but that's another kettle of fish). I've happily gone without seeing the movie sequel as well. 2001 works very well without trying to give details, thankee very much. :)

Edited by NBooth, 18 November 2010 - 03:24 PM.


#5 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:23 PM

Tyler wrote:
: That summary is explained in more detail if you read Clarke's other three books in the series--2010, 2061, and 3001.

FWIW, I'm not so sure that Clarke "explained" the film as much as he offered an alternative interpretation of it.

#6 NBooth

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:25 PM

Didn't Clarke go so far as to say that every book took place in a slightly altered universe (to handwave inconsistencies like Saturn in the first book becoming Jupiter in the following novels, etc etc etc)? That tactic makes ignoring subsequent books that much easier, imho.

EDIT: Yes, he did.

Just as 2010: Odyssey Two was not a direct sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book is not a linear sequel to 2010. They must all be considered as variations on the same theme, involving many of the same characters and situations, but not necessarily happening in the same universe.

Developments since 1964 ... make total consistency impossible, as the later stories incorporate discoveries and events that had not even taken place when the earlier books were written.


Edited by NBooth, 18 November 2010 - 03:30 PM.


#7 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:44 PM

Sorry, I meant that Clarke's novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey was, itself, an alternate interpretation of the film. Kubrick was the ultimate author/auteur of the film, not Clarke.

But yes, Clarke was constantly revising continuity in his sequels (and not just because of scientific/technical developments), too.

#8 NBooth

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:12 PM

Sorry, I meant that Clarke's novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey was, itself, an alternate interpretation of the film. Kubrick was the ultimate author/auteur of the film, not Clarke.

But yes, Clarke was constantly revising continuity in his sequels (and not just because of scientific/technical developments), too.


Right. I get you. In my mind, the novelization and the movie are pretty closely tied--probably because I read the one within a short time of watching the other. Or something like that. Clarke does go into more details on the monolith-builders than Kubrick does, and not necessarily to the story's benefit (although his interpretation does chart pretty closely with the one Kubrick offers in the link above, iirc).

Edited by NBooth, 18 November 2010 - 04:16 PM.


#9 Darren H

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:55 PM

Wow, that link brings back memories. My first online film discussions took place in the mid-'90s in the alt.movies.kubrick newsgroup, out of which grew The Kubrick Site.

I always include 2001 on my list of all-time favorite films, but I don't think I've ever written a word about it. Seeing it in 70mm on the massive screen at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC a few years ago was among my best cinema-going experiences ever. It really is a different film when it's seen in that format.

#10 Ryan H.

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:24 PM

I always include 2001 on my list of all-time favorite films, but I don't think I've ever written a word about it. Seeing it in 70mm on the massive screen at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC a few years ago was among my best cinema-going experiences ever. It really is a different film when it's seen in that format.

Oh, absolutely. I first saw 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY during a televised broadcast at age nine or so. I didn't "get" it, but its imagery and haunting sequences stayed with me (particularly the death of HAL). I ended up seeing it again and again over the years, never completely in love with it, but appreciating it more and more. By the time I got into college, it was one of my favorite movies; I'd grown to love its vocabulary. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY offers immense ideas expressed immensely.

This past year, I saw it on the big screen, a birthday present from my wife. And this was the big screen, not just some theater with a moderately big screen. This screen filled my entire field of vision. It was like seeing it for the first time; honestly, I've never had a theatrical experience that can rival it. I was speechless and awed at every turn, swallowed up by the enormity of the film's visuals. Has a film ever captured the scale of outer space like Kubrick's 2001?

Regarding Clarke's novel and subsequent sequels, I don't put much stock in them. The film stands best on its own, a kind of enigmatic, grand bit of contemporary myth told primarily through visual and sound. Clarke is not a master of the written page in the way that Kubrick is a master of cinema.

#11 Overstreet

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:42 PM

Yeah, 2001 at Seattle's Cinerama was awe-inspiring. Only my Cinerama viewing of Apocalypse Now Redux comes close to it in terms of my most immersive cinematic experiences.

#12 Nathaniel

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 07:29 PM

It's hard not to feel a genuine sense of awe when you watch 2001 in 70mm. I saw it when it played at the Aero Theatre to a full house a few years ago, and the frame was so wide that during the Blue Danube docking sequence one could actually see the edge of a spaceship hanging out at the righthand corner of the frame before continuing its intended path. This "mistake" would clearly not have been detectable if the film had played on television.

#13 Christian

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:53 PM

My appreciation for the film grew by going in the other direction: I saw the last 30 or 40 minutes of the film again about a year ago on TV (letterboxed) and could not stop watching it. I've never "gotten" the ending in my previous viewings, which were years ago -- the Kubrick quote helps, seems obvious yet incomplete -- but it was spellbinding even on a small screen.

Edited by Christian, 18 November 2010 - 09:53 PM.


#14 M. Leary

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 12:44 PM

"spellbinding even on a small screen..."

It is the greatest conversion experience caught on film. Too bad it is in direct conflict with the end of C.S. Lewis' "Is Theology Poetry."

Edited by M. Leary, 19 November 2010 - 12:44 PM.


#15 Overstreet

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:16 PM

17 minutes of "lost footage" found.

#16 vjmorton

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

17 minutes of "lost footage" found.

I don't oppose this in principle, as I do 2010. But ... really ... why add it? Stanley Kubrick cut it, the film is already perfect and there are no gaps in the film as a result. The link between the monolith and tool use is already perfectly clear. And the sudden OMG!-ness of HAL turning against Frank would be undermined if we saw HAL cut off the radio first.

#17 Ryan H.

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:41 PM

I want to see it, but as a special feature. The film, as is, is perfect.

#18 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:49 PM


Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 17 February 2011 - 02:50 PM.


#19 old wave

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 03:38 PM

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFQLw5_N2o"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wpFQLw5_N2o[/url]


It's the Portsmouth Sinfonia and Orchestra: an orchestra made up of untrained musicians. http://en.wikipedia....smouth_Sinfonia

#20 vjmorton

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:07 PM


[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFQLw5_N2o"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wpFQLw5_N2o[/url]


It's the Portsmouth Sinfonia and Orchestra: an orchestra made up of untrained musicians. http://en.wikipedia....smouth_Sinfonia

Pomo aesthetics at its most parody-worthy, decadent and ridiculous. The musical equivalent of people who call Ed Wood a genius or call for the canonization of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.