2001: A Space Odyssey

2001-Space-Odyssey2001 is Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of science fiction and an all around amazing film. It’s not really one film, but a collection of short films, each with its own little reality. We open with several minutes of harmonized noise and a blank screen. This sets the tone for most of the film, where there is very little dialogue and lots of silence intermingled with classical music.

Released in 1968, 2001:A Space Odyssey has better special effects than any film made in the last twenty years, not because they fill every frame, but because they are perfect in their execution and use. They also look much more realistic than the CGI cartoons of the new Star Trek and Star Wars films. Watching the space scenes, it’s clear where Lucas got his inspiration for Star Wars and where Spielberg got his inspiration for Close Encounters.

The story, such as it is, is about a mysterious black brick that seems to have changed the course of human history once or twice. The first little movie is about rival groups of proto-humans who learn a few new skills after an encounter with the Monolith. The next is about a group of businessmen who find the Monolith buried on the moon. The next story is about a mission to Jupiter where the A.I. HAL 9000 goes a bit off the deep end. The last bit is about a man who spends either fifty years or a few minutes or all of eternity alone while hoping to make contact with the Monolith.

There are long stretches of music and visuals. 2001 is much more of an experience than just watching a movie. The use of sound and silence is masterful.

There is never any attempt to explain anything, even when we have the obligatory ‘mission briefing’ they cut away as soon as someone who might say something technical steps up. We are never told why the Monolith appears or what it wants. We never know why HAL decides to take over the mission. We never know what happens in the end and what that closing image is supposed to mean. And yet, having these questions unanswered is part of what makes 2001 a great film. We are free to think about what they mean. Kubrick and Clarke didn’t treat us like idiots by spoon feeding us all the answers.

It’s been a while since I last watched 2001 and it holds up perfectly. If anything, it shines brighter now when compared to the glut of sci fi films made with computers and paint by the number screenplays.


Interstellar

Spoilers and Such. Yet another post apocalyptic movie about what bastards humans are for destroying the world. But unlike such uplifting films as The Road Warrior, there is no hope left for life on earth. So we have to send out a team of intrepid explorers to find a new world for us to ruin. […]


The Giver

Spoilers and such. Yet another story of a future utopia/dystopia where a handful of disgruntled people who know the truth want to bring it all to an end. As usual in the past few years, the hero here is a precocious teenager and the villain is an old person. But there is an old person […]


Wild

Wild tells the story of a lone woman’s trek along the Pacficic Crest Trail, commonly referred to as the PCT. This is a hiking trail that goes from Mexico to Canada along a range of mountains and deserts and forests. A world that measured two feet wide and 2,663 miles long, as Cheryl Strayed so […]


Beezid-going…

Beezid is a Penny Auction Site, which means they have things like Kindles, DSLRS, TVs, Computers, and the like that sell for a few cents to a few dollars. The catch? You will spend a lot more than a few dollars to win them. Beezid is a fun site and in the past few days […]


Not That Kind of Girl

Lena Dunham is the soon not to be twenty-something uber star of her generation. Her book, much like her TV Show, Girls, is filled to the brim with hip and trendy lingo that helps to add a bit of spice to stories of sex, drugs, and illnesses. She is a fan of footnotes, but they […]


Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux

The story of a man who used to be a writer, but takes a job as a hotel manager when he falls in love with Hawaii. It’s a collection of 80 short stories, with a loose fitting narrative that weaves a few of the elements from one story into the next. Some of the stories […]


The Twelfth Doctor Who

When Doctor Who was brought back from the dead many years ago, and the role was handed off to Christopher Eccleston, everyone was thrilled and the show was great. Then Eccleston said to hell with this nonsense after one season and there was a great gnashing of teeth and ripping of hair. But then there […]


Forever

Our hero is an immortal who just can’t seem to stay dead. He dies three times in the first episode and once or twice in the second. Since his gift of immortality is a magical one, his body kindly vanishes every time this happens. I like Forever, it has a great cast and I’m always […]


Gotham

The first episode of Fox’s Gotham tells the well worn story of Batman’s origin. A young Bruce Wayne is traumatized by watching his parents murdered in front of him. But Gotham isn’t content with merely telling us about Batman, they manage to shoehorn in the Penguin, Joker(maybe), Riddler, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. On the surface, […]