With the new millennium arriving at midnight, January 1, 2-0-0-1, I had to revisit the classic film, 2-0-0-1: A Space Odyssey. Not only one of the best space movies of all time but a true classic movie on any genre.
Stanley Kubrick's direction and the (then) state of the art special effects makes this one of the best movies ever made. It is even on the AFI's top 100 list.
I remember seeing this movie back in 1968 in a theater with a wide screen and 'quadraphonic' sound. Some may say that 2001 A Space Odyssey is boring.
After all, in the two and a half hours running time there is barely 30 minutes of dialogue and the first spoken word does not even occur until some 25 minutes into the film. Still, what sets 2001 A Space Odyssey apart from every other Sci-Fi movie made is the many rich layers of the story.
Much of the story relates to the works of Fredrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, particularly Thus Spoke Zarathrustra. The first clue to this is the now famous three notes form the musical composition ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Struass. This also sets up an important theme in 2001 A Space Odyssey, triads.
From the dimensions of the monolith, 1:4:9, the squares of the first three integers to the three main divisions of the film triads play an integral part of understanding 2001 A Space Odyssey. In the work by Nietzsche he espouses the idea that man must go through three stages in order to achieve the goal of the overman, or the perfect being.
The first he likens to a camel in order to survive. The next is the lion, to master his environment and the last is the child to be a new beginning.
In 2001 A Space Odyssey these stages are clearly demonstrated. The proto-human apes are the camel stage. They have to discover the use of tools to survive. The lion stage is shown with man mastering the environment of the earth and traveling to the moon.
Then there is Dave Bowman’s transcendence into the star child, a new beginning for mankind. Two things herald each stage, the appearance of a monolith and the conjunction of solar bodies such as the earth the moon and the sun. There is also the depicting of eating as part of what precedes each important event.
The apes are eating leaves before they master a tool and meat after the first murder. Dr. Floyd consumes food on the way to the moon and again just before the second monolith.
Then there the elaborate dinner the aged Dave eats before he changes into the star child. What Kubrick has done here is taken a short Sci-Fi story from Arthur C. Clarke and woven into one of the seminal philosophical works known.
Kurbrick even manages to place one of the director’s trademark bathroom scenes in the film. 2001 A Space Odyssey has it all.
The actors in 2001 A Space Odyssey have the most difficult of tasks, playing their roles with the barest amount of dialogue. The only real human roles in 2001 A Space Odyssey are Dr. Floyd (William Sylvester), Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) and of course, Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea).
Of them only Dullea has any real lines. Still, the actors do better than most could with the carefully crafted limitation on the spoke word. 2001 A Space Odyssey is a showcase for non-verbal performance worthy of the highest praise.
Perhaps one of the most important director’s of all time was the late Stanley Kurbrick. His works span almost every film genre and is without exception ground breaking films.
Perhaps the best known of his impressive films is 2001 A Space Odyssey. While films before this used special effects no one has used them to tell a story like Kubrick.
Now we have the Matrix, ID4, Star Wars and so many more but the grandfather to the all is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Effects here do so much more than set the place and mood of 2001 A Space Odyssey, they tell the story.
From the mysterious monolith to the shapes of the ships, every detail has meaning. For example, the star child is created after the sperm shaped Discovery comes into contact with the ovum shaped Jupiter.
The half-built space station depicting the progress man has made and yet there is still more to come. The master crafts each scene with precision.
When I got the 2-0-0-1: A Space Odyssey tape I was disappointed because of the cutting to pan and scan and the loss of the incredible sound and score.
Now, thanks to DVD, 2-0-0-1 A Space Odyssey is back bigger and better than ever. Restored to it's 1:220 scope and sporting a new Dolby 5.1 surround soundtrack 2-0-0-1: A Space Odyssey can play better at home than it ever did in the theaters.
The mysterious monoliths that seem to come at vital points in man's development, the view of the future now a mere two years away. The classic musical score that not only binds the movie together but is as important as any character.
If you want to show off you home system to friends and show them how DVD can improve older movies, 2-0-0-1 A Space Odyssey is the one!
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com
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