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  1. #1
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    Why I hate 2001 A Space Odyssey


    Directed By: Stanley Kubrick
    Written By: Arthur C. Clarke
    Starring: Keir Dullea, William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter
    http://www.lightsoutentertainment.co.../film.php?1061



    Over the last few months there's been quite a few people who have accused me of getting by with controversy. They have claimed that I possibly like the attention I get by being different, and so automatically bag every popular movie that get's released. This is usually after I've given a bad review for some dull action movie that everyone else loved, The Matrix Reloaded being a perfect example. However my own defense started to look pretty bad when I revealed that I also have a strong dislike for that Stanley Kubrick "masterpiece" that I am reviewing here. In fact why am I acting like I should be scared to reveal the film here when you already know what this review is for? The movie I dislike with a passion is Stanley Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    Actually it feels pretty good to get it out in a review like this, but alas I can already here the clicking of keyboards as my in box prepares for a massive influx of hate mail. Nevertheless I believe I still have a few minutes to get this review finished before the first of it arrives so maybe I should use that time to best try and defend my stance. First of all then I'm going to be doing something unusual with this review, and yes I'm well aware of the irony of saying that I'm going to do something unusual in a bad review for 2001 so please keep the laughter quiet. What I'm going to be doing is that I'm not going to start out by criticizing the film like a film critic is supposed to, but instead I'll open by explaining the things in the film that I actually liked. Afterall the reviews here are allowed to get 0 stars, but I have granted this film that 1 extra star for a reason.

    The reason it get's that one star is very simple really, but it builds up to a very complex level. The reason is for it's cinematography. Oh great now I've done it, even the 2001 haters are going to be writing me hate mail now. "Who gives a stuff about cinematography...movies should be fun...blah blah blah." Well I give a stuff about cinematography, that's who. It's one of the most important aspects in showing movies as an art form, which they definitely are, and as far as artistic movies go 2001 A Space Odyssey is among the top of the list. The cinematography is breathtaking, typical Kubrick camera work designed to up the films emotional impact among anyone paying attention. Not just that though, 2001's cinematography is more than just fancy camera work because it carries with itself a rich amount of meaning. Literally nothing happens in the film which isn't designed for developing the films themes and philosophies. Right from the beginning you can see it's philosophies in those apes, the apes that seemed so useless to me when I first saw the film 5 years ago. It's shown in the moment where the ape picks up the bone and proceeds to smash the rest of the skeleton, my particular favorite shot in the movie, or when it throws that bone that proceeds to melt out into a futuristic space ship. It's seen in the scenes with Hal 9000 right up until that fancy light show at the end, absolutely nothing in the film is meaningless. Find me a scene that doesn't have a meaning and I'll show you a scene you don't understand, it's that simple.

    So then why would I hate a film this rich in symbolism? That I can tell you with much more ease than I could describe what I liked about a film I dislike so much. The reason is that even though the film has a lot to say, I didn't like 90% of what it was saying. Kubrick had 1 angle to the film which described the dehumanizing effects of technology, and I could have lived with that if it had been the films main theme. Seeing the way the film develops from the first invention of the tool to the ultimate invention in Hal 9000. Seeing the humans becoming totally dependant on Hal, and then seeing Hal then decide that the tool no longer needs the humans. Even seeing him taken down by a screw driver, one of the humans most basic inventions are all moments that could have held a high level of power if it wasn't for the fact that they weren't the films main theme. The technology angle was sadly a secondary ideology, fused into the films main philosophy. A philosophy that deals less with technology and more with evolution cheapens the effect for me. Suddenly it becomes, not a film about the dehumanizing effects of technology, and more a story about how the first technology caused mans evolution, but ultimately prevented man from evolving to anything other than a violent fleshly species. You see I am a very religious person, and while I wasn't offended by the films philosophies I couldn't relate to them at all. Opening by showing apes as the creatures that started the use of tools, and then showing the fade to describe years of evolution. Finishing on showing Dave destroy Hal, and after he stops relying on technology he is able to evolve to a higher, post death, state of existence. The evolution angle was there in every facet of the film and as a result it prevented me from attaching to any of the films idea's and rendered the power they could have had redundant.

    Like I said though, the themes didn't offend me they just never moved me anywhere. I never attached to them, but they didn't directly prevent me from liking the rest of the film either. What did this was Kubrick himself when he decided that he had explored mans evolutionary path and so he didn't need more. The themes of technological evolution dehumanizing people meant that Kubrick intentionally downplayed the human characters. His satire meant that none of the human characters were developed beyond the terms of character A, B ECT..., and that Hal 9000, an emotionless computer, was the closest a character got to real emotion. I don't consider this to be a good thing. Kubrick may have intended it as satire, but it helped destroy the film for me. Now because it was dehumanized characters within the realms of evolutionary technological advancements, I was left with neither satisfying themes nor satisfying characters with which to grasp.

    In the end though I was even denied that most basic of pleasures in the area of sound. I recognize the importance of silent movies on cinematic history, but we have moved beyond those now. Now cinematography can be combined with strong use of sound in order to build an emotional story, but sadly there are very few places where Kubrick considers a soundtrack to be useful to developing the evolutionary themes, and so he left it out. I did a test once and it was revealed that I do in fact react to sound before visuals, and while I can enjoy silent movies it's only when there's something other than sound for me to grasp, which I've already shown is extremely limited in 2001. Some films without a soundtrack though, use the background noises for tension building, but in space there is no background noise. In fact there were some parts of the film that were so silent I felt the need to check my speakers were still working. There were a few moments that used music, and it did use the best classical music you'll find including Blue Danube, my personal favorite. I actually have the soundtrack, but moments using these are few and far between. They're moments I don't understand at all, except that they had a slight refreshing effect from the silence, but that was all. Ultimately a few classic songs are not enough to warrant another viewing, especially since I can listen to the songs on CD.

    Ultimately, with it's silent nature, shallow characters and evolutionary themes, 2001 A Space Odyssey remains one of the deepest movies I have seen, but also one of the most boring.
    *
    Last edited by carl; 07-22-2003 at 09:20 AM.

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    Talking

    GRRR... see my TOP Sci-Fi link...

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    Originally posted by ZUBi
    GRRR... see my TOP Sci-Fi link...
    Yeah well see my bottom movies link.

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    i think that 2001 - a space odyssey is a great art film and his visual style was for the time groundbreaking but today only a boring peace of crap. don't get me wrong, as a comnig filmmaker i see the things a little bit different but as a normal moviewatcher this film really sucks. the only thing why i have this film in my collection is simple the art of it and the score, nothing more nothing less.

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    Originally posted by bender
    i think that 2001 - a space odyssey is a great art film and his visual style was for the time groundbreaking but today only a boring peace of crap. don't get me wrong, as a comnig filmmaker i see the things a little bit different but as a normal moviewatcher this film really sucks. the only thing why i have this film in my collection is simple the art of it and the score, nothing more nothing less.

    good point.. but I do find this movie a bit BORING too !!!
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    As Carl pointed out, this movie had been classed as a Classic, but why? Well here is my theory. First ask yourself ĎWhat is science-Fiction?í To the vast majority the answer probably lie somewhere along the lines of Star Wars, Star Trek or Alien. Or to make it even more generalised, anything in space (or future). But that is not true. Just because a story takes place in space doesnít make it a Science-Fiction story. It just makes it a gravity lacking story =)
    My point is, go back to before the premier of 2001, and see what movies they got that passes for Science-Fiction movie. Does men in rubber suits, or Plan 9 from Outer Space ring a bell? Kubrick called Clarke back in the 60s and asked if he had any idea for, and I quote ďa proverbial good science-fiction movieĒ. Clarke came up with 2001 and together with Kubrick he wrote the screenplay, and on the side he wrote 2001 the book himself. Anyhow, the story of 2001 is very good, a lot better in the book than movie, but thatís for the usual reason, hard to fit in all the info in a movie. So the story is not the problem. And Kubrick has made other movies thatís not as slow paced as 2001. So whats up? Why is 2001 such a slow-paced misery? Well by Kubricks choice off-course. So why? Well there he is, wanting to make a quote ďa proverbial good science-fiction movieĒ and the contemporary science-fiction movies is crap, and whatís worse, they are far from proper science-fiction stories. So he contacts one of the masters of science-fiction writing, Arthur C. Clarke, who delivers the story. But a good story is not enough if he really wants to set the bar for movie science-fiction far above Buck Rogers and Godzilla. He needs something totally different. So throw in classical music and very nice visual shots and u got different. So that 2001 has been called the first real science-fiction movie is not odd and I assume very true. But it doesnít make it a good movie. It was different and had a good science-fiction story, but itís also way to slow-paced and boring. I can see why critics and science-fiction lovers liked it back when it was new, but in the end it just doesnít hold up. If you want to listen to classical music and watch nice shots, well by all means see it, but as an entertaining movie it just fails, for the simple reason that its way to slow-paced, it lets you get bored, and by the time your halfway though you want to hit the fast forward button to speed the damn thing up, and thatís never a good property in a movie.
    So to sum it up. He wanted to make something different, but went too far.

    By pure chance Iím gonna see this movie in class on Monday so perhaps Iíll throw in a few more comments then.
    Last edited by Gaumont; 05-14-2003 at 02:45 PM.
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    Originally posted by Gaumont
    If you want to listen to classical music and watch nice shots,
    Yup the music rocked. I'm gonne get the soundtrack but I will never watch this film again.

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    and by the way. If ya haven't read the book, do it. Its like the movie, just not slow-paced and everything bad taken out and everything good done a lot better =)

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    I have to agree that 2001 belongs on my bottom 20 list. My first and foremost requirement for a good movie is it must have good characters, and with the small exception of Hal, there are no characters in 2001. Oh, there are people, but no characters (i.e. personalities, individualties, etc.).

    The soundtrack was good and visually it was interesting, but if I don't care one way or the other about anyone or anything in the movie, then I just can't bring myself to like the movie.

    And a slow movie does not a good movie make. How many other films spend 20 minutes at a time with absolutely nothing happening, sci-fi or otherwise?

    It has been about a year since I last forced myself to watch the movie, and so my memory may not be all that great. But was it ever explained in the movie (not the book, I liked the book, but we're not talking about the book here) where the monolith on the moon sent the radio signal? Why Hal malfunctioned? Why they were going to Jupiter to begin with? I just remember the monolith on the moon screeching, then we see the ship heading toward Jupiter, and then after some of the few moments of actual dialogue in the movie Hal arranged a malfunction which allowed him to kill one of the crew and almost kill the second, and then Hal was shut down and the crew member was leaving the ship heading toward the monolith in orbit around Jupiter.

    If Kubrick had spent less time advertising classical music with stars sliding past and more time sticking with the book, the movie would have been a lot better.
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    I watched this movie because of the books, I'm a huge fan of 2001,2010 and 2061 (3001 is a piece of crap) and I think they're some of the best sci fi books ever written. As to the movie it was filmed a long time ago and was considered the matrix of the old times (not implying that the matrix is THAT groundbraking, just new) I found the movie to be long but not necessarily boring, if you had read the book you would probobly enjoy it more and I think it was a faithful adaptation. Then again it was Kubrick's and it really defines his style.


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    Originally posted by Jake
    I think it was a faithful adaptation.
    its not an adaptation

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    Originally posted by Jake
    I watched this movie because of the books, I'm a huge fan of 2001,2010 and 2061 (3001 is a piece of crap) and I think they're some of the best sci fi books ever written. As to the movie it was filmed a long time ago and was considered the matrix of the old times (not implying that the matrix is THAT groundbraking, just new) I found the movie to be long but not necessarily boring, if you had read the book you would probobly enjoy it more and I think it was a faithful adaptation. Then again it was Kubrick's and it really defines his style.
    Could you give me some examples of the stuff you liked? I've given my reasons for hating it but so far the fans have just said. It was good.

    I've posted this in another forum and people have given their reasons for liking it, and that's why I started this thread. Discussion. Please allow the discussion to continue by providing some actual reasons for why you liked it.

    Same to you ZUBi, and where is Editman.

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    editman's right here.

    Honestly I don't wanna flame about how I like about this movie and why it should be considered as a classic and stuff.

    In short: I am the sorta person who would admire Mona Lisa for the brush strokes, for the colours represent the painters emotions and for a beautiful piece as a whole (well maybe I'm too shallow to appreciate that).

    I gotta admit first time I saw the movie in cinema I wasn't very impressed. It's long and I was sleepy - I still like A Clockwork Orange the best among all Kubrick films. It's the repeated watching that 2001 started to grow on me.

    Also bare in mind that the film came out at the time the Space Race's just begun. Back then there's no MTV. No 'creative' use of classical music in movies. No realstic space effects on film. And certainly no mainstream release of movie without an coherent, obscure storyplot.

    True it doesn't have much of a story nor good characters. But the painstaking SFX was ground-breaking.

    At least I can stand watching this. And I like it. If I have to choose between a Carl Dreyer movie and this I'll pick 2001.

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    Re: Re: Why I hate 2001 A Space Odyssey

    Originally posted by deakins
    haha. you're right. it is unfortunate.

    Anyways, 2001 is single-handedly one of the best pieces of cinema ever created. I will not go into why this is because it would probably just be a waste of our time.

    I would have given you the benefit of the doubt, but then I looked at your 'Worst 20' list. One big laugh. Even funnier is your top twenty.
    Yes you're right discussing the pro's and cons of a movie in a forum is a complete waste of everyones time. Clearly a forum is supposed to be a place where people can come and insult each other. Probably the only reason that you can't discuss the pro's is because you don't know what they are and are simply calling it the greatest sci fi just because you feel that you should, because I have discussed this film with people who actually have a level of intelligence, something you may one day understand, and they brought up points. Of course they didn't change my mind because the film is still terminally crap but I was able to enjoy the actual discussion.

    As for my choice of worst films they are MY choice. Don't come crying just because you believe Battlefield Earth to be a masterpiece and have a major hardon for schwarzenegger, because I just don't care.

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    I saw the movie... it bored me. It certainly was a very-well crafted piece of cinema, but there's far too much style and far too little actual substance. I have always maintained that a film must engage and entertain me before I can even begin to consider it a film of quality. 2001 occasionally engages me, but it never entertained me. Close Encounters, on the other hand, does both very well.
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