Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot

Call it a visual illusion or reality, the trip of watching this film is quite unlike any other film journey in nature or length. Its just otherworldly experience one has to feel on his own.
Based on one of the finest Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is the most ambitious grand film of Kubrick’s career and it’s the classic sci-fi film ever made and the best ever seen by me. Sorry to Lucas, Spielberg and Ridley Scott but Kubrick’s this film is the father of all sci-fis. Pushing forward more the visual narrative and mind blowing special effects it begins at ‘the dawn of humanity’ and ventures into future; completing the full circle of human exploration. Backed by stunning sets and western classical background music, it reminds us the vastness of space and our place in it.

Perhaps there’s no other scene as brilliant as the evolutionary ape throws the bone weapon into the air in the beginning of ‘The Dawn of Man’ scene. After which camera takes a brilliant jump cut to a space station in the outer space, continuing the movement of human progress and exploration millions of years later. This is the greatest visual metaphor Kubrick created with his signature irony. From the pre-historic ape that triumphs discovering the bone (the first weapon) to the space exploration, the focal point here is man’s struggle for mastery over weapon/technology and the mysteries of spiritual. Intelligence, learning and desire of possession are all inherent part of primate (read-human ape), today we are all covered apes and after millions of years of history evolved as the supreme species and progressed in leaps and bounds compared to all rest of the animals but even today no manmade machine remains entirely fool proof. The curiosity of progress is becoming an invention of threat now. Human Control is a big illusion and all tools of science are fallible. Master of earth is still child in space.

Kubrick conveyed an idea which I would again like to relate with Desmond Morris’ two brilliant and must read books named ‘The Naked Ape’ and ‘The Human Zoo’. The idea highlighted very significant point that, although progress has been made, the arrogance or ego produced by progress corrupts man more than anything. This corrupt mind has made the man nature’s victim rather than its master. Man is still in Stone Age, so what if he wears Versace designed clothes or using gizmo friendly existence. Remove the tool whether its evolutionary ‘bone’ or the advance science of ‘HAL’ spacecraft and we are again nothing more than impotent monkey. In his blind exploration of ‘progress’ the man forgets the basic that it’s ‘wisdom’ which will save him in a long run, not ‘knowledge’.

Kubrick earned two Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay writer co-authored with Clarke but the film won only single Oscar for its stunning Special Effects. It is quite shocking that the Director who achieved an Olympian height with his brilliant and some of the most thought provoking films in almost all genres didn’t get a single academy award in his entire career.
It’s the favorite film of the following legends- Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Martin Scorsese and David Fincher.

Ratings- 10/10

P.S- Those who have seen the film and missed the points just watch brief animated analysis of the film on- www.kubrick2001.com
I watched the whole film once again after visiting this site and enjoyed and understood it better.


Luv said...

That was a great review, of a great film. yeah, one of the very best SiFi films, and special effects were great for its time. Yes, this is where SiFi as we know it, starts. Same year had come Planet of the Apes as well.

Both the movies make to my Top 10 SiFi, though not the Top 5.

Allow me be a little more self-indulgent, and put my must-see SiFi list here. Temme what u think of it:

Top 5 non-anime (not in order):

1. A Clockwork Orange
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
3. I am Legend / The Last Man on Earth
4. Back to the Future
5. Children of Men

One i wish to see, haven't yet:

1. Moon

Top 2 anime (not in order)

1. Wall-E
2. Titan A.E.

Must watch because they are soooo bad:

1. Manos: The Hands of Fate
2. Plan 9 from Outer Space
3. Bride of the Monster

HIREN DAVE said...

Dear Luv, let me tell u very frankly that its quite folly to consider few of your mentioned Top 5 films in sci-fi genre...How can u consider A CLOCKWORK ORANGE into sci-fi genre? Apart of CLOCKWORK, the rest of the films are more entertaining and linear than mentally taxing or stimulating one...I like BACK TO THE FUTURE so much and watched all three parts in single sitting...T2 is the film i watched maximum nimber of times as teenager but again its special efects show...CHILDREN OF MEN has fine plot and screenplay but i dont call it out and out sci-fi, its more of popular thriller..although all of films u mentioned in your top 5 are well made films no body can challenge 2001...
I've watched WALL E and its simply brilliant sci-fi animated film made till day...cent percent agree...Rest of the films u mentioned haven't seen by me...

2001 is special b'coz it challenges the usual perception of common film watching experience...infact this is the kind of the film which raised the bar of the sci-fi genre itself...its kind of film which one has to watch time and again because there's not a single critic/viewer who understand the point of Kubrick in his/her single viewing...So i suggest you to watch 2001 once again and yep, just watch the short animated analysis link which i mentioned below my review for more refined viewing...
anyway, thanx for ur comment...keep it up...m looking fwd...

Luv said...

i sure can tell u what abt A CLockwork Orange is SiFi, but instead i am telling u that it is ranked 4 in AFI's all time top 10 Science Fiction films.

If u believe that a good film needs to be taxing u have got it a bit mixed up.

The legacy of Back to the Future can be found by the # of references that it finds in gr8 speeches.

About T2, i need say anything at all, u can talk to the gr8 J. D. Salinger.

As far as Children of Men is concerned, there is no iota of doubt that no other movie captures the affect o Science on people better. The background of the film tells a story in itself.

2001, T2, & Back to Future also makes it to AFI's list. (u wud appriciate that 2001 is the topper).

of course i would love to see which SiFi movies u wud put up there, other than 2001.

HIREN DAVE said...

I haven't watched many but i like following ones-
# ET


HIREN DAVE said...

by the way this recently rleased DISTRICT 9 is getting so much poularity...

Luv said...

District 9, i haven't seen that 1, all others i have.

Luv said...

I was disappointed with Twelve Monkeys. And The Matrix, as a SiFi, for me is a failure, coz it fails to realize the psychological possibilities.

The others are beyond doubt among the best of genre.

Hey, ET had slipped out of my mind. In my list, remove I am Legend and put that in. Because I am Legend had too many adverts.

You would love Blade Runner I guess. I liked it too.

Hey, we agreed on Back to Future after all!!!

Agreed on 3 movies in all, sounds good.

By the way, on risk of repeating myself, That was a great review, of a great film

HIREN DAVE said...

thx man...keep posting...