For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!
‘Released in 1968, “2001: A Space Odyssey” was an intellectual collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and renowned science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke. After the success of “Dr. Strangelove,” Kubrick wanted to explore ideas surrounding space travel, alien life, and what it means to be a human on Earth and in the universe. This film is not about having a continual plot or about getting anywhere, it is about exploring ideas. Most people I’ve found are on one side of the fence or the other with this film, either loving or hating it. I have to say, this is not my kind of movie- but there are parts of the film I appreciate.
I like the section of this film that explores the duo of astronauts, Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) and their computer, the HAL 9000, who watches over the three other crew members in suspended animation as their ship journeys toward the target of the monolith’s transmission, which orbits Jupiter. HAL is getting a little outside of himself, and reads the lips of his human companions who are planning on shutting him down. Before they can do this, HAL, using the arms of a small shuttle pod, cuts Frank’s air hose while he’s on a space walk. When Dave gets into one of the remaining shuttles to retrieve Frank’s body, HAL shuts down all of the life support systems on the crew in suspended animation. Dave returns to an angry computer which refuses to let him aboard and a dead crew. Dave enters the ship in a really dangerous manner, and finally shuts down HAL in a really fantastic and creepy scene, just before the ship’s arrival at Jupiter.
Beside this section of the film, I find the film annoying- mostly due to the background noise. It’s like screaming ghosts with broken nails on a chalkboard. Hideous. Of course I exclude the famous ‘theme song’ used at the beginning and end of the film. The rest of the film is made up of seemingly unrelated moments- besides Dave’s continued adventure through a tripped out 60’s light field- (are the lights themselves the aliens?) Then we have a strange trip to a large room decorated in a modernized Louis XVI style, in which a very elderly Dave lies on a bed, soon transforming into a fetal child which at the end of the film stares with big bug eyes at the Earth. It’s an interesting visual experience.
The film isn’t made to solve any of the posed existential riddles, it gives the viewer images to think about, and takes us on a journey through the stars. I just wish the background noise didn’t make me want to bang my head against a wall.
In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns: