Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Film Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

Fig 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster

The word 'surreal' would be putting it lightly when describing this film. It paints a picture of the future of space travel in the year 2001, from the perspective of 1968. Scenes from act 2 in the film suggest that taking a shuttle up into orbit are as ordinary and routine as taking the bus or the train.
The setting of the film suggests that humanity is living in a golden age of technology, where it is beginning to reach out to planets further and further through the solar system.

''If we conquer both time and space, then what? The final sequence of 2001 is speculation through imagination, positing a new Xanadu, a world of wonders where time and space no longer exist'' (Milne, 2010). This quote from Tom Milne brings up an interesting point to do with the plot. The entire film and especially the final act are in some way an exploration of human evolution and quantum physics. In this sense the film can be seen as being quite experimental, as it is very much an exploration through film in every sense of the word.

Fig 2. Face Close-up

This film keeps you at a distance for the most part, characters are only ever seen up close in particularly dramatic sequences(). All of the spaces in the film are very clean, very precise and very cold. Film Reviewer for '', Angie Errigo captures this with his verdict on the film. ''What 2001 lacks in warmth it makes up for in ideas, style and no end of gobsmackage. Moreover the film boasts a prodigious power to provoke argument - is it profundity personified or plain old pap? Wherever you sit in the debate, movies were born for experiences like this'' (Errigo, s.d.)

''The movie consequently becomes for the viewer an intensely subjective experience which reaches his inner consciousness in the same manner that music does, leaving him free to speculate about thematic content.'' (Phillips, s.d.) This is another key point to be taken away from this film. It gives you facts, dates and a small semblance of plot but the film is completely open to the audiences own opinion and perception. It is almost engineered precisely for that, to simply be interpreted by the viewer.

Illustration List

Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster. (Accessed on 18/10/14)

Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 2. Face Close-up. (Accessed on 22/10/14)


Milne, T (2010) (Accessed on 18/10/14)

Errigo, A (s.d.) (Accessed on 22/10/14)

Phillips, Gene D. (s.d.) (Accessed on 22/10/14)

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