Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AFI Top 100, #22: "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)

Movie Stats:
Released 1968 (USA)
American & British, in English (very minor non-translated Russian)
Director - Stanley Kubrick
Stars - Keir Dullea, Douglas Rain (voice)

Plot Summary:
On a mission to Jupiter, things go awry. Oh, and there’s a bunch of stuff about evolution. Dullea co-stars as Dr. Dave Bowman, one of the scientists on the mission, and Rain provides the voice of his on-board computer, HAL 9000.

Some violence; very minor gore.

Bad Stuff:
Thumbs down on the last half hour. I was pretty into it up until that point.

The pace could best be described as “plodding.”

I’m not completely sold on Dullea. He seemed to have only one facial expression/emotion for any given situation. Even in a situation that should have induced butthole-clenching panic, his affect was flat. Not sure if it was bad directing or bad acting. (I assume it was a director choice because, honestly, everyone seemed to behave that way throughout.)

Good Stuff:
The cinematography was amazing. Nearly every shot (even indoors) was stunning.

Similarly, I loved the set design. Favorites were the lobby with the hot pink chairs & the circular room onboard the ship.

Loved the liberal use of classical music. It was quite fitting.

The Verdict:
It’s visually stunning. The concept is interesting. Even though it took a really long time to get to the point, it held my attention. And then the last half hour happened. I just don’t have a lot of patience for weird, acid trip type stuff. It’s not my thing at all, and it’s a huge downside to a lot of 1960s and 1970s films. I looked around a little bit online and this seems to be a common complaint. A lot of people don’t like the ending, so you can add my voice (and my husband’s) to the masses. Also, there was a lot of product placement toward the beginning, which is really unusual for such an old film. I’m guessing it was very expensive to make, however, so they must have needed all the financial help they could get. I will say that, for a large portion of it, my husband and I had a good time discussing what they did and didn’t get right about 2001, how sound the science was, and guessing what was to come next (neither of us had seen it before).

I give it 3.5 stars.


Patricia said...

I watched this at a Phi Theta Kappa (that's the Honor Society focused on good grades for 2-year colleges) convention in the Lake of the Ozarks. We watched it on VHS with a tv with a not-large screen. I remember being very, very bored, especially during the last part. I tried to like it though, because I know a bunch of people think it's wonderful.

Is this the only Kubrick film I've seen?

Apparently, this and Spartacus (which I watched in Western Civ in 12th grade and slept through most of) are the only two of his films I've seen. And I call myself a fan of movies!

Sometimes they show this in 70mm at the Hollywood Theater. I will have to keep an eye out.

balyien said...

Wow, I've seen 7 of the films he directed. I had no idea I'd seen that many. I can't say that I'm a big fan. I think maybe Full Metal Jacket is probably my favorite, but it's been a long time since I've seen it. I think his films, even the violent ones, tend to have a very slow pace to them. I admire 2001 for its stunning cinematography and the questions it poses, but I'm not on the love train like a lot of people are.