Sunday, December 7, 2008

2001: A crazy Mind F@%K

So, I know this is my art blog, but i also want to share some thoughts about my second favorite thing, movies. i made up the rules, i guess i can break them.

For the first time this weekend i sat down and Watched Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a space odyssey. I'm fairly conflicted on how i feel about the movie though. It certainly shattered my expectations about it in many ways. I was, first of all, very surprised how little i knew of the plot, what plot there is anyway. All i really knew about the movie was pop culture references to HAL. i had really no clue that there was anything in the movie beyond the Jupiter mission, man was i mistaken.

In a way i'm deeply impressed with the film. For one i haven't stopped thinking about it since Friday night, when i watched it. It was stunning on many levels, especially the visual. For a movie made 40 years ago the special effects were amazing, and never distracted me from the movie itself.Not to mention i loved the realistic approach to space, something i can't recall any movie getting since. I think on an intellectual level it's fantastic, i deeply respect filmmakers that leave the story in total ambiguity, and don't give the viewer a road map to the plot.

However,i think these feelings are all in retrospect. On a different level, i could barely stand sitting through the whole thing, no wonder there's and intermission. Not many movies make me want to throw my laptop out the window, but i was considering it. I literally almost turned it off a minute in because all it was was music and a black screen, i was screaming "Get to the MOVIE". I'm getting frustrated just talking about it.

I just feel that this movie was painfully slow,and sequences like the little monolith acid trip Dave had at the end just went too long. It makes me think of music, i'm sure there's a term for it, but in a song when the band gets to a point where they repeat a section over and over until you're on the brink of skipping to the next song, but at the last second they hit the satisfying sound and pull the song back. i think this movie did the same thing, only those sections went over that edge. there's a point where you can show me only so many pretty colors where i won't get anything more out of it. i was yelling, you've made your point, GET ON WITH IT.

One problem, that i anticipated going into this movie is the time gap from when this movie was made, to now when I'm watching it. Although all the effects are still totally cool now, in the sixties that movie would have blown me away. I really take the ideas that are presented, at least the science fiction stuff, for granted. I mean, this came out in a world where we hadn't even walked on the moon. Despite the timelessness of the themes, that time gap has got to count for something. who knows maybe if i had watched it in the sixties, my awe would have outweighed my frustration.

I still haven't really figured out what i really think about this movie, in terms of what i think it's about, and whether it's in my good movies column. As an intellectual journey, it succeeds. As a beautiful work of film making craftsmanship, it succeeds. Whether it's an entertaining piece of cinema to sit down and watch, the jury's still out for me.


Craig Zablo said...

While visually exciting... in parts, the movie just doesn't hold together for me. I've watched it about once a decade since the 80's thinking maybe it's me... but I always come out thinking, "Wow. That was over-rated."

Gordon MacDonald said...


This is one film you have to see on a large screen - I have seen it over 30 times in theaters and been enthralled every time, I owm the DVD and rarely watch it. I think the film has a subtle narrative, but is perhaps better thought of as a kind of ballet (the figures moving in zero gravity, or trying to resist it, the incidentals - space rock tumbling through space on screen for a second or two and so many other wonderful details). Kubrick was a genius filmmaker, but his art has (IMO) to be seen on his terms to be understood (large screen).

Kubrick broke so much ground with this film. You might want to look up Dennis Trumbill - the technical visionary behind the film, and the guy who worked out the stargate sequence.

I think the best indicator of whether a film was really good or not is how long it stays with you and whether or not you find yourself thinking about alot after having seeing it.

I really hated the intermission to!


William Appledorn said...

thanks for commenting guys.

Craig- i think, now that you mention it being over rated, i think that spoiled it a bit for me, and i had too high of expectations.

Gord- i think you're right when you mention the technical achievement of the film, it still very much holds up today and is an example of expert craftsmanship.

i suppose your right in a sense whether a film is good if it sticks with you. love it or hate it, it does make you think. i just don't know if i need to see it again.