Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Genre: Sci-Fi
Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

A summary, shamelessly taken from Netflix, because there's no way I can summarize this movie on my own:

Stanley Kubrick's quiet masterpiece probes the mysteries of space and human destiny. While investigating the appearance of mysterious monoliths throughout the universe, astronauts David (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood) battle their ship's intelligent computer, HAL-9000. This epic sci-fi drama based on Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Sentinel" was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for its stunning special effects.
I've a bit of a love-hate relationship with Stanley Kubrick's films. Lolita? Bored me. A Clockwork Orange? Good, but not something I'd be inclined to watch again. Dr. Strangelove? Eternal love. And, now, 2001: A Space Odyssey? Um, no thanks.

I totally see why this film has endured over the years, why people love it, why it is so praised, but oh my gosh this film was so not for me. I need words, characters, a story, all of which were so severely missing from this movie that I was bored out of my mind.

But, I guess I should start off with the nice things, because there are definitely plenty of positive things to be said about this movie. The effects are absolutely spectacular-- colorful, not fake-looking in the slightest, and wonderfully shown off through the (many) wide shots. They were so stunning that I occasionally forgot how bored I was, especially when they were aided by the magnificent score. I do believe that most of the score is comprised of pieces of pre-existing classical music, and each of the pieces were used fantastically. The music is evocative on its own, but when placed with the stunning visuals, it's an entirely new and captivating experience.

If only it was enough to captivate me the entire duration of the film. I understand that Kubrick was going for a quiet sort of movie, but oh my gosh I need words. I'm an absolute dialogue freak-- the wittier, the snappier, the faster, the better. It killed me that during half this movie, there is literally no speaking at all. I was going mad, hoping that someone would begin to speak to bring some life to this movie, but all too often these hopes were not met. There is definitely a smaller story within the movie, the story the summary at the beginning of this post explains, but it was so short that I was unbelievably disappointed. One that story is over, and before it even begins, it seemed to be nothing but shots of space and technology. I understand there was a purpose for them and that they told a story of their own, but I just couldn't pay attention to it when I was so desperate for noise.

Also, those apes at the beginning? I can't even. I was lucky I watched past them.

Very pretty and well-made, but bored me so much it wasn't even funny.

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