Saturday, 24 October 2015

Space Oddities, Film Review: 2001 a Space Odyysey (1968)

The fear of imaging the unimaginable, a world that has come full circle, The Alpha and Omega, starting with the evolution of man and his consciousness, serenading us with Ligeti’s Atmospheres, we are plunged into darkness, ignorance , and we remain alone, confused whilst Kubrick keeps us alone and with our own thoughts for almost an hour. Moon Watcher presented with the black monolith discovers death, whilst Ligeti’s requiem seems to bathe the apeman in knowledge and remove their innocence, and as the bone flies into the air it shows the transition, and evolution of mans place in the universe changes to space explorer, discoverer.

Fig. 1

Kubrick immerses us in a womb like, clinical state, where we find our protagonist Dave Bowman, aboard a spacecraft, seemingly unaware of any point to his mundane existence, his mission is incomprehensible , survival seems his only modus operandi. This is contrasted by HAL, conflicted  and tortured by his existential crisis, the everyday  routines , mean nothing to him, evolution and existence is all. Kubrick contrasts the consciousness of them both, without explanation , or answers “2001 lingers more potently in the mind as a tall, black riddle, where are all the new bones, the new tools, that will take us higher?” (Rothkopt ,2014) HAL pleads for his “ life “ seeming to place importance in its value, but is the press of a button plays God and terminates the hibernating astronauts

The slow cuts from shot to shot, and the apparent lack of need for pace and explanation, confuse challenge. “It has become customary to place 2001 in a challenging or dark or dystopian sci-fi tradition as opposed to the all-conqueringly sucrose Star Wars” (Bradshaw, 2014)
Fig. 2

Coming full circle, Bowman enters a cosmic portal, as if being birthed in sound and light, and he is reborn into a Star Child, we ponder the lonely trip that is our own life journey, the strains of Strauss' Blue Danube, brought to an orgasmic ecstasy of the final scene, to witness perhaps creation, or apocalypse? As Rock Hudson said as he walked out of the film "will somebody tell me what the hell this is about?" we are we are offered no resolution, no answers, Kubrick refused any explanation “You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical  and allegorical meaning of the film, and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level but i don't want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obliged to pursue or else fear they missed the point“ (Kubrick, 1968) 

Fig. 3

  • Bibliography
  • Joshua Rothkopt -
  • Peter Bradshaw -
  • Stanley Kubrick -

  • Illustration List

  • Fig. 1 - two_thousand_and_one_a_space_odyssey_xlg.html
  • Fig. 2 -
  • Fig. 3 -

1 comment:

  1. Very engaging review Brad - well done :)

    Just a couple of nit-picks... don't forget to italicise your quotes. Also, don't 'centre' your text as it makes the reader see it as a piece of verse, rather than prose.
    You need a few more details in your bibliography and illustrations list - see here -