Thursday, April 18, 2013

Discuss: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Karen: This past weekend I had a chance to see the two actors featured in 2001, Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, at a show called Monsterpalooza in Burbank, California. They discussed the making of the film and shared memories of it and director Stanley Kubrick. These two men were very entertaining -they came across a bit like The Odd Couple, with Dullea as Felix and Lockwood as Oscar! Both had been fans of Kubrick's work prior to being cast in 2001 (both cited Paths of Glory as a favorite film), and Dullea in particular had been a fan of science fiction, actually recognizing elements in the script as having come from Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Sentinel, which he had read years before. Both felt like they were making an important film at the time, although neither could have predicted the lasting impact of the film.

Karen: Another amusing tidbit: the fellow playing the voice of HAL on set had a very strong Cockney accent -a far cry from Canadian actor Douglas Rain's smooth tones! Dullea gave us a sample of a Cockney HAL doing the 'Daisy' shutdown speech and it was hilarious.

Karen: Share your thoughts on this classic SF film - you can take this any direction you want. Discuss the film's meaning, influence, effects -have at it.


ZIRGAR said...

My favorite film. I'm not as big a science fiction fan as I was when I was a kid, but this film is transcendent. It's nearly pure cinema, in that it almost exclusively uses images to convey its story. It's a truly remarkable film.

Doc Savage said...

Saw this on the big screen. Bored me to tears! I don't believe it has any meaning except what the viewer imposes upon it. Visually neat but nothing I would ever want to see again.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a 2001 Marvel Treasury Edition by Kirby?


Edo Bosnar said...

I went through a serious Arthur C. Clarke phase when I was in high school, and read both the short story, "Sentinel" and the novelization of 2001 before I saw the movie for the first time soon after. I admit that at that age I probably wouldn't have appreciated the movie as much if hadn't read Clarke's prose versions first. Regardless, I loved the movie and have watched it several times since. I agree with Zirgar, the imagery is almost mesmerizing at places.
And Tom, yes, Kirby not only did a 2001 Treasury Edition, but also a series, which is where Machine Man was first introduced.

Doc Savage said...

Sure is and it's better than the movie!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Edo. I didn't recall the 2001/Machine Man connection.


david_b said...

I loved the movie early on, basically eating up any/all sci-fi as a youngster (yes, from the files of 'all we had back then'..).

I'm in love with the 2001 Moon Shuttle, a nice predessor to Space:1999, which in all frankness, it's obvious stepchild. I often describe 1999 to folks as '2001 meets Outer Limits'.. Always wanted that model, and love seein' websites detailing restoration modeling efforts.

I enjoyed the movie itself more so as 'an event' rather than a 'proper movie'.., and it's another of my DVDs I typically take with me on military trips to watch at night. Typically on the bigscreen at home, I slip it in and watch the last half-hour of it alot, just to enjoy the surreal imagery, which I often slept through as a kid in the movie house (or on late night TV showings).

As for it's relative importance, hey it was 1968.. An AWESOME year for movies like POTA, 2001, Head, Green Berets, you name it..!!

Karen, that must have been SO FRICKIN' awesome to see 'em both up on stage. Hope there's some video on youtube taken of it.. Not into Monstercons, but would have flew to see them together.

Similarly back in '94 there was the 25th Anniversary of Apollo 11 here in Oshkosh, WI with 20 of the original Apollo astronauts in attendance. You wanna hear some great humor back and forth..? How about 20 or so mostly former fighter pilots. It was so awesome, it had GMA's David Hartman MC'ing..

As for meanings within the movie, I enjoy it's broad appeal to folks who like to draw their own conclusions, plain and simple. It was made in an age of cinema where you didn't have to be confined to plots, character development and explanations. It was 'freedom of camera, freedom of expression', take it or leave it.. In many ways, we've come back around to the more calculated, contrived film-making to insure max profits for the accounting offices.

I don't consider this a good trend.

mr. oyola said...

Love it. Fantastic movie in general Great stoner movie, too.

I have lost track of how many times I've seen it, but did get to see it on the big screen once at a midnight screening six or seven years ago.

Useless Tidbid: Kier Dullea is an alumnus of my high school.

Garett said...

Good show, but I have to be in the right mood to see it. I prefer Planet of the Apes.

I knew Keir Dullea from watching the TV show The Starlost as a kid. Here's the series pitch by Dullea, where they mention 2001 a couple times:
Douglas Trumbull, who did the special effects in 2001, is also in the clip.

So for 2001's meaning--humans are reborn into a higher life form, just as the apes became humans? The computer "dies". It was our highest form of technology, after starting with simple tools like the bone. Technology has taken us through phase 2 of our evolution, but to move into phase 3 we must go beyond it. The psychedelic trip at the end and mysterious changes in place and age go beyond rational/technological thought.

Inkstained Wretch said...

I saw Dullea about a decade ago in at the Folger Theater in Washington, DC in a revival of the Little Foxes. He was very good as a dying southern gentlemen -- about as far away from 2001: A Space Odyssey as you can get. The playbill noted that he appeared in the film but didn't make a big deal about it. I wonder how many people in the audience made the connection.

ZIRGAR said...

I have the entire run of Kirby's 2001 Marvel comic :-)

Karen said...

I vividly recall my Dad watching 2001 when it first came on TV, and his annoyance with the ambiguity of the ending. I was too young to really understand what was going on (I fell asleep during it, I just liked the apes at the beginning)but I could sense his frustration. Years later, I understood why, but it never bothered me that much. I enjoyed the visuals enough to not worry so much about "the big picture."

Dullea reminded the audience at Monsterpalooza that all effects were done in front of the camera, there were no computer effects back then. He told us that for the scene where Dave is blasted around in the airlock, the set was actually a three story tall cylinder, and he was secured at the top by piano wire attached to his groin! To make it look like he was propelled forward, he jumped down through the set, to be stopped only by a stage hand at the top of the set holding the other end of the wire (which was attached to a rope). Then to be pulled back up, the stage hand would jump down behind the set. Crude but effective! Let's face it, did any of us ever watch that scene and think how fake it looked? I can't say the same about the CGI-laden films I see today.

Rip Jagger said...

2001 is a sci-fi monument for sure. My favorite parts though aren't the ones that get talked about most of the time. The primitives get a lot of attention and they are cool, and the HAL stuff gets lots of chatter too, deservedly so. The psychedelic stuff in the movie is overrated a bit I think. I always get a bit bored with it before it winds down.

My favorite part of the movie though, and the part I will always always watch when I catch this on television is the middle section when Floyd is flying to the Moon and later when he and his associates go to see the monolith for the first time. That section is as pure science fiction as anything ever committed to film. Love it!

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Definitely agree with Rip about favorite parts of the movie: the first time I saw it, I just loved the sequences on the moon, and the initial phase of Bowman and Poole's journey to Jupiter.

Anonymous said...

The movie came out just in time for my ninth birthday, and my older sister made me an offer - either a Snoopy book, or she'd take me to see 2001....there was no hesitation!

B Smith

david_b said...

Rip, totally agreement there, typically the DVD chapters containing those segments are where I start watching as well.

Karen.., hold on there.., I never thought that scene 'looked fake' ~ On the contrary, it's probably the one of the best shot (and only action) sequences in the entire movie. Between that and the stewardess (now 'flight attendant'..) turning upside down were both spectacular.

Karen said...

Sorry David, maybe I phrased that badly. What I meant to say was that scene did not look fake!You never even thought about it while watching it, you just accepted the veracity of it. Which is very different from many of today's films. There's something to be said for practical special effects.

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

Ah, sorry, now that you explained further, I see now how you meant it.

Just one of the coolest scenes of any sci-fi film, in my opinion.. Frankly I feel sorry for any actors who are scripted to plunge, then get hoisted up by harnesses to film suspension scenes..

Dullea must have had some pretty sore neck and back muscles after that.

vancouver mark said...

I read the book numerous times before the movie was shown on TV. I actually found the movie a bit anti-climactic after loving the novel so much. The movie has a coldly detached, almost dehumanized quality to it that was a bit off-putting to me at first. I do like it much better after several viewings.

For what it's worth, 2001 is central to most of the moon-landing hoax conspiracy theories. It purportedly provided the cover for Kubrick's secret production of a fake lunar landing, basically filming scenes during the day and calling the settings Clavius or Tycho, and then filming a very different production after hours and calling it Tranquility base.


Edo Bosnar said...

On the subject of Kubrick and the moon-landing "hoax," there's this really funny French mockumentary on precisely that topic called "Dark Side of the Moon." Worth watching if you haven't already seen it.

Joseph said...

I saw it for the first time (at the ripe old age of 40) almost exactly three years ago. Even though I was familiar with all of the basic elements and famous scenes (thanks mostly to the Simpsons and Airplane), I was entranced and fascinated. Such a wonderful movie that continues to stick with me.

Just loved the Kubrick cinematography, too. If anyone else made it, it would be completely different.

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