Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Sci-Fi

New for 2013: An In-Depth Analysis of Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey 164

Posted by timothy
from the clarke-was-involved-kubrick-was-committed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Long time /. member maynard has written one of the most obsessively detailed and extensive analyses of Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey seen in some time. At more than 22,000 words, it contains still images, film clips, musical score selections and copious references, including by Piers Bizony, author of Filming the Future, Nietzsche, Foucault, Freud, and film theorists like Bazin, Kracauer and Zizek. It's already gained some notoriety, having been retweeted by Nicholas Jackson, former editor of the Atlantic Monthly and Slate. Anyone who loves the film or SF in general should find this an amazing read!" I don't know whether it can topple my all-time favorite analysis of 2001, Leonard F. Wheat's Kubrick's 2001: A Triple Allegory .
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New for 2013: An In-Depth Analysis of Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    as this analysis.

    Remember the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen picks an argument with a man showing off his knowledge of Marshall McLuhan?

    • ah, Marshall McLuhan...confusing the hell out of undergrads studying Comm Theory with one quotation...

      I'm going to have to check out Annie Hall now.

      FYI, McLuhan's quotation, "The medium is the message" is a tautology. It's like saying on the topic of candy, "The shape is the taste"

      skittles and M&M's have the same shape, but very different tastes...what I mean is, McLuhan's quotation is only erudite if you take a ridiculously reductive understanding of communication theory...

      My response to McLuhan when I

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:28PM (#44400583) Journal

        I'm sorry but I have to agree with Confused Matthew [confusedmatthew.com] that 2001 sucks balls. You look at Kubrick's entire body of work there is ONE that stands out like a sore thumb as being completely unlike the rest, like the old Sesame Street "one of these things is not like the others" and that is 2001.

        With all his other works you had story, characters, plot, or sure it may be a dark or twisted story but its there, if you cut out all the "crap floating in space to music" where there is NOTHING happening but a ship going from one place to another place with little to no dialog? You'd lose a good 70%+ of the movie. I truly believe he became so enamored of the effects, which to be fair had NEVER been attempted anywhere close to that level of realism before, that he simply put everything else on the backburner and never came back to it. And the man was never a good writer to begin with, watch the afterword at the bottom of the link I posted for a piece of an interview with Steven Spielberg after Kubrick's death, where he can list point after point in favor of Kubrick as a director but when it comes to his writing his details on his praise all end and he comes up with an excuse instead.

        So I'm sorry Kubrickians but there is a REASON why nobody else has made a film in the vein of 2001, because anybody else would have been called to the carpet for making a movie with no plot, narrative, story, frankly if it wasn't for the (sadly too damned short) parts with HAL there really wouldn't be any real characters at all, just bland empty vessels. It reminds me of how nobody but Terrence Malick can make a Terrence Malick movie because only Terrence Malick gets a free pass from the critics to be as pretentious as he possibly can without getting called to the carpet.

        Just look at the opening of Matthew's 2010 review [confusedmatthew.com] where he simply reads POSITIVE reviews of 2001 and shows how they are almost word for word identical to NEGATIVE reviews of other movies, Kubrick was one of the handful of artists that were/are "critic proof" but with 2001 you have something a little dark and ugly because many of those critics use it like the emperor's clothes, such as what Terry Gilliam [blip.tv] does here, basically making it sound like those that don't love and watch 2001 from end to end (honestly I haven't met anybody who doesn't fast forward through the draggiest parts to get to HAL) are basically rabble who just "don't get it".

        So I really don't get how a director becomes "critic proof" but I think that is the case with 2001, what would be considered a negative in any other film, dragging scenes, no real narrative, bland characters, scenes continuing well past any need for them to, is somehow a positive when it comes to 2001. No film before or since that I know of has been given such a huge get out of jail free card and the fact that it is so beloved to this day really baffles the hell out of me.

        • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:43PM (#44400703) Homepage

          (honestly I haven't met anybody who doesn't fast forward through the draggiest parts to get to HAL)

          Well, you haven't met me, but if you're talking about everything between the ape men and Discovery then those happen to be my favorite parts of the film. My absolute favorite scene, in fact, is when Heywood Floyd runs into the Russian scientists at the Pan Am lounge on the space station. And if you want to see why these scenes are absolutely essential to 2001, look no further than the film 2010, which completely fails to understand anything about the earlier movie and portrays the Heywood Floyd character -- and everybody else, for that matter -- as a bumbling incompetent who couldn't survive an airline flight to Greece, let alone an interstellar voyage.

          • by ctmurray (1475885)
            For some reason the furniture and decor of that scene in the space station (white floor, walls and bright red '60s funky furniture) has become popular . The main building at work has been completely redone in this style. Also a new library at UNC. Really awful looking and useless.
            • What always amazing me is how incredibly cool looking but uncomfortable those '60s furniture were. Bean bag chairs and cool looking seats that give you back pain after an hour or so.

              • Somebody should repro the tables from the Korova Milk Bar. Milk dispensers too.

                • +1.

                  One thing that disappointed me about A Clockwork Orange is that it didn't follow Burgess' book closely enough. Another is that Walter (Wendy?) Carlos' music wasn't ready to score movie.

                  Overall, I did enjoy it, though.

                  • Oops... s/score movie/score the movie/
                    • I thought the score was brilliant. Whatever Carlos/Garrison called it's self back then.

                      IIRC the movie only left out a couple of scenes. Where the booky dude gets beat and the unique books destroyed, then later when he takes his revenge on lame Alex. One of the closest film adaptions I've ever seen. Then again it's been decades sense I read the book, but I remember my impression of how true to the book the movie was.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Thank you. That whole Russian dialog is wonderful. They act as if they're onto something, and Heywood responds appropriately, everybody going through motions while everybody knows it's really about something else, but what? The Russians wanna know badly.

            Do they suspect something more than a disease outbreak? How is Heywood's response to be interpreted depending on which view the Russians hold?

            Watching 2001 is like watching Citizen Kane -- Just looking for near infinite numbers of little film tricks here

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          ..but it's a great piece of crap floating in space.

          as a movie like that, it's great. the story didn't have a leg to stand on.
          I even read the book as well, that didn't have a leg to stand on either, so it's not like I didn't "understand" the story or shit like that, there just isn't that much of a story in it beyond the alien card they played. but it was a greatly done movie about space and tech - too bad they had to play mystery aliens card for the plot.

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:03PM (#44403215)

          POSITIVE reviews of 2001 and shows how they are almost word for word identical to NEGATIVE reviews of other movies...

          what would be considered a negative in any other film, dragging scenes, no real narrative, bland characters, scenes continuing well past any need for them to, is somehow a positive when it comes to 2001. No film before or since that I know of has been given such a huge get out of jail free card and the fact that it is so beloved to this day really baffles the hell out of me

          It baffles you because, as Gilliam says, you don't get it. And you won't get it after reading this. But you should be less baffled. Audiences didn't immediately get it either - it started slowly.

          The movies accused of having bland characters and no narrative were either trying and not managing to, or didn't have anything else to fall back on. Hence the negative reviews. And I think you are underestimating the "nothing" where things are happening. Consider for a moment a "movie" told in snapshots - kodak pictures, or slideshows, Maybe background music, but no dialog. I remember maybe Google+ having an ad where a dude gets added to a "friends" circle, and they end up married - just in very simple acts like clicking and dragging. Used correctly, these methods can be very powerful.

          For popular audiences (the rabble), the 20 minutes of "nothing" at the beginning set it apart from anything they ever experienced - and the stillness and quiet and loneliness of space is really conveyed by the atmosphere of the whole movie - not just a few scenes here and there. The bulky space suits and slow motion are embodied by the film. The lack of flashy personalities matches what we would expect for scientists on a boring flight. Calm, reasonable, rational, and almost sterile.

          For more astute observers, a lot of detail and information are conveyed when there is seemingly nothing else happening. Especially when you look at personal interpretations such as this analysis - so many people have strong feelings about their interpretation, when it is based on information they got not from the film (or it would be indisputable) but from their interaction with the film.

          You don't get it because you didn't interact with the film - you just watched it. And that's not your fault, or a deficiency on your part - I have watched other movies the same way and don't "get" them, which is why I understand where you are coming from.

          In fact, the shear number of treatises on meaning in the movie shows how much information was conveyed without having much dialog. The plot was able to be furthered without dialog to explain what was happening. The characters did not have to evolve and be rich and multi-dimensional, because it is the atmosphere, and specifically HAL, that evolves. The characters do evolve, but it is a quiet, internal change that is either implied or understood. We know that Dave is scared of being killed by HAL - but he is not going to be the stereotypical whimpering woman or big bad ass - no "Imma bust all up in your memory crystals" sound bite, because HAL controls everything and already killed Frank on the mere mention of a possibility of disconnecting Hal.

          That kind of quiet drama is so rare, and often poorly done, that it generates the kind of negative reviews you mentioned. In fact, there are a number of Italian films I specifically remember for having almost nothing at all happening of any substance, but they were extremely well done, and highly affecting. The much ridiculed bag from American Beauty - I recognized it as a very rushed (and therefore uncomfortable) attempt to capture this style of movie making. It had the opposite effect from what was intended, for most people, precisely because this sort of thing is rare in American cinema, and it was crammed in to a movie that did not have the slow pace required. And the dialog was clunky too, which didn't help.

          The remake of Solaris, which is the slowest movie I can think of recently, had dra

        • I have an almost opposite perspective. "2001" is one of only two Kubrick films I am impressed with(, the other being Full Metal Jacket). The "story, characters, plot" is generally an important criteria. In the case of "2001", however, one has to put oneself "back in the 60's" to appreciate that little thing called "doing it first". I saw it "live on the big screen" then and, much like the movie "Woodstock" that followed a few years later, it left a lasting impression.
          .

          "Star Wars", a few years after th

          • Kubrick was a (perhaps "the") master of telling a story through image. I have enjoyed his work, and wonder what else he might have given us, if he were still alive.
            • if he were still alive
              .

              So true. 14 years after he passed away there is a slashdot thread about one of his great movies. I think he also should be given credit for not cranking out 2 and 3 movies a year. Just 16 movies in 48 years, according to IMDB [imdb.com].

          • come up with one or more movies that have held their appeal over 20 or 30 years of re-watching and movie making progression.

            Wizard of Oz. Gone With the Wind. Sword in the Stone. Romeo and Juliet. Taming of the Shrew.

        • Yes, I, too, remember how I felt the first time I watched 2001.

          Watch it again.

        • "dragging scenes, no real narrative, bland characters, scenes continuing well past any need for them to"

          It's not a crime to have completely missed the point of the movie, but you might not want to trumpet it so loudly.

          The whole idea of the "dragging scenes" was realism. Nothing happens quickly under those conditions. Contrary to movies that pass for science fiction these days, which are in fact just basically action flicks set in space, 2001 sought to show what it might really be like to have to live and

      • ah, Marshall McLuhan...confusing the hell out of undergrads studying Comm Theory with one quotation...

        I'm going to have to check out Annie Hall now.

        FYI, McLuhan's quotation, "The medium is the message" is a tautology. It's like saying on the topic of candy, "The shape is the taste"

        skittles and M&M's have the same shape, but very different tastes...what I mean is, McLuhan's quotation is only erudite if you take a ridiculously reductive understanding of communication theory...

        My response to McLuhan when I used to teach Comm Theory: "The message is the message, the 'medium' is the channel by which the message is transmitted"

        I used it to introduce the Shannon-Weaver Model [wikipedia.org].

        The value of McLuhan's quotation is this: it introduces us to a deeper, more complex understanding of Communications analysis...it isn't valuable in and of itself, but it teases us with notions best explained by others.

        Odd, I always took McLuhan's tautology to mean "The transmission method used shapes the meaning of the content". But it's short and memorable. This is kind of like the original 2001 novel; it's compressing a lot of potential information into something fairly short (leaving lots of space in the movie for visual art), and being dense yet vague enough for reams of analysis to be produced out of a dense but lossy source material.

        I've always thought that this is how the best works are created -- spark the inte

        • Odd, I always took McLuhan's tautology to mean "The transmission method used shapes the meaning of the content"

          So, *your* idea is solid...the fact that the channel by which the sender and/or receiver choose to access the information can affect how they interpret the symbols, which drives their social construction of reality...

          yes!

          But McLuhan wasn't saying that in his work. Have you read it? Yikes...it's dense like a philosophy text.

          McLuhan was more in 'TED talk' mode, breathlessly in wonder at the potential

          • But McLuhan wasn't saying that in his work. Have you read it? Yikes...it's dense like a philosophy text.

            McLuhan was more in 'TED talk' mode, breathlessly in wonder at the potential insights gleanable from the act of analyzing human communication with the tools of the network engineer.

            I'd still argue that McLuhan is in the picture, but that quote is very definitely not an accurate summation of his overall message; when I studied what he was doing, that quote was presented and interpreted more as a battle cry to change the way people approached transmission vs signal -- and then he had to contort his logic to attempt to back up that battle cry in any meaningful way (partly because he was only seeing part of the picture and was trying to push a narrow agenda). I'd definitely agree about h

            • I'd still argue that McLuhan is in the picture,

              Ha!

              What's funny is, by my own logic, the fact that you still make that argument makes it true, in a sense...

              Because of what I said here:

              That's *your* ideas...McLuhan isn't in the picture...except that in modern American discourse, his quotation is often mentioned...the continued use of it means it has to 'mean' something...so we project *our* ideas on it...

              I'm giving you the credibility enough to read/think about your posts and ideas...that mental action on my

        • "The transmission method used shapes the meaning of the content"

          Even more than that, the medium defines the content to the point that there is no difference between them. You can easily see it on american TV - it's a very distinct form of crap, and you can easily see that nothing but more and worse of this crap can ever be hoped to be broadcast on this american TV.

          Any medium has certain kind of message(s) it is able to convey. American press on a scale is able to convey american exceptonalism, but unable to convey real critique. Taken as a sum, the message becomes unsep

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:28PM (#44401353) Homepage Journal

        FYI, McLuhan's quotation, "The medium is the message" is a tautology. It's like saying on the topic of candy, "The shape is the taste"

        That word doesn't mean what you appear to think it does.

        I used to teach Comm Theory

        I pity your students. They'd have better spent their time on feminist basket weaving or cetacean poetry.

        • No, what the person you are responding to wrote accurately. You foolishly replied back before comprehending what was being said.
          • Shape and flavor are clearly NOT the same thing, so the comparison is garbage even if the medium and the message are.

            Which they aren't. I can get the news "MSFT tanks 11% on rumors about Ballmer's health" via a newspaper, radio news, TV announcement handwritten note, intarwebz.

            Same message, different media.

            Now run along and deconstruct something, will you?

          • No, what the person you are responding to wrote accurately.

            That's not a correct sentence.

            replied back

            Now that actually is a tautology, well done!

    • by doti (966971)

      Reminds me of the analysis of "Close To The Edge" lyrics.

      http://www.yhwh.com/ctte.htm [yhwh.com]

  • and I might actually finish. As far as OCD dissections are concerned - I salute the author.

    • by donaldm (919619) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:16AM (#44399571)
      I read the book "2001: A Space Odyssey" which was written by Arthur C Clark a few years prior to watched the film when it came out. Personally I did like the film but If I had not read the book I would have found many parts of the film and particularly it's ending incomprehensible. To write a 22,000 work critique on the film to me is rather a waste since the best way of understanding the film is to read the book. Sill I do remember when the movie "Star Wars" (125 minutes long) came out there were many hours of TV time dedicated to how they did the special effects which to me was surprisingly entertaining.
      • I read the book "2001: A Space Odyssey" which was written by Arthur C Clark a few years prior to watched the film when it came out. Personally I did like the film but If I had not read the book I would have found many parts of the film and particularly it's ending incomprehensible. To write a 22,000 work critique on the film to me is rather a waste since the best way of understanding the film is to read the book. Sill I do remember when the movie "Star Wars" (125 minutes long) came out there were many hours of TV time dedicated to how they did the special effects which to me was surprisingly entertaining.

        You couldn't have. The book was written concurrently with the movie and published after the movie's release. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" was the basis for the film.

    • and I might actually finish. As far as OCD dissections are concerned - I salute the author.

      I first read that as "-1 salute the author".

    • aka 'skimming'.... [wikipedia.org]

      the author of TFA definitely babbles on about imaginary correlations to other philosophical ideas...stuff that most likely wasn't on Kubrick's radar screen...but there's good stuff in there...

      he draws out more commonalities between the monkey/bone, humans/nukes, hal/monolith thing and the author summarizes these notions succinctly (when he bothers to try and summarize)

      ex: here he tries to further elucidate his interpretive theory by comparing to other Kubrick films...he summarizes Clockwor

      • by maynard (3337)

        globaljustin wrote: "(when he bothers to try and summarize)"

        That's a fair point. I could cut the word count down significantly and recast several of the ideas into separate academic papers. But I was shooting for a more general audience, one who might need a breakdown of the film scene by scene. Those who haven't seen the film more than once. But I could have done better. Every piece of work has its warts.

        I'm on to other projects now, but may one day revisit the work and attempt a more concise revision.

  • "Drug trip" doesn't appear anywhere. Fail.

  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:47AM (#44399345)

    Toynbee Idea [wikipedia.org]
    In movie 2001
    Resurrect dead
    On planet Jupiter

  • by Hentes (2461350)

    You have better chances finding a needle in a haystack than meaning in Space Odyssey. It's pointless to try and picture the movie for more than the pretty show it was: while it admittedly looks gorgeous even today, it didn't have much to offer beyond the special effects. Space Odyssey was the Star Wars or Avatar of the '60s, the only difference being that instead of relying on simple or shallow story and characters, it did away with those things entirely.

    • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:57AM (#44399919)

      The problem with reviewing or even understanding 2001, today, is that you are critiquing it out of time.

      1st, that it was "all special effects," well, yes, but more importantly they are "accurate" special effects. Even today, 2001 portrays the PHYSICS of space travel better than any other movie ever made. It is one thing to use computers to create "action" with special effects, 2001 portrayed "space." I can't emphasize this enough. In 1969, this was simply revolutionary. Star Trek was fantasy, we had men going to the moon and trek was clearly scifi. 2001, at the time, seemed real and possible. It was science fiction in the classic sense that the science was real and the story was fiction.

      It must be hard for people 40 years old and younger to imagine this period in time. About 12 years 10 years prior, the world changed with Sputnik. We were moving from weather balloons to weather satellites, science was changing everything and we were dreadfully afraid of the Russians beating us. 2001 was a view of space travel attainable from the perspective of the Apollo missions. It was astutely political. It asserted evolution. It worked in "our" albeit future, world.

      Unfortunately, 2001 also suffered from concepts that are difficult to visualize. I agree with another post, it is almost impossible to understand without having read the book first.

      Still one of my "Most Important Movies Ever Made"

      • What blew me away is how real it was, (space is dead silent, the only thing astronauts hear is their own breathing) so real that that the flat screen PDAs were actually used in the Apple/Samsung case to demonstrate prior art. They also enhanced realism by using real products (GE-Whirlpool, IBM, Pan-AM) that were household names at the time.

        Pick up a copy of the book and read the description of the "news pad" device they were using, keeping in mind it was written in the late 1960s. You could dial an electr

      • It was science fiction in the classic sense that the science was real

        Well, except for the "ET made us smart" beginning. And the "God is not dead, he's living on Jupiter" ending.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        even today, 2001 portrays the PHYSICS of space travel better than any other movie ever made.

        well.. yeah.. except that one teleportation-magic-device-slab-of-blackrock. that's the thing, it does display space travel accurately except at the point when it connects to the plot of the thing - well, that and the murderous robot nobody back at earth seemingly understood how it would act. so just the two things which make it into 2001 and not a scifi what if documentary

    • by nigelo (30096)

      I disagree.

      I'm sorry you didn't like the book, but if you did, you might see that the enjoying the film pretty much requires you to like the book.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        I'm not sure I agree with this.

        For starters, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called "The Sentinel." Clarke wrote the novel at the same time the movie was being made, and it was actually released after the movie, so it's essentially an adaptation of the film and by no means essential to appreciating or understanding the film.

        What's more, Kubrick has a track record for taking the material he is bringing to the screen and adding to it or taking it in new directions

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wow. Not much to offer beyond the special effects?

      I first watched this in 2008 at age 29. My mind was blown by this movie. While the special effects still hold their own today, one cannot say that they "stand out" any more. Your own example "Avatar" demonstrates this.

      What this movie offered for me was a fantasy where I could explore in my own mind the origin of life, of us, of what being human means. What it means to create, to learn, to destroy, and to choose. How important the concept of choice is. How va

    • Kubrick was a genius. By making the story clear as mud, he left room for argument.

      '2001 a Space Odyssey' is kind of like a more coherent 'Finnegan's Wake'. You can find any meaning you want in the ending of 2001. Infinite room for disagreement. Potential for a lifetime of employment for literature professors, plus the opportunity to torture undergrads who might actually attempt to understand the thing.

    • If you read the book, the movie makes perfect sense.

      Now, I absolutely love 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I will freely admit that its one major failing as a movie goes is that it cannot stand alone. It gives absolutely no context or explanation at all for the "beyond the infinite" section.

      Kubrick must have known that, and to this day I don't know why he chose to make such a lavish film that won't make sense without the book. I suspect a big part of it is that since Bowman is entirely alone at the end, it would

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        But if the book is required to understand the film, why did Kubrick release the film before the book?

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:53AM (#44399379)

    According to his LinkedIn, maynard was a sysadmin in MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Science, and while there, graduated from neighboring Harvard with a liberal-arts degree, presumably through nights-and-weekends courses.

  • And it still has better effects than anything made today and a great story line. (which is open to interpretation)

  • OMFG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maynard (3337) <j.maynard.gelina ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:19AM (#44399591) Journal

    Uhhh. Hi folks!

    I'm in Aussieland, where everything that moves is poisonous, and it's past 11pm. If there are any questions, I'll try to answer as timely as I can. But the wifey has dibs too.

    Pretty fracking cool /. and thanks timothy! And it's aright if you think there's better words out there on the film. Damn thing has embossed more ink on paper than just about any flick in existence. I just couldn't help myself 'cause I love the movie. So I wanted my say too.

    Whoa.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for all the time you put in your research, I read your analysis and enjoyed it very much.
      I myself liked the imagery and the story in the movie, however, its music is honestly quite disgusting... Your analysis gave explanations to the dissonance between the visual and audio elements.

      I also liked the comparison of robot depictions in different stories at the end of the analysis, it is well worth reading in itself!

      • by maynard (3337)

        Ligeti is pretty avant-garde stuff. He makes extensive use of polyrhythm and chromatic polyharmony. His stuff is meant to be difficult listening. Clashing sounds that evoke discomfort and disturbed emotions. I won't say that my interpretation is an 'explanation' for why Kubrick chose that kind of music for his score, but I do think it's fair to say that he chose it on purpose.

        Glad you liked the read!

    • Any comment on this review [amazon.com] of your book?
      • by maynard (3337)

        Welp, I didn't write or read that book. I didn't write the review. And I didn't comment to the reviewer either, though there was one note written by a "James M" who wasn't me.

        (scratches head)

        Can't say much else here. Sorry.

        • I assumed you were the author being featured in this thread. Mea culpa. The commenter I linked to appears to be off the boil, yet Amazon is featuring her comment. Anyway, sorry to have thrown all that at you...
          • by maynard (3337)

            I wrote the 2001 essay featured here, but I didn't write or read the book you linked to at Amazon. Nor did I write the review comment.

          • by maynard (3337)

            OK, so I get it now. Timothy linked to a /. review of that book in the submission intro, and you linked to an Amazon review of that book as well. But the book wasn't written by me. I got confused.

            However, I read the Amazon review and thought - beyond her criticisms of a book I haven't read - some of what she said about the movie was very interesting. I'd love to read her essay on 2001 and will definitely do a google search and look for it. I suspect she'd trash my work, but also believe that in her criticis

  • ...I've just started reading it, and I'm not sure how seriously I can take a piece that purports to be an in-depth commentary yet can't even spell Arthur C. ClarkE's name correctly.
    • by maynard (3337)

      I own many of Clarke's books, including 2001. I'm sorry to say, but I think you should check your sources on that one. See here. [amazon.com] Further, I checked the essay source and found 26 instances of the name "Clarke" and no misspellings of "Clark". Can you quote a portion of text where you found the error? If so, I'll fix it. -M

      • by amacbride (156394)

        Um, in the very first sentence:

        Stanley Kubrick's most popular and enduring film is 2001: A Space Odyssey, a work he co-wrote with noted Science Fiction author Arthur C. Clark. It's considered among the best in the genre.

        Sorry to sound snarky, but that combined with the initial quote didn't start me off with a particularly favorable impression. I reject the premise that there is "commercial film" as opposed to "real film": there is a continuum of works, making use of various techniques to a greater or lesser

        • by maynard (3337)

          amacbride wrote: "Um, in the very first sentence..."

          You're right and fixed. Thank you! It's the only spelling error of the man's name in the essay. Copyedit errors happen.

          "Furthermore, I think 2001 the film works precisely because of the tension between Clarke's fundamentally optimistic view of human nature, and Kubrick's pessimistic one."

          Read on and I think you'll find we're very much in agreement on that point. -M

  • Analysis (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know whether it can topple my all-time favorite analysis of 2001, Mad Magazine's "201 Minutes of Space Idiocy" [tumblr.com].

  • What might have been insightful commentary was undermined by the sexist wisecracks under the pictures, so I stopped reading.

  • Any symbolic or allegorical content that requires decades to decode is of no interest or relevance to anyone. If that was the intent of the work, it has failed. When all is said and done, 2001 is a generally well-made (for the time) and entertaining SciFi that has some significant plot holes and problems.

    • Any symbolic or allegorical content that requires decades to decode is of no interest or relevance to anyone. If that was the intent of the work, it has failed. When all is said and done, 2001 is a generally well-made (for the time) and entertaining SciFi that has some significant plot holes and problems.

      Shakespeare's definitely of no interest or relevance to anyone then. His works have been analyzed, decoded and reinterpreted for *centuries*. Like Shakespeare (or art that's more abstract), you can walk away from 2001 it with just the surface story, or you can dig deeper to find additional layers of meaning. The meaning may or may not be what the creator intended, and can be shaped by biases of the person and what period they live in, but if it makes enough people sit back and seriously think about it, it h

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Apparently, you can't even understand a simple sentence. I didn't say that it was useless to use artistic works as the basis of further reflection or creation. I said that if an author puts content into a work that takes others decades to decode, then the author did something wrong.

        Shakespeare, Clarke, and Kubrick were competent artists, and you can be sure that any meaning they intended you to find in their work, they have made pretty clear. Any meaning that takes you decades to discover is not meaning the

        • Apparently, you can't even understand a simple sentence. I didn't say that it was useless to use artistic works as the basis of further reflection or creation. I said that if an author puts content into a work that takes others decades to decode, then the author did something wrong.

          Ah I see. I guess I didn't decode your original sentence right away...

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            True, but decoding Shakespeare or 2001 doesn't mean that everbody decodes it quickly, it means that some people decode it quickly.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Any symbolic or allegorical content that requires decades to decode is of no interest or relevance to anyone.

      That's it, everybody! Last one out, get the lights.

  • >> In almost every way this film should have failed. But it didn't. Instead, it's considered a great masterpiece. Why?

    Because people would be too embarrassed to admit that they found it slow-moving, impenetrable, and dull?

    I just watch it for Leonard Rossiter -- Rigsby in space!

    • As I said above; it's the 'Finnegan's Wake' of science fiction. Incoherence leaves the human brain room to find false patterns then argue about them.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:24PM (#44400967) Homepage

    Read through the review. Not impressed. It has the requisite references to Nietzsche and Focault found in too many pretentious philosophy papers. There's obsession over the movie's presentation of zero-g and rotating space station issues, as if those had great philosophical import. In reality, they're severely practical - 2001 was the first movie with the budget to show space realistically. (And one of the last to try.)

    There's a long analysis of Hal 9000's motivations, with much emphasis on Hal's growing "self awareness". This misses one of the big points of the movie - Hal had been ordered to make the mission succeed, and that goal had a higher priority than keeping the crew alive. To academics today, that's an alien concept. It wasn't alien in the 1960s, when there were still many WWII veterans around. See "Twelve O-Clock High" for a clear expression of the "mission comes first" mentality. Or "633 Squadron", which is even clearer about the need to send men to their death just to advance the tactical position slightly. Or, if you're in a hurry, read "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" [wikipedia.org], which is a five-line poem. Those were understood concepts for those who lived and fought through the first half of the twentieth century.

    The paper has yet another attempt to explain the ending. Clarke himself once did, and that's probably the only explanation worth reading. Realistically, the ending looks like a writer getting stuck. Some writers and directors have a real problem with endings. Woody Allen was famous for that. Good writers try to avoid pat endings, but alternatives may just lose the audience. That's 2001.

    Anyway, that long review is much less profound than it would like to think it is.

  • That when encountering advanced alien civilization(s), we will be presented with something that can either be shot in a studio (see the hotel room scene in 2001) or on location (faked beach scene in Contact)

  • ... wrote what is more likely to be the definitive book on "2001 - A Space Odyssey", back in 1968.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard

Working...