And we’re back after a month long break for 31 Days of Horror. I’m still feeling the space theme and I kind of wanted to include this but it’s not a horror movie – it’s much much more. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.
There are a few films that have influenced movies over the years and as we enter an era where there is less emphasis on creating art than there is on creating mass entertainment there seems to be less and less auteurs. They still exist but it feels like the days where a studio would just finance the work of someone like Stanley Kubrick seem to be over. And while you can see the influence a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey has on someone like Christopher Nolan and his Interstellar it’s hard to imagine a studio financing a movie like 2001: A Space Odyssey today.
2001: A Space Odyssey starts at the Dawn of Man. A group of ape men are chased away from their drinking hole. A black monolith appears and one of the ape men starts using a bone as a weapon. The movie then moves to the future where astronauts discover a similar monolith on the moon. It emits a high pitched signal.
The movie then moves 18 months later where the spaceship Discovery One is traveling to Jupiter on a top secret mission. The crew consists of five members but three of them are in cryo sleep. The two awake members are Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood). Running the ship is a computer named HAL 9000 (the voice of Douglas Rain). Things move along slowly when suddenly HAL starts to malfunction.
There is very little dialogue throughout the movie. In fact there is none in the first and last 20 minutes of the movie. Kubrick crafted the film with sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke and Kubrick co-wrote the screenplay and the novel together although Kubrick isn’t credited for the novel. While the novel explains the story more Kubrick wanted to keep things to a minimum. He wanted audiences to experience the film the way they would a picture or a work of art.
The movie when it was first released had polarizing reviews and people seemed to either love it or hate it. The movie wasn’t a hit when first released but it slowly built word of mouth and it ended up becoming the top grossing movie of 1968, besting Bullit and Planet of the Apes.
This is one of the few Kubrick films I’ve actually seen in the movie theatre. Before they shut down the old Coronet Cinemas they were playing classic movies and I got the chance to see a copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen with intermission included. It looked fantastic. This is a brilliant masterpiece of cinema.