Tuesday, 13 October 2015

SPACE ODDITIES: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Fig.1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster

Stanley Kubricks, 1968 sci-fi movie, '2001: A Space Odyssey'.  A visionary piece of film that depicts a storytelling of mankind's evolution and the development of new technology.
Throughout the entirety of the picture, Kubrick paces out his shots, developing a sense of tension and magnitude.

Fig.2. Film Still

'Now consider Kubrick's famous use of Richard Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra". Inspired by the words of Nietzzche, its five bold opening notes embody the ascension of man into spheres reserved for the gods. It is cold, frightening, magnificent.' (Ebert, 1997)

Magnificent is exactly what this is. The grand scale of what the audience is shown before them is overwhelming, with the use of Richard Strauss' music, the viewer is swarmed with tension and a widescreen look at space, the setting for this deliberately dreamy story.

The past, present and future are all shown throughout this film. From the famous throwing of the bone scene all the way up to the psychedelic trip that we are taken on within the climax of the film. An ending that will have you contemplating what you have just seen. A surreal trip, reflecting the era, the 1960's, specifically 1967, the summer of love. A summer that showed thousands upon thousands of hippies culture americans converge within San Fransisco. The use of drugs was during this time seemed to have translated into Kurbrick's work.  
'In particular, the "stargate sequence" was required viewing for viewers under the influence of LSD, due to its abstract depiction of a type of "cosmic consciousness". In fact because the film was about space, cosmic issues, and travelling beyond known perceptual realms, it was no surprise that it was appropriated as a head film. While Kubrick has downplayed the drug connection it nevertheless fed into its marketing campaign, with one poster proclaiming it "the ultimate trip".' (Mathijs and Sexton, 2011) 

A strong use of vibrant colours speeding past the camera, showing a new world to the stories character, a new world that is changed through a jump cut of an eye blinking, blinking into new worlds, a quick glimpse into the real reasons as to why this character is in the position they are in within this part of their story.

Fig.3. 'Stargate Sequence' film still

'If we conquer both time and space, then what? The final sequence of 2001 is speculation through imagination, posting a new xanadu, a world of wonders where time and space no longer exist, just as the rest of the film speculated on carious levels, exploring the new vistas opened up by the encroaching space era' (Milne, 2010)

A world of wonders, the anxieties of the future, something that can be seen time and time again within the sci-fi genre. For example, Fritz Lang's 1927 dystopian, 'Metropolis'.  looming sets and a manic story topped off with an underlining anxiety of technology. Self efficient and intelligent. Just like Lang's female lead, Maria, portrayed as artificially intelligence, Kubrick himself adds this within his film. Hal-9000, a presence that is felt within the story of the film, although Hal-9000 is only seen as a control panel or simply a red light, this red light has a menacing presence from start to finish. 

Fig.4. Hal-9000

"Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye"


Ebert, R (1997) 2001: A Space Odyssey At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-2001-a-space-odyssey-1968 Accessed on: 13/10/2015

Mathijs, Ernest & Sexton, Jamie (2011) Cult Cinema,  John Wiley and Sons.

Milne, T (2010) 2001: A Space Odyssey: Archive Review At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/21/space-odyssey-review-science-fiction Accessed on: 


Figure 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey [Film Poster] At: http://feitheatres.com/somerville-theatre/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2001.jpg

Figure 2. [Film Still] At: https://sjmj91.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/2001space001.jpg

Figure 3. [Film Still] At: https://library.creativecow.net/articles/kaufman_debra/magazine_29_Douglas-Trumbull/assets/stargate-1.jpg

Figure 4. [Film Still] At: https://stillsfrmfilms.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/264.png

1 comment:

  1. An interesting read, and well-contextualised - well done :)

    Just make sure that you have all the info that is required in the bibliography... I am assuming that the source 'Cult Cinema' is a book; if this is the case, then you need to have the page number in the test reference, so for example (Mathijs and Sexton, 2011:26) and you also need some extra info in the bibliography itself, namely the publisher and place of publication - see here - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/36657/Referencing-text-sources-using-the-Harvard-style