In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon's surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be. Written by
Originally, HAL was to be called Athena and have a female voice. According to Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Nigel Davenport and Martin Balsam were hired and later replaced before Douglas Rain finally landed the role of HAL. Davenport was actually on-set in England during filming, reading HAL's lines off-camera so that Dullea and Gary Lockwood could react to them. Apparently, Stanley Kubrick thought that Davenport's English accent was too distracting, so after a few weeks he dismissed him and for the remainder of the shoot HAL's lines were read by an assistant director who, according to Dullea, had a Cockney accent so thick that lines like "Better take a stress pill, Dave" came out like "Better tyke a stress pill, Dyve". Later Balsam was hired and recorded HAL's voice in New York, but again when Kubrick heard his lines he wasn't satisfied, so he finally got Rain to re-record everything during post-production. Rain recorded in Canada, speaking his lines barefoot with his feet resting on a pillow to get the relaxed tone. For the sequel, Peter Hyams' 2010 (1984), the opposite process was used: Rain recorded all of HAL's dialogue during pre-production prior to principal photography. That's why, to this day, Dullea and Rain have never actually spoken directly to each other or met in person. See more »
When Bowman reenters the ship, he is exposed to vacuum for no more than 10 seconds before operating the repressurization valve. Scientific evidence shows that this would indeed be survivable without grievous harm, notwithstanding the sensational depictions in other movies. See more »
The traditional "roaring lion" logo for MGM was not used in this film. Instead, the newly designed corporate logo for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was used, along with the letters "MGM", all in white against a blue background. See more »
Sometimes reading the user comments on IMDB fills me with despair for the species. For anybody to dismiss 2001: A Space Odyssey as "boring" they must have no interest in science, technology, philosophy, history or the art of film-making. Finally I understand why most Hollywood productions are so shallow and vacuous - they understand their audience.
Thankfully, those that cannot appreciate Kubrick's accomplishment are still a minority. Most viewers are able to see the intelligence and sheer virtuosity that went into the making of this epic. This is the film that put the science in "science fiction", and its depiction of space travel and mankind's future remains unsurpassed to this day. It was so far ahead of its time that humanity still hasn't caught up.
2001 is primarily a technical film. The reason it is slow, and filled with minutae is because the aim was to realistically envision the future of technology (and the past, in the awe inspiring opening scenes). The film's greatest strength is in the details. Remember that when this film was made, man still hadn't made it out to the moon... but there it is in 2001, and that's just the start of the journey. To create such an incredibly detailed vision of the future that 35 years later it is still the best we have is beyond belief - I still can't work out how some of the shots were done. The film's only notable mistake was the optimism with which it predicted mankind's technological (and social) development. It is our shame that the year 2001 did not look like the film 2001, not Kubrick's.
Besides the incredible special effects, camera work and set design, Kubrick also presents the viewer with a lot of food for thought about what it means to be human, and where the human race is going. Yes, the ending is weird and hard to comprehend - but that's the nature of the future. Kubrick and Clarke have started the task of envisioning it, now it's up to the audience to continue. There's no neat resolution, no definitive full stop, because then the audience could stop thinking after the final reel. I know that's what most audiences seem to want these days, but Kubrick isn't going to let us off so lightly.
I'm glad to see that this film is in the IMDB top 100 films, and only wish that it were even higher. Stanley Kubrick is one of the very finest film-makers the world has known, and 2001 his finest accomplishment. 10/10.
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