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Old 15-10-2006, 10:09 PM   #1
Eagle
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Default The Space Odyssey Explained

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http://www.kubrick2001.com/

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Old 15-10-2006, 10:38 PM   #2
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I got to page three and gave up. If those are intended as genuine interpretations then clearly he has no idea what the film is about.

If anyone never "got it", I recommend reading the book or I'll explain it via PM.
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Old 16-10-2006, 04:14 AM   #3
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Well... it's an interesting interpretation. I don't think it's the "whole point" of the film, though, and ultimately seems as ambiguous as the film it's trying to explain.
I'm reminded of something one of my college art history profs kept trying to get through to us when interpreting artwork: it's easy enough to look at a thing and say "so what?", but when you have studied it enough that you can no longer ask that question, then you actually understand the thing you're looking at.
At the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, well actually all through it, I could ask "so what?" about what I was seeing. I could think up answers/explanations, some of which were satisfying enough that I couldn't (or didn't need to) ask that question. And frankly, I don't mind that I couldn't always answer that question; I like the idea of different possibilities, different interpretations.
Still, having said all that, I find that while The Space Odyssey Explained is interesting, I find myself strongly asking "so what?" by the end. Maybe the producers shouldn't have implied so boldly that theirs was the ultimate explanation to The Ultimate Trip. But then would any of us have been as inclined to watch what they had to say had they called their project Yet Another Interpretation of Kubrick's 2001?

Oh, one more thing: I got the feeling that some facts were ignored or glossed over in The Space Odyssey Explained in order to drive their point home. I mean honestly, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, had man really lost his sense of wonder regarding the lunar monolith and just "made a video" as The Space Odyssey Explained's producers assert? Think about the trip to the TMA-1 site, where Dr. Floyd muses about the monolith being "deliberately buried"... clearly the implications of those words, the significance of the object, aren't lost on him.
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Old 16-10-2006, 08:41 AM   #4
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Very flash looking, but is that a just case of style over substance.

As DX points out, the book is well worth the time to read if you have never read it before.
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Old 16-10-2006, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
in 2001: A Space Odyssey, had man really lost his sense of wonder regarding the lunar monolith and just "made a video" as The Space Odyssey Explained's producers assert?
No. It's complete baloney. Look at the way Heywood Floyd touches the lunar monolith with his gloved hand. It has his complete attention. The group photo was for the historic nature of the event and to show that they weren't actually doing anything directly to the monolith when the radio signal to Jupiter is triggered, which we immediately see in the next shot as having been triggered by the sunlight falling on the monolith. It's merely a cinematic device. It's been buried by the alien race to act as an alarm clock to indicate when the humans, who they encouraged to evolve four million years ago, have become a space travelling species. They even put it in the centre of Tycho crater, the most obvious ray crater on the moon, the rays of which are almost acting like giant arrows saying "it is here" (discussed in the book).

The stuff with HAL is completely separate from the central thread of the film. I'm not sure there is any hidden meaning to this aspect of the film other than what it portrays.

The only really confusing aspect of the film (and I'd argue, almost impossible to film) is the ending which is explained more thoroughly in the book. The embryonic Bowman is a representation of how Bowman sees himself realising that his previous human form is actually still just an early step in man's evolution and he is but a child still learning the wonders of the universe for the first time. His contact with the monolith/aliens has changed him as greatly as Moonwatchers contact with the monolith in Earth's prehistory. Both the book and the film 2010 touch on the concept that the monolith is a tangible real world object that represents the aliens who after millions of years, may have evolved out of their physical body.

(edited for typo's)
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Old 16-10-2006, 07:49 PM   #6
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My question was actually rhetorical, as I tried to answer it myself in the next line, but thanks for answering, DX! Actually, I already understood most of what you pointed out... I didn't make it very clear in my last post that I had, because I basically wanted to focus on the "Explained" thing, rather than the actual film 2001.

I should also point out that the "Explained" thing completely ignores 2010, which explains why HAL 'malfunctioned' in very clear terms. Granted, when 2001 was made, there was no idea of a sequel, so I guess the focus was on 2001 as its own entity.

By the way, I always liked how Floyd touched the lunar Monolith, mirroring the action of his 4-million-years-distant ancestor. Interesting how, in spite of 4 million years of evolution and technical prowess, man still had as much understanding of the Monolith as did the apemen. Children indeed.

Whatever. As I said before, it's an interesting--if incorrect--interpretaion, but certainly not the end-all one it sets itself up as.
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Old 16-10-2006, 08:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CR
As I said before, it's an interesting--if incorrect--interpretaion, but certainly not the end-all one it sets itself up as.
Verily. Interpretations are often interesting to read, but nothing takes the place of going to the root source.
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Old 16-10-2006, 08:35 PM   #8
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I've implied, but have not blatantly stated, one more thing: an interpretation that ignores facts in order to work is not a correct interpretation.
This applies to anything in life, by the way. Something conspiracy theorists should (but seldom do) bear in mind.




If anyone's interested in some 2001 related sites, here are some links:
http://www.palantir.net/2001/
http://www.2001exhibit.org/index.html
http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/2001/
http://www.underview.com/2001.html#original
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey
And model references:
http://www.starshipmodeler.com/2001/2001ref.htm
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Old 16-10-2006, 09:30 PM   #9
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Sorry CR. My reply was more for those who didn't "get" 2001 rather than directed at your post specifically. I know a couple of quite well heeled science fiction enthusiasts who I work with who surprisingly don't get it. The younger thrill a minute Star Wars generation I forgive but these two are into proper solid science fiction and yet they still seem to struggle with 2001.

My personal recommendation is a book called "The Lost Worlds Of 2001" by Arthur C Clarke. It contains much of the original material that was subsequently excluded from the novel and also includes alternative versions of various sequences and early plot ideas. I rate this book higher than the official "The Making Of 2001" book which seems to be nothing more than reviews of the movie rather than a genuine "making of" book. Since then of course, we've been spoilt with Piers Bizony's "Filming The Future" book which is excelllent and soon there's going to be another book on the making of 2001 featuring hundreds of hitherto unseen photos.
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Old 17-10-2006, 05:41 AM   #10
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Nothing to apologise for, DX. The first casualty of typing (instead of communicating face-to-face) is that each of us knows what we mean, but the tone of voice and body language that might enable us to more clearly interpret each other is lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DX-SFX
...soon there's going to be another book on the making of 2001 featuring hundreds of hitherto unseen photos.
Really? Oooo! (goes off to find more money for yet another thing he doesn't need...)
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Old 17-10-2006, 09:33 AM   #11
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Now that sounds like an interesting new book. Looking forward to that release

I have the excellent Filming the Future which IMHO is a must have purchase for any Sci-Fi fan not just a fan of 2001 and I can highly recommend it. The Lost Worlds of 2001, now there is a paperback I have not looked at for a good many years, I should still have it hidden away somewhere, it may just be time for another read through.
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Old 17-10-2006, 10:09 AM   #12
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I have all these books too...most of them in the loft with about 4000 more.

Looking forward to a new one on 2001 though...you can never have enough books on 2001 !
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Old 17-10-2006, 10:15 AM   #13
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It seems that Piers' book prompted all sorts of people connected to the film, but not approached, to come forward with new material. I forget who's putting it together but Scott Alexander knows all about it.
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Old 19-07-2007, 04:06 AM   #14
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Just a bump to bring this thread back to the fore. (Thanks to Flywestjet for taking an interest!)
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Old 19-07-2007, 04:16 AM   #15
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I've order the two films I liked them so much. I would be very interested to find out more about 2001. I've heard so much about how Star Wars "changed everything" and I can go along with that on a number of levels, but I really think it might have been 2001 that started setting bench marks for others to reach.
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Old 19-07-2007, 04:59 AM   #16
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I'm glad that you bumped up this thread CR, I've learned quite a bit by reviewing it
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Old 19-07-2007, 06:38 AM   #17
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Cool! Please feel free to add to it!
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Old 19-07-2007, 01:57 PM   #18
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Well, just that the real place to start (in an attempt to understand the movie) is the book itself as well as the more in depth books recommended.
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Old 19-07-2007, 02:50 PM   #19
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Well... just to chime in. Kubrick's plan for 2001 was that it would have narration that explained the story. It was to have been a documentary of sorts, with the action playing out in front of the camera and the explanation being delivered via the narration. He shot the whole film and even recorded the narration with that in mind -- but then the narration was deleted.

I love this film, but my humble opinion is that what ended up on screen was a great compromise that left out so much of the story, but left in such remarkable images that people have had no choice but to try to insert meaning where there is none.

There ARE some clues remaining in the dialogue about most of the plot points -- but the addition of so much superfluous material makes the story all that much more confusing. When the recording of Heywood Floyd is played back after HAL is disconnected, he explains that the discovery of the monolith on he moon was known only by HAL and the hibernating astronauts, and not by the Frank or Dave. Earlier, HAL tells us that he has never made a mistake and has never distorted information. Wrong, as we then discover. He has been distorting the information, and we can connect the almost invisible dots and guess that this is what is driving him crazy.

For superfluous, see: phone call to Floyd's daughter. Not only is it not needed, it's HORRIBLE. And "happy birthday, Frank."

Kubrick's visual style also confused the issue. It is the first morning sunlight falling on the lunar monolith that triggers it, but the last shot we see has the sun directly above the monolith in the sky. Then we're left to wonder, what do all these alignments of the sun, moon, Earth, Jupiter and moons and monolith all mean? Well, they mean nothing. But they look terrific.

So the great beauty of the movie for all these years is that people read all this meaning into it. But it's also the curse of the movie, because it is all accidental.
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Old 19-07-2007, 05:05 PM   #20
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I agree about Floyd's call to his daughter being awful. But I think the "Happy Birhtday, Frank" part serves a valid purpose. It shows just how far removed from day-to-day activities the Discovery crew is, and how meaningless those activities become when the astronauts are so far from home. In a sense, they are dehumanized. The sombre music playing during this sequence helps to emphasize that feeling, especially during what should be a cheerful (if terribly sung) greeting from the parents.
Of course, maybe none of that was intended, and I'm reading into it...

By the way, it's neat geting a filmmaker's perspective on this, Ace. Thanks!
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