Friday, September 02, 2005

"2001: A Space Odyssey" by Stanley Kubrick

The old adage that movie special effects are bound to look dated in the future due to continuous technological advancement evidently does not apply to Kubrick's "2001". The pre-computer-graphics special effects in "2001", viewed on my laptop's DVD player, look as sharp as, if not sharper than, the contemporary sci-fi movie special effects churned out by the likes of George Lucas's ILM. Interestingly, I noticed that even though a computer (HAL-9000, the mainframe badass) plays a central role in this movie, not one keyboard, or mouse, or laptop, or any of the post-Apple-and-Microsoft era products can be spotted in the film, simply because the picture was made in 1968, when Steve Jobs was only 13 years old and Bill Gates, the same age, was programming tic-tac-toe on a computer that was larger than a piano.

"2001" runs 2 hours and 36 minutes, but it does not feel long at all. Kubrick had his dramatist's cap firmly on when he was making this logistical nightmare. I mean the man had to be the king of multitasking. In the movie, the danger posed by an increasingly flipped HAL-9000 is precisely paced and marvelously executed by Kubrick who, during the shooting, must have been bombarded with requests for detailed instructions from the cinematographer, the art director, the set dresser, the special-effects coordinator, the prop guy, the costume person, indeed just about every crewmember.

One website to "geek out" about "2001" is, where you'll find a long list of trivia about the movie, such as this one: "Incrementing each letter of 'HAL' gives you 'IBM'. Arthur C. Clarke (co-screenwriter) claimed this was unintentional, and if he had noticed it before it was too late, he would have changed it. HAL stands for Heuristic ALgorithmic Computer."

1 comment:

gash26 said...

Beautiful review of teh greatest sci fi movie of all times

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