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The effect doesn't work. Stanley doesn't mention it again.
October 17, 2013 2:25 PM   Subscribe


 
Thanks so much for posting this. It's quite insightful. Huzzah!
posted by brokeaspoke at 2:38 PM on October 17, 2013


Lost Worlds of 2001... That brings back some memories. I bought a copy from a thrift store when I was a kid and it basically introduced me to the idea that in creating a movie different, possibly just as interesting stories are generated.

I think my favourite concept from it was that the Stargate wouldn't be the Monolith itself but a square hole carved into a moon that went down deeper than the diameter of the moon itself.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


That polka dot man would've been the most 60s Sci-Fi thing ever.
posted by The Whelk at 2:45 PM on October 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


That polka dot man would've been the most 60s Sci-Fi thing ever.

...and would have sent Philip K Dick down into a paranoid spiral par excellence. In VALIS, Dick calls God "Zebra," the thought being that the reason we can't see or experience God directly is that his appearance perfectly matches the background of reality, and that we only see him when he shifts with respect to that background. Trippy.
posted by Zerowensboring at 2:54 PM on October 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


My top three sci-fis, "Roadside Picnic", "Solaris", and "Space Odyssey" all have truly alien aliens. Not knowable or apprehendable. Any attempt to portray them now is as jarring to me as a laugh track is, post-"Arrested Development".
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:03 PM on October 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


That is some good taste in SF you have there.

I only read Roadside Picnic this last year, I think it is a new translation, it is outstanding. Though I don't believe we see any aliens in it, only artifacts, which are strange enough.
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the cover of Lost Worlds of 2001.

I read the hell out of Arthur C. Clarke when I was around 12 or 13. I quite liked the 2001 novel, as well as the Sentinel. I thought travelling to a gas giant was so cool.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:23 PM on October 17, 2013


I loved Lost Worlds too. Though on balance I think not having Bowman's bitchin' motorised surfboard in the film was a bad idea.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:47 PM on October 17, 2013


That movie already looks like it involved an enormous amount of work, then to find out how much time they spent on parts that went absolutely nowhere. Loved the bit about Sagan.
posted by orme at 4:01 PM on October 17, 2013


Why was I under the impression that Clarke didn't like Kubrick and hated the movie? It sounds like he was deeply involved, maybe I'm just thinking of Stephen King and The Shining?

I admit to never having read the book. Is there that much incongruity between the two?
posted by symbioid at 4:05 PM on October 17, 2013


Kubrick initiated the project and brought Clarke on board. In some alternate timeline we could have Ray Bradbury's 2001.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Biggest book/movie difference is the book uses Saturn rather than Jupiter.)
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Biggest book/movie difference is the book uses Saturn rather than Jupiter.)

I would have said that the biggest difference is that the book is explicit about its plot while the movie is a cluster of metaphors designed to generate possible plots in the mind of the viewer, none of which fully explain what is seen.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:29 PM on October 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


The reason for the planet difference is that they apparently couldn't get convincing rings for Saturn.
posted by vogon_poet at 5:02 PM on October 17, 2013


My top three sci-fis, "Roadside Picnic", "Solaris", and "Space Odyssey" all have truly alien aliens. Not knowable or apprehendable. Any attempt to portray them now is as jarring to me as a laugh track is, post-"Arrested Development".

Lem's Law is that any extraterrestrial intelligence is probably incomprehensible to us. Yeah, Kubrick was smart enough not to try do that obvious thing in the end.

(Just to fill in here, "Roadside Picnic" was interpreted in the film Stalker by the director who did the earlier version of Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky. Worth viewing, if you have the patience for deliberate pacing.)
posted by ovvl at 5:10 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually showing the aliens would have been a terrible decision. There's no way they could have lived up to our imaginations.
posted by octothorpe at 6:11 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Worth viewing, if you have the patience for deliberate pacing.

I clearly lack it, but the books are VERY good. For Lem doing incomprehensible aliens I also recommend His Masters Voice.
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on October 17, 2013


His Master's Voice is incomprehensible. As it should be, of course.
posted by ovvl at 6:30 PM on October 17, 2013


Maybe I got abetter translation?

At any rate, I think Lem and The Strugatskys bettered Clarke in this - imagine if Kubrick made a movie with them! It would be like Tarkovsky only watchable!
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to think of Tarkovsky as the alternative timeline Kubrick.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:56 PM on October 17, 2013


Lem goes beyond even the alienness of Solaris in his later Fiasco, where he has this inkling that no matter how alien it is, all life will have been shaped by evolution in some shared way. The alternative is something alien beyond even life itself:

It was only in places where eternal, still death reigned, where neither the sieves nor the mills of natural selection were at work, shaping every creature to fit the rigors of survival, that an amazing realm opened up—of compositions of matter that did not imitate anything, that were not controlled by anything, and that went beyond the framework of the human imagination.
posted by chortly at 7:09 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fiasco is descriptions of a big fock-up on different levels. Good thing they'll never make a film version of it..
posted by ovvl at 7:35 PM on October 17, 2013


octothorpe: "Actually showing the aliens would have been a terrible decision. There's no way they could have lived up to our imaginations."

Oh god, hahaha... Why must you remind me of Signs!?
posted by symbioid at 8:02 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


They had no idea how to end the movie

That much is obvious to anyone who has watched the film.
posted by jcreigh at 9:10 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"...lizards glance at him with little interest, and other mantid-like and globular beings simply ignore him."

He clearly does the same morning commute as I do.
posted by colie at 1:53 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed this article. I particularly liked the influences of modern art in their ideas. For example, this concept art is linked from that article and I can see a bunch of Magritte motifs floating around. In the end the monolith was totally the way to go, but it's interesting seeing the other things they tried out as well.
posted by shelleycat at 3:03 AM on October 18, 2013


Thanks for this, Blazecock---I'd heard tales of the aliens, but never seen so many resources in one place. I'm struck that a filmmaker whose movies come across as so very, very controlled was trying all kinds of crazy things behind the scenes, often not making a final decision until the very last minute.

For those bringing up Tarkovsky: Solaris was allegedly Tarkovsky's response to 2001---the Russian director found Kubrick's film too cold, saying that "I believe the soul will survive in space." But... I've been unable to find a good source for that quote, so it may be apocryphal.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:52 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you think about it, a lot of what you see in 2001 is what Kubrick and his special effects team were able to let you see. Kubrick had the sense to not try to show any visuals that just wouldn't work or be believable considering the state of technology at the time. So we don't see anything on 21st century earth, or a launch of the space shuttle, or The Discovery's launch with its engine's running, or as was mentioned above, Saturn.
posted by octothorpe at 8:04 AM on October 18, 2013


The reason for the planet difference is that they apparently couldn't get convincing rings for Saturn.

Fortunately, Trumbull obsessed over it enough, even after 2001 was in the can, that he went on to make Silent Running.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:36 AM on October 18, 2013


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