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Throwing bones in the air as 2001 turns 40
April 3, 2008 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Throwing bones in the air as 2001 turns 40. Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey turned 40 yesterday and Movie City Indie collated a good selection of links about the film and its maker to commemorate the occasion.

Yeah, the links to moviewavs are annoying, but the rest of the content is ace.
posted by slimepuppy (39 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the very first websites I ever visited was this essay by Modemac. Glad to see after 11 years that it's still there.
posted by yeti at 7:52 AM on April 3, 2008


And 2010 is just around the corner.
posted by CrazyJoel at 7:57 AM on April 3, 2008


Whenever 2001: A Space Odyssey comes up I always point people to this excellent Flash animation, 2001: A Space Odyssey Explained. Well worth 10 mins of your time.
posted by oh pollo! at 8:34 AM on April 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I deliberately refrained from watching 2001 for years, so that I could have the experience of watching it, for the first time, on December 31, 2000. I did so.

I call shenanigans.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:38 AM on April 3, 2008


Forty years on, and Hal still won't open those damned pod bay doors.
I had not known (or had forgotten) that 2001 had its premiere at Washington's Uptown Theater. I used to live nearby and saw many films on the Uptown's huge screen. In fact, I was there when they screened 2001 for a special 25th-anniversary event. (I still have the ticket, which featured a shot of the Discovery.) And I saw 2001 there again a few years later when they showed a new 70mm print. It looked great. That may have been the last time I've been to the Uptown, but as far as I know it remains a great place to see a movie.
posted by Man-Thing at 8:55 AM on April 3, 2008


I work in a building at the University of Illinois campus that is an architetural nightmare, though it is claimed (perhaps rightly) that the building's strange design was the result of it being created to house a supercomputer. The grant for the supercomputer supposedly fell through after the university had already started construction on the building, and so in the end they transformed it into classrooms and space for faculty offices.

In 2001 HAL explains that he became operational in Urbana, Illinois, on Jan. 12, 1992 (or 1997 in the movie). I can only assume that the government grant falling through did in the end keep HAL from being built, and so now instead of humanity reaching its next evolutionary leaping point, I instead have a pretty nifty office.
posted by zeugitai_guy at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, yay! I haven't even looked at any of these links yet, but this is great! I love that movie. Thanks!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2008


Oh, yay! I haven't even looked at any of these links yet, but this is great! I love that movie. Thanks!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit

Heh.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:49 AM on April 3, 2008


Even if aspects of that film are showing its age, the sheer precision of every shot and extraordinary attention to detail are what give it a continuing freshness. Clarke's novel pretty much clearly expounds on all the question marks in the film, though some of that is Clarke's own that neither adds or takes away from the open ended metaphorical nature of the final part of the film. Any criticism of 2001 being too long, too quiet, etc really reflect on the critic's inability to properly open up his/her mind and use film as a proper medium for meditation on themes rather than a simple revving up of sensory and emotional noise that passes for most films.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on April 3, 2008


oh pollo!, thanks so much for that Flash link. I hope everyone here clicks on it -- it was frigging brilliant.

And what Burhanistan said.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:08 AM on April 3, 2008


You know, I haven't seen it since it came out. Haven't forgotten much of it at all, although there are movies that came out last year that I can't remember if I saw or not. I know part of this is a function of age, but part of it was the sui generis nature of the film.
posted by kozad at 10:17 AM on April 3, 2008


2001 was the movie that got me interested in movies as an art form, and interested in photography due to the amazing composition. I saw it at my brother's college campus in a small lecture hall. They showed it on a small screen meant for overheads during lectures, and added white butcher paper "wings" to each side. It was well after the theatrical run, probably about 1972 or so. I have never seen it in a proper theater.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:24 AM on April 3, 2008


I heard a lot about this film and many years ago I decided to watch it. I sat through the opening bit with the apes and thought it was a little slow. Finally, the main part of the movie started, and I had a glimmer of hope. But I found the people talking on the spaceship even more boring then the apes and turned it off. I guess you could say I didn't get into it.
posted by demiurge at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2008


Finally, the main part of the movie started...

Dude, the opening shot of the sun moving across the monolith is the main part of the movie!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 AM on April 3, 2008


I sat through the opening bit with the apes and thought it was a little slow. Finally, the main part of the movie started, and I had a glimmer of hope. But I found the people talking on the spaceship even more boring then the apes and turned it off

Yeah, the pace is a little slower than, say, True Lies or Full House. De gustibus...
posted by mr_roboto at 10:50 AM on April 3, 2008


It is hard to know what to do with that big plate of food in front of you after you are used to mommy putting it on the spoon and shoving it to your mouth.
posted by spock at 11:01 AM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, if I hadn't read the novelization, I would have been totally annoyed by the ending.

Even still, it stands as an example of why movies shouldn't be overly-dependent on special effects. That shit will always wind up looking dated.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2008


Nice post. Images Journal has a somewhat interesting feature article on 2001.

Kubrick's assistant (name escapes me now) did interviews with almost two dozen leading scientists in the runup to making 2001, intending to use footage from them as an introduction to the movie. He decided this was a Bad Idea and scrapped it. The footage hasn't been found, but transcripts of the interviews were recently published as Are we alone? The Stanley Kubrick extraterrestrial-intelligence interviews (Amazon UK link). Cool book. There's an interesting story regarding Carl Sagan in the introduction to the book, but I don't want to spoil it for those of you who might read it.
posted by cog_nate at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2008


Sorry, Kubrick intended to use the footage etc. Also, the footage was lost prior to being not found.
posted by cog_nate at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2008


Watching 2001 last month I was struck by the notion that Kubrick crafted an image of lunar landing in the public imagination that made it possible for the U.S. to fake a moon landing. It's like Kubrick's space movie served as a test of the public's suspension-of-disbelief threshold in regard to space exploration. Once they (NASA, the powers that be, etc.) had an example of what people would accept as a lunar expedition, they just adjusted the look of the spaceship and smoothed down the lunar landscape. Imagine it, believe in it, and it just might manifest. I mean, think of the iconic images of the Apollo 11 landing: same camera angles as 2001. Also, 2001 is a great candidate for Dark Side of the Rainbow type shenanigans. For my taste the best soundtrack to pair with the film is your iPod and the "shuffle songs" function. That's all you need: a vast cache of music, probability, and a little belief in magic. Oh, and some LSD if that is permissible to you. When the MGM title screen appears after the overture, start your randomizer and watch in wonder. 2001 is film art, more than a movie. The story as presented in Clarke's novel is beautiful in its own right, and the literal interpretation of the story's events is necessary in understanding 2010, but the ambiguous nature of the film and especially the ending sequence is what keeps the movie constantly fresh for me. Clearly some hold the opinion that the explanation given in Clarke's novel is needed to make any sense of the denouement, but holding to one "right" interpretation of the events is a very limiting way to view the film and its "subject matter." Also, I like to think that perhaps we don't have (intelligible) words for what Kubrick is trying to convey in Bowman's silent withering away into the Star Child. It really is timeless; the sounds, the images, and any messages we can infer from their presentation. Kubrick was the master.
posted by Curry at 12:14 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Years back, Jerome Agel wrote a very good book about the film called The Making of 2001. Worth looking up. I've still got my copy kicking around somewhere.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:20 PM on April 3, 2008


I dig that Ebert quote from the link: "[2001] fails on the human level but succeeds magnificently on a cosmic scale."
posted by Curry at 12:21 PM on April 3, 2008


Watching 2001 last month I was struck by the notion that Kubrick crafted an image of lunar landing in the public imagination that made it possible for the U.S. to fake a moon landing. It's like Kubrick's space movie served as a test of the public's suspension-of-disbelief threshold in regard to space exploration.

This is the only valid response to your statement.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


"2001" formed me. I saw it when it first came out (I was four) and was mesmerized. I saw it over and over, throughout my childhood. For years, it affected my aesthetics. I fetishized all minimalist, smooth objects (like the monolith). I disliked anything rough or grainy. (Eventually, I learned to love roughness and grunge, but it took years).

My Mom wrote a book about the movie.

My Dad was a film historian, and he corresponded with Kubrick.

Year later, as an adult, I got a job at Sotheby's. My office was near the collectables department. I used to stop by there every morning. They always had cool stuff: a Ringo Star drumstick, a Marilyn Monroe dress...

One day, I walked in, and there, on a mannequin, was a "2001" space suit. And in the box next to it, there was a helmet. I couldn't believe it. I picked up the helmet. It was incredibly heavy and totally real feeling (and looking), even close up. I looked around to see if anyone was there. I was alone. So I put the helmet on. I've worn a "2001" space-suit helmet!

One of the experts there later told me that the suit used to belong to some crazy guy who lived in Greenwich village. He used to walk around NYC, wearing it. I have no idea how he got it (since Kubrick ordered all props to be destroyed) or how Sotheby's acquired it.

I took a couple of pictures.
posted by grumblebee at 2:24 PM on April 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


Totally unrelated to the movie, the concept of "2001 turning 40" made me wonder if we haven't been rehashing the year 2001 over and over again (effectively making the year 2001 seven years old).
posted by jabberjaw at 2:50 PM on April 3, 2008


Wow!!!!!
Do you remember the amount of the winning bid?
posted by Dizzy at 2:50 PM on April 3, 2008


I work at Entertainment Tonight, and yesterday Leonard Maltin brought this to my attention.
It was apparently sent to HIM by Joe Dante.

Bay to embark on new ‘Odyssey’ for Warner

Platinum Dunes to produce Kubrick/Clarke redo


BY MICHAEL FLEMING

Michael Bay is in final negotiations to direct Warner Bros’ new version of “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

WB plans a reimagining of Arthur C. Clarke’s classic novel, from his short story “The Sentinel”, which inspired the 1967 Stanley Kubrick sci-fier released by MGM.

Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller will produce through their Platinum Dunes shingle, while Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman are producing for Mandalay Pictures.

Scott Rosenberg (“Con Air”, “October Road”) has completed a first draft and Jake Wade Wall, scribe on Platinum Dunes’ recent reimagining of “The Hitcher” is being brought aboard to begin a rewrite. Other new scribes may be brought aboard as well.

“We think we have a very contemporary take,” Schulman said. “In the original, the computer just begins acting crazy and it was kind of like, why is this happening? This time, there’s a reason why it occurs and (people) have had something to do with it. There’s an environmental slant to what could result in technology fighting back.” Schulman adds that at this point, unlike the original, the entire film is being designed to be set during the titular year, in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion.

The project has been underway for sometime, but was held up due to the hesitations of original author Clarke. His recent death has cleared up matters to the point that the project is allowed to safely proceed.

It is hoped that Bay will begin work on “Odyssey” as soon as he fulfills his commitments to “Transformers 2”. WB has planted its tentpole flag in the July 4, 2010 slot which means that there would be some overlapping on the two projects.

“I am thrilled at this opportunity to improve on this visionary look at the future,” says Bay in a statement. “It’s always been my opinion that (Kubrick) was forced into releasing the film before it was finished. For example, whole sequences don’t even have any sound. And I’m certain he meant to shoot a scene where everything gets explained so the audience can be clear on what is going on. These are fixes to the story I feel we can make while making the experience even more exciting for today’s audience to show what it will be like to live in the year 2001.”

Currently set to play the astronauts Bowman and Poole are Shia Labeouf, who was seen last summer in Bay’s “Transformers” and Zac Efron, who hopes to segue to the project after completing production on “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”. Added to the project is a new character, a female astronaut named Fisher. Jessica Alba is currently in talks for the role. To play the villainous computer HAL, Michael Clarke Duncan, who worked with Bay on “Armageddon” and “The Island”, is currently in the midst of talks. There is no word yet if any original cast members will be enlisted for cameos.

In anticipation of launching a new franchise, Warner has procured the rights to Clarke’s follow-ups to his novel, “2010: Odyssey Two” and “2061: Odyssey Three” to form a complete trilogy. “2010” was already produced by MGM in 1984 but it is expected little will remain other than the titles. Warner is so high on the potential series that the studio has already set a tentative July 4, 2012 release date for “2010”.

Deal comes as Bay, Fuller and Form ready an early May start for "Friday the 13th," New Line's relaunch of another iconic baddie, Jason Voorhees. Marcus Nispel will direct from a script by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift ("Freddy vs. Jason"). At Rogue Pictures, the Platinum Dunes team is prepping an exorcism thriller to be directed by David Goyer and a "Near Dark" remake to be directed by Samuel Bayer. Bay, Fuller and Form are also developing a Universal remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," with Martin Campbell directing Naomi Watts.
posted by Listener_T at 3:24 PM on April 3, 2008


Michael Bay is in final negotiations to direct Warner Bros’ new version of “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Excellent! Really looking forward to both that and the Paul Verhoeven re-imagining of The Magnificent Ambersons.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:57 PM on April 3, 2008


made me wonder if we haven't been rehashing the year 2001 over and over again
Regret to inform we've been doing 1984 instead. "Imagine a boot stamping on a human face...for ever."

posted by kirkaracha at 4:45 PM on April 3, 2008


Excellent! Really looking forward to both that and the Paul Verhoeven re-imagining of The Magnificent Ambersons.


I know you meant it as a joke, but I think this would actually be kind of awesome. Verhoeven is an under-appreciated genius, and probably the best director to pull out the crypto-fascist subtext in Welles' film. Jesus, just think about it: spoiled little Georgie Minafer could be pulled into a G.W. Bush allegory pretty easily; plus there's a theme of technological alienation that Verhoeven would handle masterfully. This is actually a pretty good idea.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:38 PM on April 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The Magnificent Ambersons"--
petty resentments, squandered fortunes, creeping dread.
Sounds like US.
posted by Dizzy at 6:24 PM on April 3, 2008


Bay to embark on new ‘Odyssey’ for Warner

(I'm simply going to proceed with my life on the assumption that that's an April Fools prank: the timing is right.)

I won tickets to the local premiere of 2001. In wide-screen Cinerama. I wore a suit for the occasion.

I was twelve years old.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:27 PM on April 3, 2008


The project has been underway for sometime, but was held up due to the hesitations of original author Clarke. His recent death has cleared up matters to the point that the project is allowed to safely proceed.

Kinda says it all.
posted by tighttrousers at 10:02 PM on April 3, 2008


Leaving the Ambersons to just one director instead of splicing it together with the work of others which is blatantly stylistically at odds with the original material may even be an improvement.
posted by Wolof at 11:22 PM on April 3, 2008


"Even if aspects of that film are showing its age..."
The thing is, it's easy to forget quite how old it is until you watch a few other films from around the same time, especially those involving special effects.

All of Kubrick's films have problems and limitations, but his cold, meticulous attention to detail and composition really pays off decades later when you watch something like 2001 and are still left feeling it's probably the most visually beautiful film ever made. How many directors even try to achieve that?
posted by malevolent at 1:10 AM on April 4, 2008


Michael Bay re-doing 2001? What a really, really, really stupid idea. S-T-U-P-I-D.

Can you say, "Noise in space" ?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:52 AM on April 4, 2008


I once had sex while watching 2001. It was pretty darn good sex.

Thanks, Stanley!

2001 was my favorite movie in my teenage years and it's still one of my all-time faves. I've seen it more often than any other flick.
posted by Kattullus at 10:22 AM on April 4, 2008


I am very skeptical about the Michael Bay story. They only google lead takes me here...

http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2008/03/daily_list_7_michael_bay_remak.html

... where it's clearly a joke. IF this is true, can someone site ANY reputable source?
posted by grumblebee at 11:06 AM on April 4, 2008


It IS a joke.
However, it WAS brought to my attention by Leonard Maltin who DID receive it from Joe Dante. The piece was actually written April 1st by a colleague of mine , who then sent it to a few friends in the industry. One of them posted it to some private message boards and it spread pretty fast. On April 2nd, Leonard was in our office and asked us if we had seen the "Variety April Fool's piece". We said "No" and after he attempted to find it in the trade paper, and couldn't, we showed him my friend's piece: "That's it.", he said. At which point we filled him on on the true provenance of the story. He was duly impressed. "Talk about going viral.", he said. "Well done."
I told my friend that he should take some satisfaction in the fact that he had succeeded in one aspect at least: his work had been received as a legitimate, professional, practical joke.
My colleague's blog Mr. Peel's Sardine Liqueur is well worth reading.
http://mrpeelsardineliqueur.blogspot.com/
posted by Listener_T at 11:54 AM on April 4, 2008


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