Clark and S. Kubrick – Anthological elegance, case unsolved?
55 years ago, on April 2, 1968, one of the most famous films in the history of cinema, 2001: A Space Odyssey, began to appear on big screens worldwide.
Legend says there are two types of viewers: those who did not understand this cinematic Pandora box and those who claim they did.
The film Odyssey 2001 appeared in 1968, that is, at a time when the real world was conducting an exciting race around the Moon, of course. Space travel was slowly becoming a reality (in 1969 Armstrong set foot on the Moon) and audiences craved space stories. In those 60s, the first Star Trek stories appeared.
Odyssey 2001 is one of the few movies made where both the director and the author of the story are equally known to the wider audience.
The basis for Odyssey 2001 was A. Clark’s short story The Sentinel from 1951. In 1964, Clark and S. Kubrick adapted that story for a film. In 1968 it evolved into the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The film was a great success both with the critics and the audience. It was nominated for several Oscars and won one for visual effects – too few as it would later turn out.
So, what is it about this masterpiece that keeps us on our toes even after several decades since it was filmed?
At first, many pointed out the wonderful special effects in which Odyssey abounds. And yet Odyssey still captivates today even though its effects are no longer as effective as when they were first seen. So, it must be something else, right?
The movie contains almost no dialogue, it is almost fully silent. However, for the intelligent viewer, every scene of this film contains more than meets the eye. The viewer is instructed to think, to draw conclusions.
Some scenes are anthological, like the one at the beginning when the first conscious thought sparks in the head of a primate.
Some other scenes again exude elegance like the one where a spaceship slowly approaches the orbital station with the sounds of a Strauss waltz.
You can’t remain indifferent when you hear your computer telling you that it’s afraid.
However, most critics agree that the film remains unresolved until the end. Some interpret it religiously, others again say that the monoliths have been watching us from the beginning, and that the mission of the ship’s crew to discover the alien force that is watching us. Could that be the case?
Nevertheless, it is said that Kubrick also avoided talking about the meaning of this creative cinematic evergreen. In fact, Kubrick said at first that he avoided engaging in verbal explanations because they tend to sound farcical, whereas dramatization is something you feel.
And Clark himself once said: “If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered.”