2001: A Space Odyssey

Okay guys so this contains spoilers. It's made in 1968 so if you were holding out to see it and can't deal with the spoilers, you're just a moron.

So anyway I just watched this movie.

This is the most drug induced bullshit I have ever seen. I could have done without the monkey shit at the beginning. But whatever. Monkeys with clubs can be okay.

Then this guy, who has a family, is investigating some ol bullshit we're not really made privy to. He uses the bell system videophone. Now I have an AT&T videophone (circa 1991). It is nothing like the awesomeness they imply. But anyway, they were right about there being some big old gigantic overpriced phone company in 2001. That was pretty damn accurate. Next thing I know, he's on a spaceship to Jupiter, and dealing with a computer that is incapable of error. Now maybe in '68 they thought computers were ever going to be at this level, but I can't get my computer to work consistently for 3 days let alone work perfectly for a decade as later alleged. And it's 2007.

So they're doing the jupiter thing, and it's some dude's birthday, and they're on the BBC and all that shit. HAL predicts a failure that didn't happen (and shit, I wish my crap did that. I'd deal with that sort of error) and everyone wigs out. They try to scheme some nasty plan behind the computer's back, and like morons, did it where the computer could see their lips move.

So the computer magically offs the frank guy somehow, I saw him trying to change out some component and next thing I know his ass is flying through space. I'm like "okay, whatever, homicidal computer". Then the Dave guy goes chasing his clearly dead friend like a moron, doing so without a space helmet, as the only living person on board. Obviously, no good can come of this. The computer locks his ass out, and he mans up and does this ballsy airlock thing which was pretty decent. Then he shuts down the hal, which was another good move. Now, here's where the movie takes a bad turn.

At this point, the dude should have made it to Jupiter, said "hey, earth, I made it. booyah. Oh, and I'm fucking done with this space program shit. I've got enough life support to get back to earth, because the asshole computer killed my crew. So I'm gonna do that, and I'm out of this shit. Understand? I'm done."
and they would of course say "okay, well, here's the deal, collect some rocks and shit, and head on back. We understand completely."

Then he'd collect his rocks and shit, and go home and hug his daughter, bang his wife, whatever. "THE END". YAY!

Instead, he sees some secret recording that says there's intelligent life. Oh no.

Oh yes. So he gets to jupiter, and another of those rectangle rocks is just floating through space. I was like "shit, this is going to do something fucked."

I was right!

So he's flying in his little spacepod, and suddenly there's literally 10 minutes of trippy bullshit better saved for a OpenGL winamp visualization. Then suddenly he's in a building. Then some old guy that has to be as old as the pope is getting his food on. So he ambles on over to see what mister spaceman is doing. Mister spaceman is gone. Food time again. Then a glass smashes on the floor. Some old fucker is sitting in the bed. He makes a motion like he is about to say "Avenge my death!" and suddenly, the dude at the table is the black rectangle. Then you look back, and old man is some fetus thing in a glowing orb. Suddenly, the orb is orbiting earth, and mister astronaut is evidently irrelevant, as the movie ends with this fetus thing in orbit around earth.

That is damn near 3 hours of my life I'll never get back. I'd watch the middle part, because everyone loves an angry computer that plots shit. But what the hell is with the rest of this movie? COME ON.

Whatever, it's bedtime. I'm going to have trippy nightmares forevermore.

19 thoughts on “2001: A Space Odyssey”

  1. It's art, dude

    It's a mystery, don't you like a mystery?

    I bet you like Spielberg movies where everything is shown and explained and all loose ends are tied up by the end of the movie. That way you can sit and be mindlessly entertained instead of having to actually think about things like 'who We are' and 'where We are going' and 'what does it mean to be human.'

    I happen to like movies that make me wonder 'what was that all about.'

    But I agree on the AT&T videophone. That shit's hilarious!

    1. Re: It's art, dude

      I like real life mystery, to an extent. Because it's a mystery worth solving. Mystery in an art product is not worth my time to solve. I think of mystery in art as a cop out. It's the sign that someone wasn't a good enough artist to send the entire message in their work and still have it look the way they wanted.

      When I want to be entertained, I want entertainment. Not deep thought. I do that during my normal hours. Movies are my intellectual candy. Not good for you, but sweet and satisfying. I want to see shit blown up, I want to see conflict, I want to see resolution. Without those standards, one could churn out anything and say "well, I left it open to your interpretation", which I see as "I couldn't figure out how to end this thing, so I did a lot of crazy shit and let everyone come up with their own ending."

      But yea, AT&T videophone.

      1. Re: It's art, dude

        Regular passenger service to LEO and the moon.
        Permanently manned lunar colonies.
        Permanently manned orbiting space stations with artificial gravity.
        Space shuttles that actually look like they can do Mach 25 on reentry (and presumably don't have frozen, rotting O-rings, flaking foam insulation and faulty thermal tiles.)
        AIs which pass the Turing Test
        Nuclear powered interplanetary exploration vessels with AIs and their own artificial gravity.
        The ability to put people into hibernation/suspended animation

        Leave it to to focus on the AT&T videophone.

        (As an interesting aside, even the videophone was a prop. They first filmed the little girl's side of the conversation, unscripted. Then her footage was projected on the screen, and Heywood Floyd's side of the conversation was written to make sense with what his daughter said.)

  2. The old man in the bed is Dave. The foetus is Dave, imbued with all the knowledge of the Universe, returning in triumph to the Earth. And the Obelisk on Earth, the Obelisk on the Moon, and the Obelisk on Jupiter are the same Obelisk.

      1. Personally, I've always liked the ending, even if it's not all that clear what happens. I suspect that traveling through dimensions higher than we can perceive would probably look quite similar to the psychedelic sequence.

        Clarke always touches on mysticism in his work; ironic, since he is a vehemently professed atheist and yet all of these powerful god-like aliens keep infesting his science fiction.

          1. Clarke was obviously getting senile when he wrote the last two though. Don't even get me started on all the sequels to the spectacular Rendezverous with Rama.

    1. The Russians made a movie based upon the work of a Polish science fiction author? Never knew that. However, all of the Stanislaw Lem I've ever read has been quite good. If was a fiction reader, I suspect he'd find the Cyberiad very enjoyable. It's an epic poem about computers, computer science and the mathematics that underpin it, but in a more whimsical framework.

  3. You prove a point I once made about 2001: A Space Oddessey. Like most Kubrick films, there's a mystique of what's supposed to be happening in the film, versus what we see. I was inculcated with the mystique of 2001 by my father when I watched the movie with him as a young teen. Later, in 2002, after Roger Ebert included 2001 in his Overlooked Film Festival that year, I rented it and purposefully set aside all pre-conceptions and watched the film.

    Like you, I found it almost uniformly terrible. I noticed a strong vein of Cold-War paranoia shot through the film. Why does the government cover up the Tycho monolith on the moon ("the strongest evidence of intelligent life from beyond the earth")? It should be a cause for humanity to rejoice; one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history. Instead, a paranoid government concocts a cover story of an epidemic at the base and locks it down in the manner befitting the X-files.

    Arthur C. Clarke, the author of the novel 2001, said once in an interview that "he wanted to capture the adventure and drama of spaceflight in the film." Well Arthur, you failed miserably; primarily due to the fact that the live-action portions of the film focussing on interplanetary spaceflight focus on the cruise phase of the mission when nothing happens except for the astronauts taking care of the spacecraft and traveling to their destination.

    One of the other big myths of 2001 is that HAL 9000, the AI onboard ISS Discovery goes psychotic. There's actually nothing concrete in the film to back this assertion up. It's equally possibly that Dave Bowman and Frank Poole, the two conscious astronauts, are suffering from mass psychosis/hysteria after HAL's errors with the A.E. 35 antenna unit (which could have been just a normal glitch, and proof that HAL doesn't function "perfectly for decades")

    We never see it, but it's implied (and specifically stated in the book) that HAL used the manipulator claw on Frank Poole's spacepod to sever the poorly designed air hose on his spacesuit during that ill-fated EVA. This killing and the killing of the other three scientists in hibernation are cast in a new light if one assumes paranoia on the part of the human crew. HAL is acting in what would be considered justifiable self-defense, if he were a human. His insane crewmates are plotting to "kill" him and jeopardize the mission.

    Getting back to the monoliths, the hominids (cave men/apes), and all that noise. The monoliths are supposed to be the physical tools of a technological civilization so much more advanced than our own that they've figured out how to convert their consciousnesses into organized energy patterns and merge them with the basic structure of the universe. Clarke specifically states all of this in 2010 the sequel to his first novel. The monoliths are that civilazation's equivalent to surveillance satellites. The "Olduvai" monolith takes the place of the apple in the Garden of Eden, and supposedly conveys technological knowledge to the hominids who encounter it. Note, that they don't seem to use tools until after touching it. The Tycho monolith was buried on the moon and primed to activate when sunlight hit it, such that its radio transmissions would be a sign to its creators that a spacefaring, technological civilization (i.e. us) had excavated it. The gigantic monolith stationed at the Jupiter/Io L1 point was an interstellar communications satellite, among other things, and plays a much more pivotal role in the events of 2010.

    As for Bowman being able to "just go home" much like the crew of Apollo 13 he really can't the same orbital physics which governed them, governs Discovery. He has to wait until a time when Jupiter and Earth are in the proper places in their orbits for him to make a successful return voyage without running out of fuel on the way or being lost in space forever. A picture is worth 1000 words, and I'd be more than happy to demonstrate this to you the next time we meet in person.

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