2001: A Space Odyssey

“I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do. ”

From 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968

Science fiction movies are very often huge budget films, making it very big at the box office. 1968 has seen a wonderful movie, in the classic scientific fiction category, titled 2001: A Space Odyssey. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and released from the MGM banner, the Metro Goldwyn Mayer combination, this is a film that dwelled on the extra terrestrial life, and artificial intelligence, along with the ideas of evolution.

Written by the director, along with Arthur C Clarke, this is a film that incorporated many special effects and computers, ambiguous imagery that promoted futuristic realism and sound tracks that have dominated the use of dialogues. The film truly had made an epic in sound track also, with the effects reminding us of the ball-room dance music, in addition to the space and whizzing and zooming satellites.

Though there were critics who gave negative reviews on the movie 2001 : A space Odyssey at the beginning of its screening, the audiences with their popcorn, made this movie one of the best ever greatest films made. The movie got nominated for four Academy Awards and received one for visual effects.

The highest acclaim that the movie gained is from the Library of Congress of United States, selecting the movie for preservation in the National Film Archives and Registry, in the year 1991. Warner Bros. Company has remastered the copy without the musich, to open the 350th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Society at Southbank Center, on 25th June, 2010. It is considered to be a great respect, paid to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Initially the movie was titled based on another success epic of 1962, How the West Was Won, on similar lines. The director has even issued a press release, quoting the movie title to be How the Solar System Was Won.

Intending to set their movie apart from those days’ flicks on monsters and sex, one of the pair, Stanley selected the title 2001: A Space Odyssey, which stuck and lead their movie to tremendous success. The analogy was simple, when the director mentioned in his memoirs, the feelings of the Greek, when they set out on exploring Odyssey on the oceans, similar to that of the present days’ people considering space exploration.

There will be some minor changes between the movie and the novel, if one observes with a keen mind, but this is the same for any movie. The novel gives just the basic plot and running of the story, while they take all liberty to adjust their screenplay according the ground reality.

The main short story on which the movie was based according to research information on the film was titled The Sentinel. Other short stories which were used for the film written by Mr. Clarke were Breaking Strain, Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Orbiting, Who's There?, Into the Comet and Before Eden. Mr. Kubrick and Mr. Clarke wrote the screenplay together for the movie according to information obtained about the film.

The 2001 A Space Odyssey movie is said to deal with human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extra-terrestrial life. Special artwork was featured in the film by Roy Carnon. The movie was said to be notable for the scientific realism depicted, and the amazing special effects according to research information. The film is said to have had very provacative imagery and sound in place of the usual method of using narrative techniques.

The 2001 A Space Odyssey film opens with a tribe of early humans who look like apes trying to find food in the African Desert. The Dawn of Man, as this is titled, tells all about the pre-historic man, with his ape-like appearance. They were truly herbivorous, eating and looking like giant apes

One of the tribesmen is killed by a leopard and another tribe drives them from their water hole. Feeling very defeated they find a small exposed rock crater to sleep in. They awaken to find a black monolith standing in front of them. They start jumping up and down and screaming, they then reach out to touch the monolith.

One of the tribesmen learns how to use a bone as both a tool and a weapon to get their food. They then decide to go back to their water hole according to the information obtained regarding the film and they kill the leader of the tribe that drove them away. The leader of the group is feeling strong and he tosses his weapon into the air. This shot symbolizes the discovery of the first tool, an axe. A special effect of an axe, thrown into the air zooms into the next section of the movie, TMA-1. This is the part where there are space stations, flights, US outpost on the moon, etc. A loud radio signal emitting monolith is introduced to the audience in this part. The next is all about Jupiter Mission, followed by the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.

The next scene in the film has Dr. Heywood R. Floyd flying in a Pan Am space plane to Clavius Base on the moon. When he arrives he has a base personnel meeting and apologizes for the epidemic story at the base that had been circulating but stressed the importance of secrecy. He was on a mission to investigate the recently found Tyco Magnetic Anomaly One (TMA-l) artifact which was deliberately buried four- million years ago according to research information on the film.

They all go to see the artifact, a black monolith identical to the one encountered by the apes. They examined the monolith and took pictures with it, as they stood beside it they heard a very loud radio signal coming from the monolith.

Then the film progresses to eighteen months later when two mission pilots and scientists, astronauts Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole are onboard the American spaceship Discovery on their way to Jupiter. Along with them are two other scientists in cryogenic hibernation and Hal 9000, the ship's computer, who is enthusiastic about the mission to Jupiter.

On the ship, HAL reports that there is a problem with the ship's main antenna which Mission control concurs with but states that Hal's twin computer which they are using does not see a problem. Hal wants them to replace the unit, let it fail so as to determine the problem. The two scientists are concerned with Hal's behavior, but they decide to replace the unit according to research information obtained on the film.

While the unit is being replaced Hal cuts Poole's oxygen hose setting him adrift.
Bowman rescues Poole's body but is locked out when he tries to return to the ship. He manages to get in through an emergency airlock. He goes to find Hal to disconnect him. Hal pleads with Bowman to no avail.

Once Hal is disconnected, a pre-recorded video message from Floyd plays revealing the existence of the four-million year old black monolith on the moon. Floyd adds that it has remained completely motionless except for a loud radio sound aimed at Jupiter, this is all according to information obtained regarding the film.

When Bowman arrives at Jupiter, he leaves Discovery One in a pod and finds another
monolith in orbit around the planet. As Bowman approaches he is pulled into a tunnel of colored light and he finds himself speeding across great distances of space, seeing very bizarre and strange landscapes of unusual colors.

He is now a middle-aged man still in his space suit according to research information on the film. He is standing in a bedroom with a Louis XVI style decor. He then sees various older versions of himself changing each time and finally as an elderly man lying in a bed.

At the foot of the bed according to information obtained on the movie script, he sees a black monolith and he reaches out to touch it. As he reaches for it the astronaut is transformed into a fetus-like being enclosed in a transparent orb of light. The new being then floats in space above the earth, looking down at the planet. Thus ends the 200l A Space Odyssey movie.

The film 2001 A Space Odyssey stars Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Douglas Rain as the voice of Hal 9000, Daniel Richter and Leonard Rossiter. Mr. Kubrick's daughter Vivian is in the film but is uncredited.

The film's premier was on April 2, 1968 at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D. C. based on information obtained regarding the film. Gross revenue for the film was cited at $58,715,317

The movie was released on Region 1 DVD a total of four times based on research information. It is said to be one of the greatest movies ever made despite mixed reviews when it was released. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won one for visual effects. The 2001 A Space Odyssey movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, a distinctive honor for any motion picture.

The movie is not just an epic, but a marvelous piece of imagination.

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