A few minutes before I began writing this review, my computer hangs. I try clicking the mouse button repeatedly, press random keys of my keyboard and hope something happens. Nothing does happen. I swear at my computer and give the monitor a few hits here and there. Nothing happens. I begin requesting the computer to start and let me write, for there are too many points treading through the expanse of my mind right now and if I don’t jot down them right now, I won’t ever be able to write this review, EVER. The screen flashes. The computer has regained its normal functionality. I begin wondering. Did it hear my pleads ? Did my computer just sense my feelings, my anguish ? I will never know.
These events are trivial, but if considered in a wider expanse hold an uncanny resemblance to the problems faced by the astronauts who are traveling to Jupiter on Discovery One. The computer system that governs the functioning of Discovery One, HAL 9000, has gone rogue. Catch is HAL 9000 presumably has feelings. The astronauts have planned to disconnect HAL’s logical thinking capabilities, his emotions. But unfortunately, HAL has another plans.
Stanley Kubrick, more than a genius, was a visionary. Towards the end of the movie, Kubrick is naked in front of his audience, a man who has lost all track of any limitations he might hold in his thoughts. Here he is, in front of his audience, a man unable to conceal the unimaginable depths of his vision. In 1968, two events concurred, one in the literary field while other in the cinematic field. The event in the literary field was the publication of Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots Of Gods and the event in the cinematic field was the release of 2001. These events coincide due to their purpose. Understanding human existence.
2001 and The Tree Of Life are the only movies which have attempted to put in a nutshell, the whole human existence. Maybe my polarized approach towards The Tree of Life is due to clash of ideologies of mine and Malick’s. The Tree Of Life is an ode, an affirmation to God and how he governs us. I personally relate more to 2001. People have often criticized 2001 for being impossible to comprehend in its end. I personally prefer that ending. I feel as if Kubrick, like me, is agnostic. The ending signifies that the very existence of our realm is inaccessible to us. So obviously, it is not for everyone !
The movie ventures through two time lines : The Dawn Of The Man and 2001. The only connecting thread is a mysterious black monolith. What does it do ? Absolutely nothing. It drives human curiosity is all. It remains beyond comprehension for humans and drives them towards other discoveries. If to symbolize anything, it might suggest a warp of time itself, where it flows seamlessly. That probably explains the movie’s slow pace. It is basically the fastest paced movie ever made. It traverses through the entire human existence within 142 minutes. What more can Kubrick do ?
2001 is less a movie, more an experience. The classical music draws you in and the slow pace puts you with these characters. Seriously, I felt a downward pull when the Moonbus lands. It lets you inhibit its astounding world. And the meticulous amount of detail given to the whole surroundings is astounding. For example, consider the scene where the space shuttle carrying Dr.Heywood lands on the Clavius Base. Kubrick very well knows the visual effects are sloppy and that the audience may find it cartoonish. But to project an image of an enormous spacecraft, he lets the background do the work, which is filled with projections of people, minuscule in their sizes which gives us an idea about the astounding size the shuttle may have, which is similar to the effect Jonathan Swift gave us about Lilliputians dealing with Gulliver, a giant in their eyes, in Gulliver’s Travels.
I had mentioned Chariots Of Gods before. Why ? Because here, in this paragraph, I tend to explain my analysis of 2001. So, for those who haven’t watched 2001 yet, SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH. SKIP TO THE NEXT ONE. So, the movie ends with David finding himself in a pod. Here he experiences a surreal experience by viewing himself in different stages, his present age, his old age and his birth. The monolith has been constructed and laid out by extraterrestrial beings. In the book Chariots of Gods, Erich had stated that the Gods that we worship, whom we attribute and thank for our intelligence, who seem to have laid out the very expanses of our planet are actually aliens. Erich Von Daniken says that aliens must have visited our Earth, millions of years ago, reproduced with the attractive females of our species, and in turn produced us, a combination of beauty and intelligence. 2001 seems like an ode to that idea. Kubrick has contemplated the aliens of higher intelligence as the God here and the encounter with monoliths are spiritual encounters in the scientific way. They are similar in nature to tesseracts and help to travel seamlessly through the expanse of time and lets David experience the universe in its full splendor, right from its inception to its present state.
2001 : A Space Odyssey may put some to sleep, but if you are one of those lovable, patient viewers who do not look at cinema just as moving images which flash on the screen for entertaining its viewers, you are in for an experience. Jean Luc Godard once said ,’Cinema is truth twenty-four times per second’. 2001 : A Space Odyssey doesn’t attempt to entertain its viewers at any point. It only attempts to enlighten.
Rating : 9.5 / 10
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