Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I watched “2001: A Space Odyssey” last week and – yawn – was it great! Okay, that’s a lie. I didn’t really care for it. I remember seeing it as a kid and thinking it was the longest movie in the world. The second time around my impression was the same. I understand it’s supposed to be a classic tour de force in moviemaking – but I finished it (twice) feeling like I missed something. Not exactly the feeling you want to walk away with after giving nearly three hours of your life to an appliance. The movie was so long it actually had an intermission, which I imagine gave folks in the audience a chance to wake up their dates and compare notes.

Will someone please explain to me the idea behind the star child thing? What’s with the giant fetus floating in space? The monolith in the bedroom? The acid trip on the surface of Jupiter? I didn’t understand any of it. I watched the scenes over again, jumping around from track to track trying to piece together some kind of understanding. Nothing. What the hell is going on here? It all seemed very Pink Floyd to me. I kept watching, patiently watching, very patiently watching...waiting for the movie’s many mysteries to unfold, leaving me inspired with a great sense of awe for Arthur C. Clarke's visionary storytelling.

But as the credits rolled I realized I had far more questions than answers. My first question was "where is disc two"? But there was no second disc. That was it. Further, there wasn't even a bonus track on the DVD with director insights. At least a bonus track would have shed a little light on the plot. Special Feature: Drugs to enhance your 2001 experience. I know there had to be more to that movie than a computer going haywire, but I get the feeling these secrets can only be revealed by a really good pharmacist.

Despite my criticisms, I do understand the movie's long-standing popularity. It was ahead of its time – revolutionary in a way. A visual feast and every science fiction lover’s wet dream on the big screen. But, honestly, it can't play well in today’s ADD espresso shot world. I give Stanley K props for the phenom job he did demonstrating the emptiness and solitude of space in scene after wake-me-up-when-it's-over scene. But how long does it take to show a pod docking? I get it already – the little craft drifts into the big one. Can we move on now so I can flip over to Conan O’Brien?

On the other end of the spectrum there’s George Lucas, who rapidly skips from one special effect to the next like the dog is standing on the remote control. You don’t even know what you’re looking at half the time, but all of those bright laser bursts sure look neat. “If we shake the camera a little more, maybe the audience will feel like they’re in the middle of the action.” Or maybe we’ll wish you’d stop shaking the camera so we can see what the fuck is going on.

Okay, I'm done now.

1 comment:

Steve said...

The only good thing I've heard about this is (one of those why didn't I think of that). Some guy did the legal paper work to have one of the Justis's farms condemned so a motel or something like that can be built and generate more tax revenue for the county. If I find the article I'll send it along.