2001 - A Space Odyssey
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2001: A Space Odyssey: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)
A space mission that could reveal man’s destiny is jeopardized by a malfunctioning shipboard computer. A dazzling journey that tops them all – and showed the way for other effects-packed films that followed.]]>
When Stanley Kubrick recruited Arthur C. Clarke to collaborate on "the proverbial intelligent science fiction film," it's a safe bet neither the maverick auteur nor the great science fiction writer knew they would virtually redefine the parameters of the cinema experience. A daring experiment in unconventional narrative inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," 2001 is a visual tone poem (barely 40 minutes of dialogue in a 139-minute film) that charts a phenomenal history of human evolution. From the dawn-of-man discovery of crude but deadly tools in the film's opening sequence to the journey of the spaceship Discovery and metaphysical birth of the "star child" at film's end, Kubrick's vision is meticulous and precise. In keeping with the director's underlying theme of dehumanization by technology, the notorious, seemingly omniscient computer HAL 9000 has more warmth and personality than the human astronauts it supposedly is serving. (The director also leaves the meaning of the black, rectangular alien monoliths open for discussion.) This theme, in part, is what makes 2001 a film like no other, though dated now that its postmillennial space exploration has proven optimistic compared to reality. Still, the film is timelessly provocative in its pioneering exploration of inner- and outer-space consciousness. With spectacular, painstakingly authentic special effects that have stood the test of time, Kubrick's film is nothing less than a cinematic milestone--puzzling, provocative, and perfect. --Jeff Shannon
- Disc One:
- Commentary by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
- Theatrical trailer
- Disc Two:
- Channel 4 documentary: 2001: The Making of a Myth
- Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
- Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
- 2001: A Space Odyssey - A Look Behind the Future
- 2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork
- Look: Stanley Kubrick!
- Audio-only interview with Stanley Kubrick
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Most people don't get "the part with the apes." Millions of years ago during the "Dawn of Man" the apelike creatures that competed with other animals for food and water were in danger of being wiped out, despite their potential to evolve into intelligent beings. Enter the "monolith," the rectangular object of dimensions 1x4x9. The apes are curious about the object and are attracted to it when it emits a piercing signal. From that moment the apes are different. While examining some animal bones, one of them has an epiphany: a large bone can be used to kill other animals that can be eaten, and can be used to defend the tribe against other apes. Many anthropologists agree that when primitive apes became carnivorous, the sudden influx of protein in the diet lead to enlargement and evolution of the brain, hastening intelligence.
From this information, we now realize the monolith is an alien tool that can be used to assist in the evolution of intelligent species. First, it is used to help apes evolve into humans. Millions of years later another monolith (the one dug up on the moon) sends a signal that those beings have advanced to the point of traveling away from their planet and leads to the Discovery mission to Jupiter. Sadly, all loose ends are not tied up in this film (Why is there a monolith in orbit around Jupiter? Why did the HAL9000 computer try to kill the crew? What really happened to David Bowman when he approached the monolith?) and we have to wait until the first sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two to get those answers.
In space all normal orientations and familiarities are gone and the inhospitable indifference of the endless vacuum redefines the human experience. It poses the question that perhaps space exploration would be better left to HAL and his digital brethren. But that is before Kubrick hurtles us through time and space and possibly even dimensions to transform and evolve the human species into a new being so adapted and comfortable as to find the void its playground.
A remarkable, brilliant one-of-a-kind film and experience, now approaching its 50th anniversary, and yet no other film has so intensely explored the silent isolation, the precise balletic geometry of rendezvous, the lonely tedium and the claustrophobia of hermetic environs to imagine what space travel means to the human animal with the same detail and understanding. Genius.
This film has many fans and I'm one of them. I consider it one of the finest movies ever made period and beyond that one of the best visual arts of the 20th century. I will watch it over and over as each time I find new things within it. I'm really glad I ordered this Blu-Ray version. If you loved the film in the theater but you don't have a Blu-Ray player and a 1080 HDTV then here is the reason why you should buy them both immediately. An unequaled and unforgettable Blu-Ray experience.
There are many interesting special features included on the Blu-Ray including a behind the scenes half-hour documentary LOOK Magazine showed to potential advertisers for a special edition of LOOK focusing on science and technology tied in with the upcoming release of the film. I found that feature an excellent bonus as I had not seen it before. (LOOK Magazine had a unique relationship with Kubrick as they gave him his first job as an apprentice photographer right out of high-school and when he made his first film, a documentary, Kubrick was still a LOOK staff photographer.) I usually don't watch the commentary versions, but in this case I absolutely will. I am so glad I bought this, it is now my favorite Blu-Ray disc and when I want to show off my Blu-Ray this is the disc I'll use from now on.
Some people don't like this film much, the excellent Blu-Ray display quality won't change their point of view about the film in general. But to people who have always found this film to be eloquent and profound art then it is definitely worth the buy. This Blu-Ray version is one of my best Amazon buys ever!