Sunday, March 31, 2002

2001: A Space Odyssey (IMDB) (Netflix)

It makes sense that the re-release of 1968's 2001 would happen in 2002. Stanley Kubrick was an infamously slow, meticulous director, who died weeks before the opening of his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, and spent years developing A.I.: Artificial Intelligence before handing it off to Steven Spielberg (he also understood the concept of "burn rate," however, and used very small production crews as he negotiated his way through filming). What resulted were films that were always finely crafted, if sometimes lacking life.

I still don't know what the final sequence means (but it's a good bet that David Lynch saw this at an impressionable age or mental state), or what the monolith ultimately represents (Arthur C. Clarke's book was more explanatory, but that's a college memory that's not coming back). There's something about the ambition of the story and the totally unhyped action (this is the only space movie where you can't [appropriately] hear thrusters thrusting, because in the vacuum of space there's nothing to conduct the sound) that keeps you hanging around. Most of the 34-year-old pre-CGI special effects hold up, and it's fun to see what makes the trip into the future: Hilton hotels, Howard Johnson restaurants, picture phones and Pan American Airways, but not laptop computers.