Tuesday, December 30, 2008

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

The above quote is proof that 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of those films that appears to be one thing, yet is something completely entirely. When HAL 9000 says this line, we know that the movie is much more than just a Science Fiction film. It's a treatise on the nature of things. The film is about ideas. The film is a moving piece of philosophy and art. It's a mind numbing film to watch, and one that is ultimately not for everyone. Saying that doesn't mean "oh, you don't get it." It's more saying "an intense art piece doesn't make for the best or most entertaining time." That being said, both on a technical level and on a sub-textual level, 2001 is one of the greatest films in Cinema history.

My first viewing of this was shortly after the original AFI 100 years - 100 Films list came out. It was ranked #22 (although the revised list has it at #15) and knowing a little about it and all the parodies of the film, I decided to rent it and check it out. I watched it in total darkness in my parents living room and was hypnotized. It's a movie that is hypnotic. The way it's shot is brilliant. It was unlike anything I have seen. For a movie that came out in 1968, it is utterly Earth shattering. It's ahead of it's time in so many different ways. The movie presupposes Artificial Intelligence in an age where computers weren't in every household. Even though the year 2001 has passed, the film doesn't look dated. Although the technology is of a different universe, it still holds up. The special effects look better than anything CGI and that is the biggest feat of the film. It's a movie of gargantuan proportions both in scope, ambition and aesthetic. I've never been able to catch a big screen showing of 2001. This angers me a bit as this movie DEMANDS large screen glory. When I get my big screen HD TV in the next coming weeks, this will most definitely be one of the first movies I see.

2001 was the first movie that made me consider following and loving the works of a single director. It wasn't long after my viewing of 2001 that Stanley Kubrick would pass away before the final edits were done on Eyes Wide Shut. My interest in directors exploded with Kubrick being my personal favorite. Regardless of that, it still led me to see more movies with scope and depth rather than just sheer entertainment. No longer was I trying to see movies like the craptastical Godzilla or even shittier franchise movies like Batman and Robin. I was inspired to watch the movies of Peter Weir, Alfred Hitchcock and many more. Kubrick remained my favorite. His films area ll extremely amazing to watch. A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut are all stunning pieces of filmmaking.

Sometimes wonderment and awe is all that I need to make a movie amazing. Seeing the images Kubrick constructs in 2001: A Space Odyssey is his hallmark of achieving this. Yeah, the movie is quiet, but a movie about images to tell a story is going to be. It's the piercing image of the monolith that evokes it's meaning of a dark overshadowing presence. It's the images and quietude of space that shows mans loneliness in the world. The jump cut from the first tool to spacecraft conveys a lot of words about man kinds pathway and possible future. I still stand by this being Kubrick's finest moment and one of the best films of all time.

1. Cinema Paradiso (1988) dr. Giuseppe Tornatore
2. Rushmore (1998) dr. Wes Anderson
3. Jurassic Park (1993) dr. Steven Speilberg
4. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) dr. Frank Capra
5. Trust (1990) dr. Hal Hartley
6. Donnie Darko (2001) dr. Richard Kelly
7. On The Waterfront (1954) dr. Elia Kazan
8. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) dr. Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
9. Do The Right Thing (1989) dr. Spike Lee
10. Stop Making Sense (1984) dr. Johnathan Demme
11. Trekkies (1997) dr. Roger Nygard
12. Fight Club (1999) dr. David Fincher
13. The Sting (1973) dr. George Roy Hill
14. Ghost Busters (1984) dr. Ivan Reitman
15. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) dr. Rob Reiner
16. Better Off Dead (1984) dr. "Savage" Steve Holland
17. Robin Hood (1973) dr. Wolfgang Reitherman
18. Mad Max (1979) dr. George Miller
19. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) dr. Milos Forman
20. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989) Steven Speilberg
21. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) dr. Stanley Kubrick

Up Next: Freddy Got Fingered (2001) dr. Tom Green

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