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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
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Custer
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let us sneak through the firewall to an article in today's Times:

Space stations, the iPad . . . Stanley Kubrick had it all in 2001: A Space Odyssey

As the sci-fi classic hits 50, we look at the high-tech it predicted and that which is still to come - by Oliver Moody

Stanley Kubrick thought that Arthur C Clarke was a “nut who lives in a tree”. Clarke thought that Kubrick was an “enfant terrible”. They hit it off famously. Over four years in the middle of the 1960s the American film director and the scuba-diving British futurist worked obsessively on what could easily have been one of the great Hollywood follies of the 20th century.

Clarke and Kubrick wanted to do something that no film studio had cracked in the age of colour cinema: a big-budget science-fiction film that could be taken seriously as art as much as popular entertainment.

The hype built and built. Vogue magazine ran a breathless special edition on the “2001 look”, all metallic moon-trousers with prodigious pockets. The release date slipped by two years. The budget overran by $4.5 million. Eventually the film had its premiere in April 1968, 50 years ago this month. It was 161 minutes long and called 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It is a very, very strange film. Modern viewers are often put off by its awkward gait, which alternatingly hobbles and leaps from the dawn of human social intelligence to the cosmic rebirth of an astronaut in a halogen-lit regency bedroom. It is as quiet as a cathedral. What little dialogue there is tends to be pretty unremarkable, and nearly all of the good lines are handed to a mad supercomputer.

The film is so wilfully weird, in fact, that it is easy to miss how earnestly it took the business of predicting the future. Partly this was for practical reasons. Kubrick knew that Nasa was racing to put a man on the moon and did not want his film to be obsolete by the time it came out. He poached as his technical adviser Frederick Ordway, who had worked for Nasa’s Future Projects Office and the notorious former Nazi rocket engineer Wernher von Braun.

The elaborate sets at the MGM studios in Borehamwood in Hertfordshire were drawn up to fastidiously realistic specifications. Kubrick even got his lackeys to mock up what The New York Times headlines might look like in the future (they ranged from “Last Grizzly Bear dies in Cincinnati Zoo” to “Medicine: How Much Further the Age Limit? Are 125 Years Enough?”).

Yet it was also thanks to Clarke’s visionary knack for futurology. For all his interest in the broad tides of history and the human heart, or perhaps because of it, Clarke looked deeper and farther into the future than almost any other thinker of his age. He saw mobile phones, smartwatches, communications satellites, emails and search engines coming a mile off. He intuited the possibilities of online banking, ecommerce and remote surgery decades before the birth of the internet.

Some of 2001’s predictions were so far-sighted that we are only now beginning to digest their implications. Perhaps the most precise tribute to the film was paid by the director Ridley Scott, who said in 2007: “After 2001, science fiction is dead.”


SUCCESSFUL PREDICTIONS

Spacesuits
At first glance the ribbed, figure-hugging orange environment suits from 2001 look more like something you would find inside a Kinder Surprise than any of the kit used in the moon landings. Yet, as the space historian and 2001 expert Piers Bizony pointed out in his book on the making of the film, they were designed by a former Nasa illustrator and closely based on leading technology. Boeing’s new Starliner spacesuits, which will be used on the International Space Station, are much closer to their 2001 predecessors in their slim-fit and colourful design.

The iPad
In 2011 Apple sued Samsung for allegedly copying the design of its tablet computer. Samsung’s lawyers presented the court with a clip from 2001 in which a pair of astronauts are clearly using iPad-like rectangles dominated by a touchscreen, in a scene shot more than 40 years before the first iPad was manufactured.

Private companies in space
In 1968 the space race was a straight fight between two global superpowers, tussling for the future of civilisation. In 2001, though, the space shuttle is run by Pan Am, a now-defunct airline company, and the space hotel is a branch of the Hilton chain. Even the “picture phone” is operated by AT&T. This was more than gratuitous product placement: it anticipated an age in which Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin, may assume almost as much importance as Nasa.

Computer graphics
At the start of the 1960s a computer was still a human mathematician with a pen and paper. It was far from obvious that the clunking banks of tapes and flashing lights would one day have television-like screens with stylised displays of information. Yet 2001 not only predicted the advent of the computer graphic, it even got the 16:9 aspect ratio right.

Space station
The first semi-permanent human habitat in space, the Soviet Salyut 1 space station, was not launched until three years after the release of 2001. Nasa’s Skylab followed in 1973. However, if you walk around the back-up version in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington you can see how astonishingly poky it is in comparison to the grandeur of Kubrick’s designs. We have yet to build anything that can match the space station in 2001.


NOT QUITE THERE YET

Hal 9000
At the time, the supercomputer would have seemed one of the least outlandish details in the film. Marvin Minsky, Kubrick’s chief artificial intelligence (AI) adviser, predicted that by the end of the 1970s scientists would have developed a machine with the cognitive capabilities of a human. This was wildly wrong. After a brief spell of optimism AI research fell into a winter for decades and has only recently begun to recover. Today’s learning machines can perform extraordinary feats, mastering arcade games they have never seen before and besting world champions at chess and Go. Yet the sort of truly autonomous intelligence that Hal possesses remains elusive.

Artificial gravity
Kubrick had a 27-tonne centrifuge 12m (40ft) across built on the outskirts of London to represent the interior of the Discovery spacecraft. The idea is that the outward force of the spinning drum will anchor its inhabitants and their possessions to the floor, much as gravity does on Earth. The only reason that we haven’t tried this in space is that we haven’t had any need to. Some experts think, though, that a Discovery-like spaceship equipped with artificial gravity could be the best way to get astronauts to Mars.

Moon base
Our last visit to the moon was in 1972. We have left only a handful of relics behind, including a US flag, a golf ball and a little metal figurine. The European Space Agency has outlined plans to build a lunar research and mining facility that would act as a staging post for journeys to other planets, much as 2001 envisaged. But perhaps without the thrumming alien monolith.
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mach7
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got back from The Smithsonian Air and Space museum.
For a short time they have a recreation on the Hotel Room
that Dave "Dies" in before he becomes the Star Child.

They allow 2 minutes in the room. Overall it was well done.








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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Did you try to lay on the bed to see if the monolith appeared?

No? Damn . . . guess we'll never know. Shocked

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mach7
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted too, But they were adamant that we touch nothing.

We were supervised the whole two min.

Sadly there was no space pod.
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mach7
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw it last night. The 70MM was impressive, but no cinarama. Sadly, I'm guessing there are no cinarama screens left.

The print was very good. The crowd was not bad either. Probably 250 people. mostly younger people, I only saw a few older couples there. It seemed to me that many were seeing the film for the first time. The response was very positive, the audience applauded after the film ended.

One odd thing, during HAL's dialog to Dave after Dave enters Discovery through the emergency airlock, The audience was
laughing. To me thats a very powerful section of the film and not funny at all.

2 mistakes I picked up that I have always missed.

1- When Dave blows the hatch on the pod, where does the
hatch go? And why does the pod not tumble away.
With all the atmosphere propelling Dave into the
emergency airlock, the pod should move the other way.

2- When Discovery is entering the Jupiter system it is facing
forward, It should be facing backward with the engines
decelerating
the ship into Jupiter orbit.

Still, pretty damn good for a film 50 years old! The SFX are better than most C/G done today! A great story very well shown!

One nitpick though, If I'm honest the star gate section should be cut down by 1/3.
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Eadie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mach7 wrote:
I'm guessing there are no CineRama™ screens left.

Yes there is. In 2012 Butch, Pye-Rate, my uncle Mike, my grandmother Catherine "Kitty' (AKA "Kit") Canterbury and I went there and saw Forbidden Planet and we all had a great time AND met Paul Allen! [I also corrected "cinarama" to "CineRama™" the correct title.


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mach7
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool!

Where is it?
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Eadie
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Seattle Cinerama Theatre is a landmark movie theater located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, in the United States of America. It is one of only three movie theaters in the world still capable of showing three-panel Cinerama films. The Seattle Cinerama opened in 1963 as Seattle's Martin Cinerama and is still located at 2100 4th Avenue Seattle, WA 98121.


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mach7
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

I know where that is. I worked for years in the Seattle area.

Had I know I would have tried to see 2001 there!

Thats very good information to know.

That makes me wonder, did they get a CINERAMA copy
of the re-release?
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It'll be shown in late August, I believe.
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Maurice
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of commentators zero in on the Odysseus aspects of 2001 and rather miss the Nietzschean influences, which are blasted at you right at the opening via Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which is of course inspired by Nietzsche's text of the same name.

Some themes in the text of Thus Spoke Zarathustra are pretty familiar, especially the the idea of people who learn to create their lives anew will represent a new stage in human existence, the Übermensch = Starchild.

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maurice wrote:
Some themes in the text of Thus Spoke Zarathustra are pretty familiar.

Also when you stare into the abyss (the Monolith) it stares back at you.
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gord Green wrote:
Also when you stare into the abyss (the Monolith) it stares back at you.

It just doesn't stare back at you, it drags you in.

Have you ever wondered how they breathed in the spacesuits? I saw a photo recently that showed how, there was an airline attached to the bottom of the backpack, so Keir Dullea was getting his air supply through that line to the helmet. It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that some packs had air tanks in them for when they couldn't hid the airline.

Daivd.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following is edited from a paper by Donald MacGregor on 2001:ASO. I've edited out references to other films for clarity.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0013.html


2001; or,
How One Film-Reviews
With a Hammer
by Donald MacGregor

The opening of 2001:A Space Odyssey depicts the sun rising above a crescent Earth while the introduction to Richard Strauss' tone-poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), plays. This music is meant to represent the wise man, Zarathustra, as he descends from a mountain to preach his gospel to the people.

Only in this case, it is Stanley Kubrick coming to preach his gospel.

Friederick Nietzsche's book, Also Sprach Zarathustra, upon which the Strauss tone-poem is based, presents the idea that mankind will one day be surpassed by the übermensch, or the superman.

The Nietzschean idea seems to have its origin in Darwin's theory of natural selection. Nietzsche saw life as "a struggle for existence in which the fittest survive, strength is the only virtue, and weakness the only fault."

According to Nietzsche, the evolution of man will travel through three stages: primitive man (ape), modern man, and ultimately, superman. Of this, Nietzsche wrote "what is the ape to man? A laughingstock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be to the superman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment."

Man is just a bridge between ape and superman, but for the superman to be, man must use his will to make it happen, "a will to procreate or a drive to an end, to something higher and farther."

In the Kubrick films, the idea of primitive man can be found in 2001 and A Clockwork Orange. 2001's depiction of primitive man is in the segment "The Dawn of Man" that opens the film. This segment depicts primitive man gaining the instinct to kill, which is symbolized with the appearance of the monolith.

In the novel, 2001, the main ape-man (named Moon-Watcher) after gaining this instinct and killing another ape-man is described as master of the world and thinking "he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something."

The transition from primitive to modern man was a gradual process. 2001 depicts this in a scene showing Moon-Watcher throw a bone into the air.

In 2001, modern man is shown to be scientific, intellectual, and reserved in nature. He is a pale and pathetic creature, lacking the vitality of his primitive ancestors.

In the journey from primitive man to superman, the monolith on the moon in 2001 marks a major moment. In the scene with the moon monolith, the sun is pictured directly overhead when the monolith emits a loud noise (perhaps to signal the arrival of this moment). This moment is described by Nietzsche as "the noon when man stands the middle of his way between beast and superman...a way to a new morning", the first morning of the superman.

The superman is reached at the end of 2001. In the final scenes, the astronaut, David Bowman, lies on his deathbed. He wills the superman into existence before expiring.

In 2001, the superman is shown to be a child (called the Star-Child in the novel). This also comes from Nietzsche, in his metaphors for the three metamorphoses of man's spirit. In the final metamorphosis, when man becomes superman, Nietzsche says the spirit will be like a child, because "the child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning."

David Bowman, lost to the world during his space odyssey, has returned to rule it.

Kubrick himself appears to support this view of his film. Kubrick has, in interviews, said "man is the missing link between primitive ape and civilized human beings" (superman?) and has said that the ending represented man reborn as a superman, "returning to Earth prepared for the next leap forward in man's evolutionary destiny."

2001 is usually seen as a highly ambiguous film, open to many different interpretations. But, maybe it wasn't intended that way.

Kubrick has said if something can be thought, then it can be filmed. 2001 is very consistent with Nietzsche's philosophy, so perhaps the film is ambiguous because that was the only way Kubrick could film Nietzsche's thoughts.



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And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
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mach7
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2001 round 2 this year.

Late August the film is coming out again in IMAX.

Boston has it Aug 23-29.
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