2001: A Space Odyssey

I re-read Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and am glad I did. It was cooler than I remembered. Much of it is a bit cold and distant, like the movies, but still has some awestruck moments, and it’s fun to come back to something that I’ve seen four or five times and have such convenient visuals/memories for. If you like the movie, this is a natural complement.

heidisaman:

Shooting a movie is the worst milieu for creative work ever devised by man. It is a noisy, physical apparatus; it is difficult to concentrate—and you have to do it from eight-thirty to six-thirty, five days a week. It’s not an environment an artist would ever choose to work in. The only advantage it has is that you must do it, and you can’t procrastinate…

— Stanley Kubrick on making films

Photo of Kubrick on the set of Barry Lyndon via a certain cinema

Full Metal Jacket. Good stuff. I love how the first and second half have storytelling parallels, but with very different cinematographic styles. Tighter, controlled, fortifying training scenes vs. the looser, edgier feel in Vietnam. Apocalypse Now is definitely the better Vietnam film, though. It’s been quite a while since I last saw Platoon or The Deer Hunter. Vincent D’Onofrio was also awesome in Mystic Pizza.

My updated Kubrick leaderboard:

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. The Killing
  3. Full Metal Jacket
  4. Eyes Wide Shut
  5. The Shining
  6. A Clockwork Orange

Eyes Wide Shut. I didn’t love it, but I’ll put it in the plus column for Stanley Kubrick. The cult scene had some wonderful tension. I also respect his willingness to let scenes slow down to a near stand-still, like during Kidman’s monologues. And he’s got a great way with music and musical commentary (the Shostakovich waltz; “When I Fall In Love”; “Stranger in the Night”). My Kubrick rankings (there’s considerable distance between #3 and #4):

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. The Killing
  3. Eyes Wide Shut
  4. The Shining
  5. A Clockwork Orange

The Killing. I’ve seen 2001: A Space Odyssey four or five times at least, and it’s fantastic, but watching The Shining a few years ago really killed my interest in Stanley Kubrick’s work. This one resurrects it. Awesome camera and soundtrack and a great set of characters. Multiple perspectives and time cuts. Also touches on some of the practical aspects of dealing with piles and piles of money.