2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". The story deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution, and a space voyage to Jupiter tracing a signal emitted by one such monolith found on the moon. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star as the two astronauts on this voyage, with Douglas Rain as the voice of the sentient computer HAL 9000 who has full control over their spaceship. The film is frequently described as an "epic film", both for its length and scope, and for its affinity with classical epics.

Financed and produced by the American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film was made almost entirely in England, using both the studio facilities of MGM's subsidiary "MGM British" (among the last movies to be shot there before its closure in 1970) and those of Shepperton Studios, mostly because of the availability of much larger sound stages than in the United States. The film was also co-produced by Kubrick's own "Stanley Kubrick Productions". Kubrick, having already shot his previous two films in England, decided to settle there permanently during the filming of Space Odyssey. Though Space Odyssey was released in America several months before its release in England, and Encyclopædia Britannica calls this an American film,[5] other sources refer to it as an American, British, or American-British production.

Thematically, the film deals with elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is notable for its scientific accuracy, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery that is open-ended to a point approaching surrealism, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue.

The film has a memorable soundtrack—the result of the association that Kubrick made between the spinning motion of the satellites and the dancers of waltzes, which led him to use The Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II, and the famous symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, to portray the philosophical evolution of Man theorized in Nietzsche's work of the same name.

Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, 2001: A Space Odyssey garnered a cult following and slowly became a box office hit. Some years after its release, it eventually became the highest grossing picture from 1968 in North America. Today it is recognized by many critics, filmmakers, and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. The 2002 Sight & Sound poll of critics ranked it among the top ten films of all time,[10] and in 2010, it was named the No. 1 greatest film ever made by The Moving Arts Film Journal.[11] It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and received one for visual effects. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In 1984, a sequel directed by Peter Hyams was produced entitled 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

Academy Awards

  • Won: Best Visual Effects: Stanley Kubrick
  • Nominated: Best Original Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Nominated: Best Art Direction Anthony Masters: Harry Lange and Ernest Archer.
  • Nominated: Best Director: Stanley Kubrick

No Oscar for Best Makeup existed until 1981. Arthur C. Clarke and others commented that in the same year that 2001 was released, a special honorary Oscar for ape makeup was given to Planet of the Apes, but the more realistic ape-makeup in 2001 was ignored. Clarke quipped that the committee may have not realized the apes were actors.

Other awards

Won

BAFTA Awards:

  • Best Art Direction (Anthony Masters, Harry Lange and Ernest Archer)
  • Best Cinematography (Geoffrey Unsworth)
  • Best Road Show
  • Best Sound Track (Winston Ryder)

Cinema Writers Circle, Spain:

  • Best Foreign Film

David di Donatello Awards, Italy:

  • Best Foreign Production (Stanley Kubrick)

Hugo Awards:

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

Kansas City Film Critics:

  • Best Director (Stanley Kubrick)
  • Best Pictunbsp;mm frame, and a new soundtrack CD of the film's actual (unreleased) music tracks, and a sampling of HAL's dialogue.

Warner Home Video released a 2-DVD Special Edition on October 23, 2007 as part of their latest set of Kubrick reissues. The DVD was released on its own and as part of a revised Stanley Kubrick box set which contains new Special Edition versions of A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, and the documentary A Life in Pictures. Additionally, the film was released in high definition on both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The Imdb.com listing of this DVD and the official Warner Brothers webpagere

Laurel Awards:

  • Best Road Show

Nominated

BAFTA Awards:

  • Best Film (Stanley Kubrick)
  • UN Award (Stanley Kubrick)

Directors Guild of America (DGA):

  • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Stanley Kubrick)

Top film lists

2001 was No. 15 on AFI's 2007 100 Years... 100 Movies, was named No. 40 on its 100 Years, 100 Thrills, was included on its 100 Years, 100 Quotes ("Open the pod bay doors, Hal."), and HAL 9000 is the No. 13 villain in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains. 2001 is the only science fiction film to make the Sight & Sound poll for ten best movies, and tops the Online Film Critics Society list of "greatest science fiction films of all time." In 1991, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Other lists that include the film are 50 Films to See Before You Die (#6), The Village Voice 100 Best Films of the 20th century (#11), the Sight & Sound Top Ten poll (#6), and Roger Ebert's Top Ten (1968) (#2). In 1995, the Vatican named it as one of the 45 best films ever made (and included it in a sub-list of the "Top Ten Art Movies" of all time.)

The film made number 8 on Clarke's own List of the best Science-Fiction films of all time, following The Day the Earth Stood Still at #7.

In 2011, the film was the third most screened film in secondary schools in the United Kingdom.

Poster: