RR (makeup) (Group A): “Introductory Readings for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey”
Robert Poole, in his article, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” explores how the film was put together, edited for better responses from viewers and critics, and how our culture and politics of the 1960s influenced its making. Poole describes how Kubrick’s ahead-of-their-time special affects set the stage for future science fiction films and inspired many. Poole gives his readers a summary of the film, describing how man evolved from ape and into man who took to spaceflight.
Kubrick’s film didn’t have great success at its initial premiere. In a celebrity premiere, Kubrick remembers the shock of its ...view middle of the document...
Poole writes about Kubrick’s former film, Dr Strangelove, “Dr Strangelove had ended bleakly, with nuclear war” (CP 172). And with the fears of nuclear war because of the Cuban missile crisis Americans were on edge. According to Poole, “2001 reflected the transition from the political pessimism of the Cold War and nuclear crises of the early 1960s to the optimism for mankind briefly generated by the Apollo programme at the end of the decade” (CP 172). The difference in the films endings were that 2001 did not end in a nuclear war. It was more optimistic rather than the pessimistic ending of Dr Strangelove. Things appeared to be looking up with the hope of America entering the space race.
Poole addresses a sense of mythology and Christianity that were suggested in the film. He states, “The film was originally conceived as ‘a mythological documentary’ with dramatic inserts, modelled in part on MGM’s 1962 semi-documentary epic How the West Was Won” (CP 173). Kubrick wanted the film as authentic as he could make it. Reporter Jeremy Bernstein states, “He and Mr. Clarke feel that…space is a source of endless knowledge, which may transform our civilization in the same way that the voyages of the Renaissance transformed the Dark Ages” (CP 173). According to Poole’s article, “…The astronaut Bowman, was an Odysseus, the sole survivor of his expedition, returning transformed to transform others” (CP 174). Kubrick wanted people to learn more about space, evolution, and change as one would do in reading mythologies and the like.
There are also some spiritual or somewhat religious feelings to the film. Kubrick stated that, “MGM don’t know it yet, but they’ve just footed the bill for the first six-million-dollar religious film” (CP 175). With what appears to be an assisted evolution with the monolith and aliens who are playing god, 2001 can be compared to a sketchy version of Christianity and creation. Poole recounts a reaction from a viewer, “The young Californian …ran down the aisle and crashed into the screen at the appearance of the monolith shouting ‘It’s God!’ was close to the truth” (CP 175). The difference in this story and biblical stories was the use of technology and alien life.
According to Poole’s article, the most important context for the movie was the space race with Russia. According to history, America was afraid that the Soviet Union would become a global superpower and therefore President Kennedy pledged to Americans that we would reach the moon by the end of the decade (CP 175). According to Poole, “For the United States it was ‘Pearl Harbor in Space,’” and, “The space race closely paralleled the arms race and the Cold War” (CP 175). The films premiere coincided with many important events such as the Russians entering...