I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

2001: A Space Odyssey

Lately I’ve only been reviewing current movies, but as you know, the Hollywood Reporter had a story the other day that MGM has hired a first time director to do a “re-imagining” of 2001 with “modern pacing and music” that will “take full advantage of state-of-the-art digital effects.” The director is not someone I’m familiar with, but they say he is perfect for the job because he’s done alot of music videos and won a couple of Miss Clio awards for his commercials. So before they ruin it I thought I would revisit Kubrick’s masterpiece of space ballet and shit.

No, don’t worry, I’m just fucking with you. They’re not doing a remake, as far as I know. But you almost believed it, right? Because it’s so awful, so wrong, so undeniably vile, that someone is definitely going to have to do it eventually. They came for Hitchcock and Hooper and Romero and Carpenter and Walking Tall and Amityville Horror and House of Wax and they even tried Billy Jack. They already got Charade and Planet of the Apes and Dr. Seuss. They burrowed into the brains of Lucas and Spielberg and Friedkin and Scott and made them second guess their younger, better selves. And now they’ve got their greedy bastard eyes on Kubrick. You fucking know they do. They’ll wait until his assistant is dead and his assistant’s grandchildren or whatever it takes, but the day it becomes possible, they dig out the contracts and they sign them in blood and they will swallow one end of 2001 and suck it down like one of those threads the yogis use and pull the entire movie out through the ass and into a paper shredder. You already know this, but I’m telling you this, because we need to get this out in the open, for our own good. We need to face the inevitable.

2001: A Space OdysseyActually I just saw the movie in 70mm at the 2nd Annual Cinerama “Reel” Film Festival here in Seattle and that’s why I finally decided to review it. Sorry to bum you out. Actually it was a very positive experience. Imagine that opening with the eclipse and the mighty dun… dun… dun… DUH-DUN!!! as the curtains open… and open… and open, revealing the giant curved Cinerama screen that is way wider than you expected. The movie is huge and the screen is huge. It gave the hairs goosebumps standing up on my balls or whatever the saying is.

What this picture is about is there are these monkeys during the dawn of man. There are also warthogs and they are all scavengers who eat the meat of the dead. But there is a cheetah who kills them sometimes and eats them. Also there is a baby monkey. Later on they wake up and there’s a big rectangle that they touch. So then it occurs to one of the monkeys, what about tools. And he starts to hit a bone against other bones. You know, tools. So then I guess he kills a warthog and they all eat the meat and I bet it’s more fresh than usual. All because of tools.

Well I fell asleep so I never found out how these monkeys get into space, but I guess you could pretty much see where it would go from there. There is the moon and Jupiter, for example, and a space baby that looks like Gollum. Dave gets locked out of the ship, and HAL won’t open the door. It’s like when the kids locked Bernie Mac out of the house for the whole episode and kept spraying him with the hose.

No, I’m just yankin your chain again, actually I didn’t fall asleep but I trust my readers to know what 2001 is without me having to explain it to them like a bunch of fuckin space babies. What I will do here instead is try to talk a little bit about what makes this picture so god damn amazing. And I think the best way to illustrate it is to try to picture some alternate dimension where Stanley Kubrick is a living filmatist without alot of clout, trying to release this movie today. Can’t you just hear what the executives would say?

Mr. Kubrick, we think you have a great picture here. The special effects are dazzling and groundbreaking. You will be taking sci-fi fans to places they have not seen before. However, we also feel that there are a few changes that could be made to tighten the pace and to make the story more absorbing.

We know you are very close to the material so it is hard to see, but there is alot of unneccessary and repetitive information which slows down the story and takes out the sense of adventure necessary to attract today’s audiences. One of the basic rules of filmmaking is this: if a character walks all the way across the room after a scene, you don’t have to show the entire walk. Just show him begin to walk, then cut away. Cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary to the plot.

With that in mind, we would like to show you our new improved cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which clocks in at 102 minutes, a running time that worked very well for us on Agent Cody Banks. The picture opens with a short prologue about Dr. Floyd arriving at the space station, going to the moon and investigating the monolith. (We cut the Dawn of Man sequence, which we found confusing and unneccessary to the plot.) The editing is tightened but we were able to leave in some of the dialogue-free shots that you enjoy. We also improved the “monolith” scene with an evil cackle and eyes to show that it is evil. Also we cut to a quick clip of the cheetah jumping on the monkey from the dawn of man sequence.

We did not understand the tangents about classical music but if they are important to you we would be happy to include them as deleted scenes on the DVD. Also we are very close to signing Seal and Beyonce for a duet on the end credits. We’ll send you a demo soon.

The movie is really about Frank and Dave and HAL 9000, so that’s the section of the movie we have focused on. This section is very strong and we have been able to spruce up the sound effects and music (we felt some scenes were too quiet). Also we tightened the pace for more tension.

The psychedelic sequence has been trimmed for brevity and retimed to a song by Crystal Method. We have also taken the liberty of hiring Renny Harlin to direct a new ending which ties all the threads together. Frank wakes up from his “star child” nightmare to realize that he has been rescued by Dr. Floyd and his team. They explain how they discovered just in time that the monoliths were an alien device which was being used to control HAL 9000. This leads into the thrilling climax where the star fighters destroy the monoliths in a high speed intergalactic battle!

Okay, I think you are bored with my point by now but you have to admit that it’s true. Everything that makes this picture so great is also everything that studios say you can’t do in a movie. You can’t make long scenes where nothing happens except movement and classical music. (it’s like Fantasia in space!) You can’t make the movie about monkeys at first and then about space. You can’t make an ambiguous ending that people will still wonder about 35 years later.

Yes, I would like to go on record as saying that this 2001 is a movie that I think is good in my opinion thanks

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 5th, 2004 at 12:47 am and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “2001: A Space Odyssey”

  1. An of course HAL would be played by, probably, Jude Law, in the same style as his turn in AI. In the film he would have loads of gadgets like a swiss army knife so the doll would be more exciting for the kiddies at Christmas.

    Seriously Vern, you’re playing with fire here – you, me and the rest of the outlaws on this sight see the above as a bit of funning around. There will be people in Hollywoodland – dangerous people who bizarrely have access to money and filmatising equipment such as Neveldine/Taylor – who will read your shit and think “aaaaaah yeeeeah!, break out the fireproof space suits and the wobbly camera, we gotta do a job on this!”

  2. I got this for ten bucks on Blue Ray and it looks really good. My girlfriend didn’t like it too much, we only made it up to the start of the Jupiter mission before we quit, and we never returned to it. But a couple days later she started talking about it – about the tool-using monkeys standing up instead of being hunched over, about how space travel must have gotten to be a mundane event for these scientists if this guy is sleeping on the shuttle, and the second monolith must have been planted there so that people would discover it at exactly the right time (when space travel was normal), etc. Maybe we will return and watch the HAL part later on.

    BTW it was a jaguar that ate the monkeys.

  3. Someone actually cut a 2001 trailer like it was TRANSFORMERS-esque blockbuster

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSGsh9so_dA

    On the other end of the spectrum, someone discovered if you synched up Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” with the final sequence, you had something pretty mind-blowing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p58aJD_wLKc&feature=player_embedded

    Would love to hear Vern’s thoughts on 2010, and it’s place in 80’s film history. As a sequel it pales in comparison to Stanley’s originality but as a film in it’s own right it succeeds far greater than some would probably give it credit for, IMO.

  4. http://vimeo.com/5255919

    Here’s a new link for the Floyd sync-up.

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0cqV3h-aDA

    Jon Benjamin (the titular character in BOB’S BURGERS) doing the voice of HAL cracked me up pretty quick. Don’t think I’ve ever laughed to the point of tears so quickly before.

  6. It’s kind of old news but the Syfy network will air a mini-series based on 3001: THE FINAL ODYSSEY, produced by Warner Brothers and Ridley Scott. The production has the full support of the estates of Kubrick and author Arthur C. Clarke.

    Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey - In Discussion (2014 BBC)

    A panel discussion on the history of Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001 A Space Odyssey. Featuring Dr. Brian Cox, with actors Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood. To mar...

    A fascinating discussion of the film with Keir Dullea (who is near 80 and looks quite stunningly younger than his age would suggest), Gary Lockwood, scientist Brian Cox and film historian Christopher Frayling.

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