In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_6svpck54r9k0mz9xcfzswrxcin

Winter Sleep

The running time of his new picture Winter Sleep, three hours and change, suggests weight, but at it happens, this movie struck me as both…

Thumb_oax1ohn3ltgrf3vlh5ff28w0yjn

Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Opening Shots: '2001: A Space Odyssey'

2001a.jpg

From Jonathan Pacheco, Anna, TX:

Seemingly too easy of a choice, this film's first shot meets your criteria perfectly. After a slightly creepy overture, we are blessed with shot of a barely visible moon. It slowly moves down as the earth rises above it, and even more distant, the sun rises above the earth.

All of this happens as "Also sprach Zarathustra" beams in the background, a song and tone poem based on a book that spoke about the journey in the evolution from ape to man to superman. Already, Kubrick is telling us exactly what will happen in the next couple of hours with just the music. The visuals are telling us exactly how his film should be approached: as a slow but massive epic, a film with concepts and visuals that should be pondered and revered, much like one is awed when looking up at the heavens. As an added bonus, the final shot in the film uses the first shot and takes it to the next level.

JE: Right you are, Jonathan. Kubrick composed his films with a thoroughly musical technique unlike any other director I can think of. (I've said it before: "Eyes Wide Shut" is ridiculous if seen as a straight narrative [it is, after all, based on a "Traumnovelle" -- or, "Dream Story"]; it's magnificent when you look at it as a musical composition, using imagey the way musicians use sounds -- thematic statements, colors, tempos, structure, repetition, development, variation...)

When we see the image of the planets and the monolith in alignment at the beginning of the film's last movement (the psychedelic star trip into inner/outer space), we have that momentous sense that this is the climax of the picture, and it could take us anywhere -- even if we don't understand exactly what's going on. And then, in the last few moments of the film, the spherical, planet-sized Star Child drifts into view...

I saw "2001" at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle when I was 10 years old. My life has never been the same since. Kubrick finds expression for the mystery and awe of being alive in this universe, at this time, by invoking images of the unimaginably distant past ("The Dawn of Man") and the unimaginably near future ("Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite").

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Ten Best Films of 2014

The ten best films of 2014, as chosen by the film critics of RogerEbert.com.

10 Underrated Female Performances of 2014

Ten underrated female performances from 2014 worthy of Oscar consideration.

More on That Later: The Truth About “Serial”

Some thoughts on the hit podcast "Serial".

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus