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

RogerEbert.com

Troop Zero

Pleasant enough but never quite as emotionally gripping as a coming-of-age story about acceptance can be, Troop Zero scores a handful of memorable moments when…

Other reviews
Review Archives

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…

Other reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other articles
Far Flunger 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.

Advertisement

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

​Joker Leads Oscar Nominations

The 2020 Oscar nominations.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Offers Glimpse into American Tragedy

A review of the new Netflix crime docuseries about former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.

Creators of Modern Sherlock Bring Dracula to Life on Netflix

A review of Netflix's Dracula, from the creators of Sherlock.

Venice 2019: Roman Polanski's J’Accuse

A review of the new film by Roman Polanski, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus