"2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of those films that defy a synopsis. With a plot that unfolds extremely slowly (yet encompasses a theme no less than the development of life itself), the film is of the sort that cannot be described but must be experienced. Following a prologue in pre-historic times, in which groups of apes learn to use tools and discover an unusual structure (a "monolith"), 21st century technology is displayed in painstaking detail (with the emphasis on space travel and exploration). In the year 2001, a team of astronauts is being sent to Jupiter to investigate the appearance of a radio transmission. When the on-board computer begins to function strangely, this forces the surviving member of the team to abort the mission, and he is hurtled towards the unknown.
A mysterious monolith awakens the imagination of man's distant anscestors; A second one awaits his giant leap to the moon; And in orbit around Jupiter a third beckons man to transcend beyond the limits of his body and his machines. Stanley Kubrick's cosmic metaphor of human evolution remains an unfaded visual achievement. Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Director, Best (Original) Story and Screenplay. Academy Awards: Best Special Visual Effects.
Original film was 160 minutes which included an intermission, and was rated MPAA G. Filmed in Cinerama, Super Panavision and Metrovision, using Metrocolor and Technicolor, at MGM British Studios, Ltd. Borehamwood, England. Shooting actually began December 1965 and took more than two years; finally being released April 4, 1968. Critical reaction to the film at the time of its initial release was mixed; most critics found much of it tedious and plotless. The absence of plot is actually beside the point, as Kubrick's approach was to emphasize the visual elements, producing a lyrical, poetic fantasy that continues to raise far more questions than a simple narrative could answer. Other cast members include: Sean Sullivan (Michaels); Frank Miller (Mission Controller); the director's daughter Vivian Kubrick (Dr. Floyd's Daughter); Alan Gifford (Frank Poole's Father); Edwina Carroll and Penny Brahms (Stewardesses); Bill Weston, Edward Bishop, Glen Beck, Ann Gillis, Heather Downham, Mike Lovell, John Ashley, Peter Delmar, David Hines, Darrel Faes, Jimmy Bell, Terry Duggan, Tony Jackson, Joe Refalo, David Charkham, David Fleetwood, John Jordan, Andy Wallace, Simon David, Danny Grover, Scott Mackee, Bob Wilyman, Jonathan Daw, Brian Hawley, Laurence Marchant and Richard Wood. Laserdisc producers are Peter Fitzgerald and Rennie Johnson. Director Stanley Kubrick was also the special photographic effects designer and director. Other people in the special photographic effects unit were: David Osborne, Frederick Martin and John Jack Malick. Frederick I. Ordway III was the scientific consultant. Martin Balsam was originally chosen to play the role of HAL 9000. The film is based on a short story by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, but the film generated one of the first commercially successful "novelizations," a trend which was to become very popular in the 1970s and 80s. A sequel to the film, "2010: The Year We Make Contact," was released in 1984. A computer program has been developed by Scott French that generates output based on the literary style and conventions of the novels of Jacqueline Susann and the name of the program is HAL. The films of director Stanley Kubrick include: 1. "Fear and Desire" (1953), also producer, photographer, editor 2. "Killer's Kiss" (1955), also co-producer, screenwriter, photographer, editor 3. "The Killing" (1956), also screenwriter 4. "Paths of Glory" (1957), also co-screenwriter 5. "Spartacus" (1960) 6. "Lolita" (1962) 7. "Dr. Strangelove" (1964), also producer and co-screenwriter 8. "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), also producer and screenwriter 9. "Barry Lyndon" (1975), also producer and screenwriter 10. "The Shining" (1980), also producer and screenwriter 11. "Full Metal Jacket" (1987), also producer and screenwriter