10 November 2010

"Open the pod bay doors, Hal."


In 1968, when Stanley Kubrick's masterwork 2001: A Space Odyssey was released, I was 11 and my grandfather was 55. The pre-release hype on the film had been so big that he took me to the Tampa premiere of the film. He and I had never been to a film together before, but he thought this would be a culturally significant event and he didn't want me to miss it.

When we emerged from the theater after viewing the film, I distinctly remember the two of us looking at each other with expressions of "What the hell was that?" I'm sure it was the last Kubrick film he ever saw, but for me it was the beginning of a journey of exploration.

I'm 53 now and I'd guess I've seen the film 20 times since its release, each time comprehending a little bit more of what Kubrick was saying. It's been a slow, hard road, but well worth the investment of time and mental energy. Now, as I've, somewhat, come to piece the puzzle of the film together, one of the things I love most about it is that 2001 leaves so many questions unanswered.

It's been a mind blower for 40 years and I see no reason it will stop being a mind blower anytime soon.

So thanks, Granddad. I know you didn't have much fun that summer afternoon back in 1968, but you achieved your primary goal: getting me started early on exploring this historic film.

Readers who recognized the reference in this post's title will know this little taste I'm throwin' in above. But realistically, this is a film you have to study as a whole to get what it has to give. And it has plenty to give.

8 comments:

gbudzban said...

One of the most important movies of the last century. Thanks for posting that clip.

Jose said...

Good post Paco. Ditto on what you and Buzz wrote. Truly a landmark film from one of the great filmmakers. I always wondered what happened to the actor Keir Dullea, was he stereotyped as being Hal's unhappy foil? Googled him and he had a pretty successful Broadway career before and after 2001.

Anonymous said...

Daddy Dick rocks. Thanks Jim for reminding me.

Paco Malo said...

Editor's Note: The comment immediately above is from my brother. "Daddy Dick" is what we used to call our late maternal grandfather.

whiteray said...

When "2001" came out, I was in high school, and our concert band went on an outing in the Twin Cities. We played a couple of shows, spent a few hours in a mall (a big deal in 1969), had dinner and went to a movie. We voted on which movie to see and ended up seeing "Oliver." There was one vote to see "2001." Guess whose vote that was . . .

Paco Malo said...

Great story, Whiteray. Thanks for sharing it.

whiteray said...

Just thought I'd mention that I pulled the audio from this clip, and now - every thousand hours or so - my RealPlayer says, "Open the pod bay doors, HAL," or tells me either that the conversation serves no purpose or that the mission is too important for me to jeopardize. Those can really freak out visitors. Thanks ...

Paco Malo said...

Excellent RealPlayer programming Whiteray! Keep those visitors on their toes. It not a turntable and 45s anymore.