As a huge fan of 2001, “somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring” is a totally valid critique of the movie.
Its contemporaneous success at the time was tied to the rise of the late 1960s counterculture, which was somewhat of a lucky break.
As an asde, I've always loved the rotation-match space docking sequence: https://twitter.com/Doomlaser/status/981172150001373184 — that is the kind of engineering choreography that SpaceX's recent synchronized double rocket landing reminded me of.
And one of my early creative career highlights was convincing everyone at Tapulous to give me the go ahead to do a 7 and a half minute tribute to the 2001 stargate sequence as the final boss in Tap Tap Dance, set to Phantom Pt. II by Justice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-JLnyHT7IU#t=26s
I have recently watched an analyse of the film, which really made me appreciate it much more and made me want to watch it again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-URy_Smyyk
I fully share the feeling that they were describing of Kubrick where he couldn't "see" things described verbally. For instance I have the hardest time picturing a word spelled out loud to me.
Also, a recent discussion here on Kubrick and Clarke: item?id=16781142
''Kubrick found what he wanted by trying things out'' Real painfully; No object passes the limb of a planet; 10 identical film takes with his Selson motor camera track, soup one take. Good? Add one more thing (against black) 9 takes, soup one take. Good? Add another object to the shot, 8 takes, soup one take. Good? Add star field, 7 takes, soup one take. Good? Add matt box holdout and new plastic ship, 6 takes, soup one take. Good? No? Start over. All in 2.6 inch wide raw film stock, one frame per second.
For the longest time I believed that Kubrick knew exactly what he wanted before he began shooting. The finished film existed in his mind, and set pieces and actors simply had to materialize and adhere to that vision. I don't buy into that idea anymore.
An example would be that he's known for making actors do a hundred takes. Apparently he made Tom Cruise walk through a door for a hundred different takes! One interpretation of that would be that Cruise couldn't deliver what Kubrick had in his vision. The other would be that Kubrick was trying to tire Cruise out, so that Cruise be too tired to keep "acting", and bring out something neither of them expected, something "real" and "raw" and not rehearsed.
For a while, I was also obsessed with filmmakers who appeared to not adhere to a strict vision, and "discovered" their film, rather than try to construct the film to fit their rigid vision. The likes of Wong Kar Wai or Godard or Wim Wenders, who would write snippets of dialogue the same day they would shoot and improvise with actors. In particular, Wong Kar Wai was known for shooting for years on end, and discarding 95% of the film he shot. He couldn't have envisioned the final product at the beginning.
I find common in all of their approaches to include exploration. Filmmaking is expensive. It's not cheap like sketching with pen on paper, which is why I think most filmmakers "sketch" with the script, and less so while shooting on set, where every minute they are burning cash.
When I was a young teen, I'd look at the art of movies like Star Wars and I couldn't ever achieve anything like that on my own. What I didn't realize was that that art required iteration. Of course it's impossible to come up with a grand idea on the first try on a large canvas! Those concept artists didn't start by creating the final piece, but they drew hundreds of little thumbnail-sized sketches, playing with elements, this curve they like, or that feature.
I think of how much pre-visualization work went into the likes of Star Wars Episode 1, where you CAN'T stop the train once it's been moving, with hundreds of visual effects workers working on something that Lucas has decided on much earlier. In this, I think that the means of production of how people work have outsized effects on the final artistic product.
> Scribbled into Kubrick’s copy of a book by Kafka, Mr. Abrams finds his marginal note: “The tower of Babel was the start of the space age.”
Probably "The Great Wall and the Tower of Babel", right?
Trying things out in many tech fields is still expensive and often impossible. Like you can't go try your hand at micro(forget nano) lithography at a hack-lab. Up until 6 or 7 years ago trying things in electrical design was hard because of expensive monitoring tools like oscilloscopes and stable power supplies (thankfully that is changing due to Rasberry Pi and Arduino).
I still hope that expensive university resources, like lab equipment, could be shared better. For example Columbia, CUNY, NYU could certainly co-own expensive equipment to lower costs and access instead of each of them owning their own, if only for the purpose of lowering tuition costs.
Right now this sharing is only true of information. The most liquid and sharable resource.
Hardware Geeks like me were enthralled. MGM was lost. Charles Lippincott reverted the sales pitch to an inference that a really good LSD experience would come with your movie ticket, and 2001 took off. George Lucas hired Charley when he missed the Christmas 1976 release date, paid him by selling all the T-shirt rights for 100K. Like 'The Stunt Man', 'One From The Heart', 'The Last of the Mobile Hot Shots', 'Angel and the Badman' et al, sometimes fans have to pry the good stuff from the grey suits.
Do Not lick your ticket.
P.S. I didn't get to read the WSJ screed, i'm outside their club:(
I've been trying to find a Kubrick/2001 anecdote I vaguely remember, maybe somebody here has a source? Roughly a lighting technician found the initial very bright point-source lights needed to illuminate the space ship models were dangerous and prone to fire. The technician explained this to Kubrick and Kubrick asked him to set up the current (hazardous) lighting setup again. The technician asked "you don't believe me?" and Kubrick said something like "I believe you, but I haven't seen it."
For me 2001 is the film equivalent of a moving, storied, Piet Mondrian painting. Each frame of the film is geometric story, each frame a geometry that evolves to the next.
One of my all time favorites. Just to watch~
Interesting! Sounds like he was practicing what we call 'fail fast'
damn it, wsj caught on that no-script caused their content to be un-paywalled...
After Elon Musk, HN seems to have found a new demi god to worship. Kubrick. This is hilarious.