2001: A Space Odyssey is a film that somehow shouldn’t work at all, yet succeeds at every level. Well, I think so at least. In this longer write-up, James Maynard Gelinas takes a closer look at the many aspects of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 work that bring the story, such that it may be, together.
For unlike typical character and plot driven narrative, its structure is that of an odyssey portraying the span of millennia. There is no central protagonist in conflict with an antagonist to root for. The few depicted characters seem disconnected from one another, and their dialog is often irrelevant to expository action. Its pacing is slug slow, with excessive montage shots that while visually beautiful don’t move plot points forward. If classical music seems an odd score choice itself, several pieces selected are often disturbingly postmodern, evoking not a soothing softness of the musical genre but chaotic and disquieting emotions. Finally, the final sequence, rather than a climax and resolution to some character driven conflict, seemingly comes from nowhere leaving more questions than answers. In almost every way this film should have failed. But it didn’t. Instead, it’s considered a great masterpiece. Why?
Could you imagine how “Star Wars” would read if William Shakespeare had written it? Portland author Ian Doescher can. Here’s the Shakespearean version (PDF) of the film’s all too familiar opening scroll:
It is a period of civil war.
The spaceships of the rebels, striking swift
From base unseen, have gain’d a vict’ry o’er
The cruel Galactic Empire, now adrift.
Amidst the battle, rebel spies prevail’d
And stole the plans to a space station vast,
Whose pow’rful beams will later be unveil’d
And crush a planet: ’tis the DEATH STAR blast.
Pursu’d by agents sinister and cold,
Now Princess Leia to her home doth flee,
Deliv’ring plans and a new hope they hold:
Of bringing freedom to the galaxy.
In time so long ago begins our play,
In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.
A while back, two more moons were discovered orbiting dwarf planet Pluto (how a planetary body with several decent size satellites can be considered “dwarf” is beyond me, but I digress), giving the far flung member of the solar system a total, so far, of five moons.
Fans of the “Star Trek” sci-fi TV and film series however will know Vulcan is the name of the planet Mr Spock hails from, so it seems to me the title is better left reserved for a Vulcan-like exoplanet, provided its host system is uninhabited that is, that we may one day find, rather than being applied to a moon.
Star Trek Continues, as the name kind of suggests, is a fan made extension of the original 1960’s “Star Trek” sci-fi television series, that picks up where the TV show left off, three years into the illustrious five year mission.
Obviously the actors playing the original show’s well known characters differ, but its essence, I think you will find, remains very much intact.
It has been 30 years since the final “Star Wars” film – sequentially speaking that is – Return of the Jedi, being episode six in the saga, was released.
While I don’t know where Luke Skywalker would be now, 30 years downstream, in terms of the story’s timeline, it is clear he never returned to his childhood home on Tatooine, given its current state of repair. After what happened there of course, who could blame him though?
This is the word for “no”: ghobe’. Try it. No, no, further back in the throat. The ‘gh’ should be almost like a gargle. And what is this “beeehhh”? Are you a sheep? The word ends with a glottal stop. The mark is there for a reason. Close the back of throat abruptly as soon as the vowel escapes – be’! Cut it off like a guillotine!
Sure the Klingons’ words are subtitled, but it seems these captions only tell part of the story. I recently saw a film where someone speaking English was, for some reason, being subtitled in English. What interested me though was the amount of dialogue, admittedly not a great deal, that was not included in the captions.
At least this sort of thing now need not be a problem with future “Stat Trek” movies, as far as the Klingons are concerned anyway.
Wired physics writer Rhett Allain goes about estimating the crew compliment of the Death Star from “Star Wars”… needless to say figuring out how many people could be aboard a vessel the size of a small moon isn’t that simple, so Allain started out by analysing the size of far smaller naval craft:
I went through the list of US Navel Wessels and tried to get one of each class. In order to calculate the volume, I had to make a couple of guesses. First, I had to guess the height of the ship. Wikipedia seems to list the draft (which would be the depth of the ship below water level – I think). So, I just kind of guessed at the height. Really, in my mind I pictured the ship as a rectangle. So, the height listed is my approximation of how tall the ship would be if it were squashed into a rectangular cube.
A revolutionary reinvention of the long-running BBC series made in the late 1970s, Blake’s 7 tells the story of seven criminals – 6 guilty and 1 innocent – on their way to life on a prison colony in space, who together wrestle freedom from imprisonment. They acquire an alien ship which gives them a second chance at life and become the most unlikely heroes of their time.
It’s something that has been talked about for quite a while, but now it seems definite.
Essentially, did Darth Vader engineer the destruction of the otherwise virtually unassailable Death Star in A New Hope? The ambitions he voiced in The Empire Strikes Back really leaves little doubt if you ask me.