I feel kind of sorry to-day for agreeing that 2001: A Space Odyssey is cold. I watched it again last night for the first time in several years. I guess we don't see any hugging and kissing, but it has a different kind of warmth. I think you need to be keyed into Kubrick's dry humour.
I love Dr. Floyd, the consummate phoney. I love how he uses the same patronising tone of voice with his daughter as he uses with some Russian brass and the administrative committee on the moon. It's no wonder the monolith repels him and his friends.
It's hard to think of a more perfect visual metaphor than the monolith. What it means is unmistakable, but it's hard to describe what it is. It's not just inspiration--it's strange, it's frightening, yet it almost has a familiar visual meaning, all important parts of what it means for humanity.
I like how, for the most part, when we first see it, it's a lengthy static shot. It's the subject, we're meant to be thinking about what it is along with the apes, but the camera doesn't pan or cut around it, it's not a moment where the magician's going, "Look, nothing up this sleeve, nothing up this sleeve." There could be something on the other side of the monolith, the apes could be seeing something we don't, but we kind of know they aren't. That tease is so much part of it.
I watched the film through the prism of the review I'd just written for The Tree of Life, and I found myself wondering if Dave is an every man, a more or less blank character meant to symbolise humanity. Yes, but at the same time, he's distinct. He sympathises with HAL more than Frank does--when we're watching them interact, the movie sets us up to carefully observe how the humans react to the computer. It's interesting how reasonable Dave sounds with HAL--he never seems unnerved by HAL's intelligence and is friendly with HAL when they play chess.
By the way, this site has a pretty cool walk through of the game Dave and HAL play, which is apparently based on a real game that took place in 1910. It's a pretty cool mate, but it seems people too infrequently think about pieces other than the Queen when they're putting together a checkmate. I love when mate is achieved by creating a particular environment for the King.
The futuristic designs for the movie look pretty dated, of course. I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic for it, though. What happened to the "let's upholster everything" school of interior design?