Review Of Stanley Kubrick 's ' 2001 : A Space Odyssey '

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ESSAY

Drawing on the work of Chion, Eisenstein or others, assess how effective the film soundtrack is in either Forbidden Planet, Points in Space or 2001.

Stanley Kubrick’s legendary film “2001 : A Space Odyssey” (1968) is an epic of space exploration and meditation on the possibility of extraterrestrial influence on the process of human evolution. The film is set in the near future at a time when the moon is colonised and space travel, at least around the planetary system, is quite usual.

Kubrick said “2001 aspired not to the condition of a science fiction novel but to that of music” ( Baxter,1997 :215)

Kubrick gave this description of “2001”: “It is a scientifically based yet dramatic attempt to explore the infinite possibilities
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The Richard Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” and Ligeti’s “Requiem” act as recurrent themes in the film’s story. The C-G-C chords of “Zarathustra” is first heard playing triumphantly like a fan fare in the opening title which juxtaposes the Sun, Earth and Moon. “Zarathustra” acts as bookends for the beginning and end of the film and indicates the importance of the moments of the evolutionary transformation first from ape to man to Star Child. “Zarathustra” is heard near the end of the film as Bowman is transformed into the Star Child which moves earthwards through space, its glowing eyes look back at us. The grandeur of “Zarathustra’s“ timpani pounds across space supporting this image of human transcendence. “Zarathustra” gives it’s visual component immense power.

The “Blue Danube” is used during the space station docking and lunar landing sequences turning a spacecraft’s orbit into a ballet. It’s also used for the closing credits. The particular recording used is important. Kubrick chose a sumptuous and expansive recording by the Berlin Philharmonic. The “Blue Danube” serves many functions. The Waltz acts as musak - happy music for space travellers. According to Michel Chion (Chion 2001), a shock, both pleasant and intoxicating, was produced by this choice .

Kubrick said “It’s hard to find anything much

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