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I just watched 2001: a space odyssey

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All it really has is good graphics (for it's day) and perhaps some philosophical-thought-provoking-ness. (I don't care that that's not a word).

And that in itself is plot, and very intense, too.

Another important thing about the movie which is rare these days: It takes itself seriously. Nowadays, it seems like that's some sort of suicide for a movie.

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Another important thing about the movie which is rare these days: It takes itself seriously. Nowadays, it seems like that's some sort of suicide for a movie.

Good point, but filmmakers do have to be careful not to confuse "serious" with "pretentious". A film can definitely take itself too seriously (not that I think 2001 does).

The thing that really struck me when I saw it in February was how "perfectly" made it was. I wouldn't normally use that word... but here every shot seemed exactly right, the timing of every moment was spot-on. Not a single frame seemed out of place, or unfinished. Most movies have the odd line or shot that doesn't feel 100% right, but with 2001 I get the impression that Kubrick knew (and got) exactly what he wanted.

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Well he removed some 19 minutes of footage from his original cut, so he certainly did not get what he wanted straight away.

I like that even though this film deals with basically the evolution of the human species, all the individual humans in the film are rather mundane, everyday characters.

In the second part of the film, the "Heywood Floyd" segment as I call it, most of the dialogue is small talk, ranging from social chit-chat, to sucking up to the boss. And onboard Discovery, Bowman and Poole come off as professional workmen, rather then adverturous discoverers. Their interview with the press, their conversations together, Frank's parent's "phone call", dont give us any clue into their personality.

HAL and Heywood Floyd's daughter (actually Kubrick's daughter, are the only 2 people displaying what we would consider human emotions)

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I didn't find the film boring when I watched it (and I've only see it once), but I did find myself thinking... ok, what exactly does this mean?... during large parts.

I do hate those people who say that if you find it boring then you're *obviously* a boring person with no taste for great cinema. Yes, it may say "things" about us, and our beliefs, but it's just one man's vision, who's said himself that there's no one interpretation of it.

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Good point, but filmmakers do have to be careful not to confuse "serious" with "pretentious". A film can definitely take itself too seriously (not that I think 2001 does).

2001 could probably be called "pretentious" depending on your mindset, and I'm sure it has been called that. Ultimately, I think pretentiousness often just depends on how well a movie ultimately works. And I'd rather have a movie that tries to be serious and ends up somewhat pretentious than a self-deprecating mess of comic relief.

"Not taking itself too serious" is among my top 5 (or so) reasons why movies fail.

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2001's plot does not concerns the life of those involved in the story, but rather the philosophical aspects of mankinds place in the universe.

Hence the dificulty in understanding it... this is Kubrick's vision, even if he gives us space to come up with our own interpretations.

In fact, and from years -- and by years I would say over two decades -- of studying this film, of watching it so often, of reading so much about it, it became my conclusion that the use of the music serves to convey those very same ideas.

But above all, whatever your believes are -- unless you don't believe in evolution -- this will fit everyone's perception of man's place in the big picture... wether you believe in God or not, if you find that the monoliths are a manifestation of the divine or only a more advanced species...

2001 is the perfect movie for anyone with open mind and willing to accept that we are nothing but a really small bit of sand on the largest beach.

On a final note, and I apologize if I failed to make sense, as I'm quite tired right now, the visuals are surely up to date. Much better than most CGI crap of nowadays.

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2001's plot does not concerns the life of those involved in the story, but rather the philosophical aspects of mankinds place in the universe.

Hence the dificulty in understanding it... this is Kubrick's vision, even if he gives us space to come up with our own interpretations.

In fact, and from years -- and by years I would say over two decades -- of studying this film, of watching it so often, of reading so much about it, it became my conclusion that the use of the music serves to convey those very same ideas.

But above all, whatever your believes are -- unless you don't believe in evolution -- this will fit everyone's perception of man's place in the big picture... wether you believe in God or not, if you find that the monoliths are a manifestation of the divine or only a more advanced species...

2001 is the perfect movie for anyone with open mind and willing to accept that we are nothing but a really small bit of sand on the largest beach.

On a final note, and I apologize if I failed to make sense, as I'm quite tired right now, the visuals are surely up to date. Much better than most CGI crap of nowadays.

I agree with your post, except for the music.

I think most people undestand the basic story outline and possible conclusion but the exact meaning of what it is can differ from person to person.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it.

It is a technical marvel to view and shows that good old fashioned model work is just as good as CGI.

Actually I think CGI still has a long way to go before it can truly match good model work for a realistic feel.

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I keep thinking CGI is often misjudged. It's easy for models to look solid, because they are. And with the right amount of detail and good lighting, they also look the right size. But they are very limited in what they can do, and this is where CGI wins easily. Up until, and including, Jurassic Park, full CGI creatures looked too light when running and jumping, but I have yet to see animatronic models of creatures that run and jump nearly as well as modern CGI can do.

They're different tools for somewhat different tasks, and usually work best when combined. But I seriously believe that models have just as many limitations as CGI does (the difference being that CGI is likely to overcome those sooner or later).

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I keep thinking CGI is often misjudged. It's easy for models to look solid, because they are. And with the right amount of detail and good lighting, they also look the right size. But they are very limited in what they can do, and this is where CGI wins easily. Up until, and including, Jurassic Park, full CGI creatures looked too light when running and jumping, but I have yet to see animatronic models of creatures that run and jump nearly as well as modern CGI can do.

They're different tools for somewhat different tasks, and usually work best when combined. But I seriously believe that models have just as many limitations as CGI does (the difference being that CGI is likely to overcome those sooner or later).

exactly.

2001 spacestation looks great even now. But what does it do? Roll.

the spaceships from SW and ST look more dated because they moved and show the limitations of models.

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The movement of the ships ILM pulled off in the OT (particularly JEDI) is astounding, and feels so much more tangible and real than anything CGI.

I think CGI works best when it is working with something organic or fantastical. The water-tentacle in THE ABYSS, the T-1000, the T-Rex, the Balrog, Kong, even Jar Jar. They all work great. But mechanical objects like ships, there's always something hollow about them. Reflective, if that makes sense at all. Like they're made out of polygons. Whereas an actual physically constructed model, as Mark says, carries a certain weight and presence about it. As Trek was mentioned, take THE MOTION PICTURE and NEMESIS. Two movies with over twenty years between them. But which has the more impressive and awe-inspiring starship effects (discounting the TMP DE)?

TMP, that's which.

Maybe it's because CGI is so commonplace now. In the days of ILM and Doug Trumbull, great effects had more of an effect because it was a very fine art. Now, every movie, every commercial, every music video all use CGI, a lot of which is very well done. Who knows.

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A.i. will be a masterpiece in the future :cool:

That's debatable. I think it will remain a polarized affair.

A.I. is a masterpiece now . . . no need to wait for the future, it's already here.

no it will never be, the public will never embrace that piece of **** as a masterpiece.

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This place is bursting at the seams with polar opposites lately.

AI is neither...

Joey said:
...a piece of ****

NOR a masterpiece.

It is a meh movie, which will find its audience widen, via and thanks to the passage of time.

It's detractors will exist for a while, but just like everything else - their voices will die out before its end. A movie's cult lives on BECAUSE of it's fans and not because of its haters.

.

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luckily their are alot of people who dislike the film here, many of them much younger than I. AI will never be embraced, count on it. It will merely exist as one of the worst directorial efforts ever by Spielberg, that wont ever change.

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I would refine the previously stated thought that 2001 is about "mankind," to say that it is about communication. When I say communication, I don't mean the organizational device that can be "strong or weak," or carries messages. (That it's reduced to this so often makes me sick.) I mean communication as the constitutive fabric of humankind. Some see that communication as technology, others see it as mediated information, and others see it as the means linguistic frameworks enabling thought and memory as we know it. It is all of these things, and the film involves them all.

Ted

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AI will never be embraced, count on it.

Apparently it already is...

TGE, who isn't bothered either way, since AI is far from being a film he cares about in the first place.

by whom? Fanboys? perhaps.

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A.i. will be a masterpiece in the future :)

That's debatable. I think it will remain a polarized affair.

A.I. is a masterpiece now . . . no need to wait for the future, it's already here.

no it will never be, the public will never embrace that piece of **** as a masterpiece.

Joey, why should I be bothered to respect the opinions of somebody who doesn't take the time to capitalize words? You barely seem to know how to type; why should I assume that your capacity for critical analysis is any better than your typing skills?

Your tastes are not necessarily indicative of the public's, nor is the public's necessarily indicative of what will and what won't be considered a masterpiece. That status will be determined by people who think and write seriously about film. Lots of people don't like Shakespeare or Moby-Dick or Blade Runner, too. That doesn't mean that theirs is the only opinion, or that it's the better opinion.

Eventually, Spielberg will be widely considered to have been a serious artist, and his films will be viewed in that light. And in that light, the complexities and virtues of A.I. will be better appreciated than they seem now to be.

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I think in fifty years AI will still be regarded as a meh movie in the general canon of Spielberg, but it's sizeable cult following will continue to champion its cause regardless. I sincerely doubt AI will ever be regarded as some sort of masterpiece by the mass media.

Nothing new that, it happens all the time.

The one and only certainty is that AI is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination.

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A.i. will be a masterpiece in the future :)

That's debatable. I think it will remain a polarized affair.

A.I. is a masterpiece now . . . no need to wait for the future, it's already here.

no it will never be, the public will never embrace that piece of **** as a masterpiece.

Joey, why should I be bothered to respect the opinions of somebody who doesn't take the time to capitalize words? You barely seem to know how to type; why should I assume that your capacity for critical analysis is any better than your typing skills?

Your tastes are not necessarily indicative of the public's, nor is the public's necessarily indicative of what will and what won't be considered a masterpiece. That status will be determined by people who think and write seriously about film. Lots of people don't like Shakespeare or Moby-Dick or Blade Runner, too. That doesn't mean that theirs is the only opinion, or that it's the better opinion.

Eventually, Spielberg will be widely considered to have been a serious artist, and his films will be viewed in that light. And in that light, the complexities and virtues of A.I. will be better appreciated than they seem now to be.

so are you going to be a spelling nazi now. Its the internet BB, not exactly a place for high english. People who think seriously and write about film are not the people who should be determining a films place, that belongs to the public. I think SS is considered a film artist, of high calibre.

btw, its my signature to not capitalise the first word I type. I believe it was our Grand Master, Stefan himself who first recognised this.

Stefan you know that threads change, they must evolve in order to survive

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I thought this thread was about 2001?

It was. I tried redirecting it, but to no avail. Like just about every other thread about a movie not directed by George Lucas and/or Steven Spielberg, it became about George Lucas and/or Steven Spielberg. I could start a thread about Bergman and by the end of the first page, we'd be on to Spielberg or Lucas.

Ted

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so are you going to be a spelling nazi now. Its the internet BB, not exactly a place for high english. People who think seriously and write about film are not the people who should be determining a films place, that belongs to the public. I think SS is considered a film artist, of high calibre.

btw, its my signature to not capitalise the first word I type. I believe it was our Grand Master, Stefan himself who first recognised this.

Stefan you know that threads change, they must evolve in order to survive

Nope, I'm not a spelling Nazi, nor any other kind, and I apologize for being overly rude before. But I do have an English degree, and "internet writing" just rubs me the wrong way every time. Use that shift button, man!

You anti-A.I. people also rub me the wrong way, because all I ever hear is that it's a bad movie, or that it's crap, or whatever other pejorative gets used. I never hear anybody say why it's bad, though. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of Spielberg's best movies, with virtually no flaws; impeccably shot, with memorable performances, great effects, and a thoroughly (and consistently) moving storyline. One of JW's better scores, too. Even the dialogue is good. And until somebody convinces me otherwise, I'm going to keep saying it, when the occasions arise naturally, at least: it's a masterpiece.

Determining the critical status of a work of art does belong to writers, by the way. Popularity is the public's job, but that's not the same thing as artistic merit. That's judged by people who take it seriously; it's just how things work.

As for the thread getting off track, well, there are connections between 2001 and A.I., so it's not entirely out of bounds. And at least discussing A.I. has some John Williams connection! I know it's a rarity around here, but still...

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What did I tell you. ROTFLMAO

A.I. is one of most polarized works I've ever seen, film and score. That may change somewhere down the line, but not in the near future.

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so are you going to be a spelling nazi now. Its the internet BB, not exactly a place for high english. People who think seriously and write about film are not the people who should be determining a films place, that belongs to the public. I think SS is considered a film artist, of high calibre.

btw, its my signature to not capitalise the first word I type. I believe it was our Grand Master, Stefan himself who first recognised this.

Stefan you know that threads change, they must evolve in order to survive

Nope, I'm not a spelling Nazi, nor any other kind, and I apologize for being overly rude before. But I do have an English degree, and "internet writing" just rubs me the wrong way every time. Use that shift button, man!

You anti-A.I. people also rub me the wrong way, because all I ever hear is that it's a bad movie, or that it's crap, or whatever other pejorative gets used. I never hear anybody say why it's bad, though. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of Spielberg's best movies, with virtually no flaws; impeccably shot, with memorable performances, great effects, and a thoroughly (and consistently) moving storyline. One of JW's better scores, too. Even the dialogue is good. And until somebody convinces me otherwise, I'm going to keep saying it, when the occasions arise naturally, at least: it's a masterpiece.

Determining the critical status of a work of art does belong to writers, by the way. Popularity is the public's job, but that's not the same thing as artistic merit. That's judged by people who take it seriously; it's just how things work.

As for the thread getting off track, well, there are connections between 2001 and A.I., so it's not entirely out of bounds. And at least discussing A.I. has some John Williams connection! I know it's a rarity around here, but still...

its not a masterpiece its the worst film by Spielberg. The acting is all over the place, while the brit is good, the boy is mediocre, and his Francis O'conner gives absolutely the worst performance in a Spielberg film. Robin Williams once again is more of a harm than a benefit to the film. The pacing is irregular.

The Aliens oh sorry the super mecha's are confusing as hell. The film has more false endings that most film have segments. Technically its a typical SS film very competent. Williams score is good, not great, but good. I wanted to like this movie, I gave it more chances than it deserved, but it deserved to bomb @ the US boxoffice.

Once again I dont agree with you, its not the writers duty to assign how a film is percieved, thats the publics job, eventual it will either attain the status of a masterpiece, or it wont, in this case its as likely as george bush being perceived as a great president, neither will happen.

the your instead of you're is just for a spelling nazi like you, wink wink

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its not a masterpiece its the worst film by Spielberg. The acting is all over the place, while the brit is good, the boy is mediocre, and his Francis O'conner gives absolutely the worst performance in a Spielberg film. Robin Williams once again is more of a harm than a benefit to the film. The pacing is irregular.

The Aliens oh sorry the super mecha's are confusing as hell. The film has more false endings that most film have segments. Technically its a typical SS film very competent. Williams score is good, not great, but good. I wanted to like this movie, I gave it more chances than it deserved, but it deserved to bomb @ the US boxoffice.

Once again I dont agree with you, its not the writers duty to assign how a film is percieved, thats the publics job, eventual it will either attain the status of a masterpiece, or it wont, in this case its as likely as george bush being perceived as a great president, neither will happen.

the your instead of you're is just for a spelling nazi like you, wink wink

Well, number one, even if I hated A.I., it'd be better than either Hook or The Lost World, so it's automatically disqualified as Speilberg's worst film. (Not that I totally dislike those two; they've got scenes I like, and Hook especially has a great score.)

Osment isn't mediocre in the movie, he's incredible! True, he was only particularly good in three movies (the others being Forrest Gump and The Sixth Sense), but he gives a terrific performance in A.I. If you need proof of that, look no further than the scene in which Monica "imprints" David with love for her. If that scene doesn't get you a little choked up, I don't know what will. Prior to this scene, Osment has done a commendable job of portraying a robot, but when Monica completes the imprinting sequence, he does this subtle little transition from emotionlessness into . . . well, let's just call it what the film intends for it to be: a transition from robot to human. The transition cannot possibly be missed by anybody paying attention, and yet Monica misses it. She's concerned not about the difference in David, but about (and only about) the difference in herself.

The key to Frances O'Connor's performance -- which is not a bad one at all, but instead a very Kubrickianly precise performance -- is understanding that Monica is just kind of a terrible person. Irredeemably self-involved, thoughtlessly cruel, and in no way deserving of the love that poor David has for her. The audience is supposed to feel the hatred for her that David ought to feel, and is incapable of feeling, and yet also be able to empathize with David's love. That's a complex role for an actor to play, and she did it marvelously, in my opinion.

As for Robin Williams, that's such a small role that even if you hate the guy, I can't see how it would affect your liking of the movie; or, in your case, how having somebody "better" in the role would have improved things. I will say this: one of the themes of the movie is an examination of how, in this particular future, humans interact with technology. Even if you find Dr. Know/Robin Williams to be 100% annoying, that scene is communicating something: that humans feel the need to meld learning with entertainment, almost as if in the future we've become nothing but a bunch of small children who have to have knowledge dispensed to them with a sugary coating. It implies an inability to properly deal with things on an adult level . . . and we've already seen, by this point in the movie, multiple examples of similar behavior (from Monica, for instance). I suppose you can make the argument that this scene is, therefore, treading over ground already traveled, but I find it to be using an important plot-development scene to reinforce one of the film's themes. Two birds with one stone; economy.

How are the "evolved" mechas confusing? You obviously know that they aren't aliens, but advanced robotic earthlings. Is it that you assumed they were aliens, and then had to be told that "no, they're robots, dummy"? Because that's what happened to me. I actually got in quite an argument with a friend whom I saw the movie with on opening night; we both loved it, and I remarked how I thought the aliens looked like same ones in Close Encounters, do you think that was on purpose? My friend said aliens?!? and asked what aliens, there weren't any aliens. It went on like that for a while.

I saw the movie again a few days later, and could not for the life of me figure out why I'd thought they were aliens. Fer chrissake, you can see the circuitry inside them! They have, like, tv screens in their faces (or is it their torsos?; can't remember)! Obviously, they're robots. Other than that, I don't see that there's anything to be confused about. Did I leave out something obvious?

While I'm close to the topic, yes, I think it was a purposeful decision -- not a mistake -- to have the evolved mechas be reminiscent of the aliens from Close Encounters. That choice, for me at least (even though I initially misinterpreted their origin), instantly transmitted a feeling of security. Without that, (if, for example, I consciously or subconsciously thought they had some sort of hostile intent) then the scene might have played out ominously, and lent the finale of the movie an air it didn't need. Instead, the scene plays as what it is: a rescue. And then, the rest of the finale gets to have a feeling of release, not one of tension.

Now, let's cover the topic of false endings. I only remember one: David at the bottom of the ocean. If you want multiple false endings, go to The Return of the King (one of my favorite movies, but damn could it have benefited from better editing toward the end). I don't remember any false endings in A.I. except for that one, and really, if you thought the movie was going to end there, you weren't paying attention. Even Kubrick wouldn't have ended it there (much less Spielberg). Why? Because there would have been no resolution, and say what you want about Kubrick, he always had some sort of resolution, even if it was an uncomfortable or ambiguous one. Certainly, Spielberg wasn't going to end it there. So again, what false endings are you referring to? If I'm wrong, I'm willing to be corrected.

Williams' score is at the very least one of his best of the decade. It'd probably get that distinction from me if it had nothing more to offer than "Hide and Seek," which is a great example of using the score to enhance, rather than merely support, the narrative. But "Abandoned in the Woods" is another highlight, as is "The Search for the Blue Fairy" and "The Reunion." Sadly, the CD is a nightmare of poor sequencing and cue selection, but that's the CD, not the score. Obviously, this is just a matter of taste, but I think it's a serious highlight of late-era Williams.

And you're just dead wrong on the topic of whose job it is to decide what movies are worthwhile artistically. I'm talking about art, not entertainment. Entertainment is a popularity contest. Art is a matter of discernment and analysis. It is not to be left to people who are content to watch things only on a surface level. If it were, Transformers -- not my cup of tea, but entertaining, though utterly devoid of a brain -- would be considered a classic. American Idol -- again, not my cup of tea, but a diverting enough way to spend an hour -- would be considered to be great art. Art requires dedication, devotion, and persistence, even from just an audience standpoint, to say nothing of what is required of the artist. Most people don't have the desire to put in that dedication, and many people who have the desire don't have the time. This is not a matter of elitism or snobbery, it's a matter of being willing/able to devote the appropriate energies to the pursuit of meaning in the appreciation of the things around you. This is a pursuit of the meaning of the artist, and also a pursuit of personal meaning for the pursuer. There's nothing wrong with not taking this path, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be content with accepting the judgments as handed down by the masses.

Not that the masses can't get it right way before the critics. Spielberg himself is a great example. Remember, it wasn't until Schindler's List that critics started to take him seriously. Prior to that, Raiders of the Lost Ark was dismissed as nothing more than popcorn; it occurred to very few people to think that there was art to be found in the editing, or the performances, or the dialogue, or the action scenes, or in the very economical "simplicity" of the story. (Despite the fact that some of the same critics had already been proven wrong on the same counts with Hitchcock, another case of the public being ahead of the critics. Shakespeare was another, by the way.) Jaws was just a monster movie; Close Encounters was just a lightshow; E.T. was just a kids' movie; The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun were mere Oscar-bait, and unsuccessful ones at that. And let's not even talk about 1941. (Although not even I would defend that one as high art; low art, maybe.)

Obviously, there were some people who took his work seriously from the start; but by and large, it wasn't. Well, the public was way ahead of the critics on that count. (By the way, when I say "critics," I mean essayists and long-form writers, not newspaper reviewers and the like. There is a big difference.)

I think you'd have to admit that the public at large gets it wrong at least as often as they get it right, though. Critics are similarly fallible, but I think the failure rate is considerably smaller.

A.I. is a masterpiece, one of several from Spielberg. Eventually, somebody notable is going to agree with me. And if they don't, well, I'll pioneer that field myself.

We're in agreement on Bush Jr., though -- that guy's the worst.

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How are the "evolved" mechas confusing? You obviously know that they aren't aliens, but advanced robotic earthlings. Is it that you assumed they were aliens, and then had to be told that "no, they're robots, dummy"? Because that's what happened to me. I actually got in quite an argument with a friend whom I saw the movie with on opening night; we both loved it, and I remarked how I thought the aliens looked like same ones in Close Encounters, do you think that was on purpose? My friend said aliens?!? and asked what aliens, there weren't any aliens. It went on like that for a while.

If you need further evidence, notice David's first appereance in the film.

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How are the "evolved" mechas confusing? You obviously know that they aren't aliens, but advanced robotic earthlings. Is it that you assumed they were aliens, and then had to be told that "no, they're robots, dummy"? Because that's what happened to me. I actually got in quite an argument with a friend whom I saw the movie with on opening night; we both loved it, and I remarked how I thought the aliens looked like same ones in Close Encounters, do you think that was on purpose? My friend said aliens?!? and asked what aliens, there weren't any aliens. It went on like that for a while.

If you need further evidence, notice David's first appereance in the film.

Yes -- excellent point. And the movie is just filled with visual details like that. It's a movie that really benefits from being picked apart; you find that it's just amazingly well put-together. I started, and have yet to finish, a scene-by-scene analysis of the movie, and found things (like that first image of David) that I had not even considered considering before.

I'll give you another example. During the opening scene with William Hurt, in which he is making a pitch to create a robot that can be programmed to love, he makes some points by using a female robot. He jabs her with a pin and asks her what he has just done to her feelings; she replies, "You did it to my hand." The scene ends with the robot, Sheila, putting on lipstick, and then fades to a scene twenty months later. Monica and her husband are driving; she is putting on lipstick. Our initial assumption (on a first viewing, I mean) might be that we're seeing another robot. Obviously, this isn't the case . . . but in some ways, Monica is just as free of certain emotions as Sheila is. It seems fairly obvious that Hurt has created Sheila as a partner, and that she (through no fault of her own) has failed. Monica seems to have failed her husband (or vice versa, perhaps) in a similar way. And she will go on to fail David even more utterly . . . David having been created as a replacement for Hurt's deceased son. Presumably, David has been merely a beta test of sorts; Hurt's character will create another for himself, as well as a superior version of Sheila. All of which is rather disturbing. And a lot of which is communicated simply by having Monica putting on some lipstick with a vacant expression on her face.

This type of thing goes on for the entirety of the movie.

And that is why it's a masterpiece.

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This type of thing goes on for the entirety of the movie.

Explain to me the deeper meaning of Gigolo Joe.

I would think that would be fairly self-evident.

Remember, the robots have all been created to provide needs to humankind, which has been devastated by global flooding. Presumably, this began as an attempt to provide basic services, and once the door was sort of opened, lover-model robots were marketed. Joe is a character who goes out and provides artificial love to people who need -- or just plain want -- it. He has a sort of humanity to him, just by virtue of the fact that he has been designed to please; and a sort of dignity, because he has not been programmed to have any shae about what he does. He seems scared at times (not unlike one HAL-model computer in some other movie), and strikes me as a piece of evidence that robots are already in the very early stages of evolving. I think that's one of Jude Law's best performances; I wish he'd work with Spielberg again, in more of a leading-man capacity. Here, he's strictly support. So the greater meaning of Gigolo Joe is that he provides you with an alternative view of the movie's themes.

Ultimately, what I find the movie to be about is the search for love. Almost every character is engaged in that search, most of them from different angles. The fact (if you take it as a fact; you might have a different idea) that David's is the purest is the heart of the movie. And it's a very cold heart; because, remember, David is only that way because he's been programmed to be. If you don't accept that as "real," then you're left with the choice that David's programmer must be the deepest emotional creature in the film. That's the William Hurt character, who is a sort of God figure, in a way. He points out early on that in the beginning, God made man to love Him, not the other way around. That may or may not be, but the fact that Hurt thinks it to be is deeply significant to his character. Depending on your personal beliefs and interpretations, then, one of the themes of the movie may be that there is no greater love than the love God has for man.

Which, of course, leads you down further avenues of meaning.

Masterpiece.

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Another robot programmed for love isn't so very deep, IMO. I think that this issue is better developed through David. Compared to him, Gigolo Joe is just a momentarily sidekick. A third-rate carbon copy which the film soon forgets about after a blown-up introduction. Now if Joe came in like he went out, then I wouldn't have any problems with it. However, Spielberg decided to give the stage to Jude Law so that he too would have a close-up, a shining moment. Dynamically and dramatically speaking, this stuff is very uneven.

Alex

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Fascinating point, but Spielberg wasn't going for "evenness." Spielberg is doing more than posing philosophical questions about humankind, and so on. He is examining memory, thought, and narrative, with his narrative. Which is why he makes it stutter, he makes it uneven. People brought up on notions of critical judgment and checklisting a film's formal details like good acting, direction, script structure, etc. are bound to hate it. I'm not going to try to convince any one of you otherwise.

Ted

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Fascinating point, but Spielberg wasn't going for "evenness."

Apparently not. After Jude Law, Spielberg allowed Robin Williams, on his turn, to do his one man show. There we go again! One would almost think that the part was written specially for Williams. I cannot contribute these two occurances to an experimental narrative style. It's a clear case of trying to grab the attention of a large audience. It's cinema as usual and the colorful characters David meets on his quest is yet another bad copy of The Wizard Of Oz. It's things like these that indisputably stand in the way of masterpiecedom.

Alex

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Experimentalism is about confounding, not following a set of rules.

Ted

Good slogan, but nonetheless, it's not appliable to the easily perceived instances that I mentioned above.

Alex

Maybe not for you.

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And you're just dead wrong on the topic of whose job it is to decide what movies are worthwhile artistically. I'm talking about art, not entertainment. Entertainment is a popularity contest. Art is a matter of discernment and analysis. It is not to be left to people who are content to watch things only on a surface level. If it were, Transformers -- not my cup of tea, but entertaining, though utterly devoid of a brain -- would be considered a classic. American Idol -- again, not my cup of tea, but a diverting enough way to spend an hour -- would be considered to be great art. Art requires dedication, devotion, and persistence, even from just an audience standpoint, to say nothing of what is required of the artist. Most people don't have the desire to put in that dedication, and many people who have the desire don't have the time. This is not a matter of elitism or snobbery, it's a matter of being willing/able to devote the appropriate energies to the pursuit of meaning in the appreciation of the things around you. This is a pursuit of the meaning of the artist, and also a pursuit of personal meaning for the pursuer. There's nothing wrong with not taking this path, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be content with accepting the judgments as handed down by the masses.

Not that the masses can't get it right way before the critics. Spielberg himself is a great example. Remember, it wasn't until Schindler's List that critics started to take him seriously. Prior to that, Raiders of the Lost Ark was dismissed as nothing more than popcorn; it occurred to very few people to think that there was art to be found in the editing, or the performances, or the dialogue, or the action scenes, or in the very economical "simplicity" of the story. (Despite the fact that some of the same critics had already been proven wrong on the same counts with Hitchcock, another case of the public being ahead of the critics. Shakespeare was another, by the way.) Jaws was just a monster movie; Close Encounters was just a lightshow; E.T. was just a kids' movie; The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun were mere Oscar-bait, and unsuccessful ones at that. And let's not even talk about 1941. (Although not even I would defend that one as high art; low art, maybe.)

YOUR completely wrong, once again, you continue to think its the critics job to decided if a movie is a classic. Thats a complete fallicy on your part. Movies exist long after their intial release, and critics move on to the next big thing, its the public that continues to embrace a film long after its release. I'm not talking art, its well known here that I dislike that too often used word, it and masterpiece are too easily assigned, without proper reason. Film is a craft, some transcend the craft into art, but most don't. As for your silly approach to suddenly who is a critic, and who isn't, I suppose we should all bend down and kiss Harold Blooms ass, don't think so. The public will continue to ignore the critics and make their own determination, thats why some films have cult following while the rest of the public may or may not care.

You were incorrect on Temple of Doom as you are here about the critic's response to Spielberg, Raiders was never dismissed as popcorn. People took Spielberg seriously rather quickly after Jaws and Close Encounters, and the critics were quick to pile on when the wunderkind fell on his behind with 1941. Then Raiders came along, and it was a film that caught people off guard because of the Sat. matinee title. You do wisely use the word economically in regards to Raiders in that there was an economical approach taken by Spielberg, he learned from his mistakes on 1941, something few directors seem capable of today. ET was never just a kids movie, it was certainly loved by the people, and the critics as well. Yes come awards time there was a backlash over its popularity, it is still the best movie Spielberg's made, he certainly thinks so, and its held up better than Ghandi. Its funny that in every case where a Spielberg film lost to another for best picture, the Spielberg film has ended up holding well far better than the winner. I wont disagree about 1941, but will still say, its has some fantastic moments, and is typical of the technical mastery SS shows in most films(how he lost it in LC I still don't get). Any I don't have time to debate point for point but we certainly will continue to disagree about A.I., it is IMHO the worst film of SS career, and his worst artistic failure. Just so you know, I've given AI more than 5 viewings in an effort for it to click, it never has.

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I don't want to interrupt this dialogue, but I do want to point out that many critics (both then and now) did not look favorably on Raiders. Certain critics did, and many still do, the Jonathan Rosenbaums of the film critic business weren't so kind to it.

Ted

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well it certainly makes a point doesn't it Ted, not every film is for everybody. I don't remember was it Pauline Kael who disliked the film so much?

I distinctly remember Siskel and Ebert talking about Raiders come Oscar time they both felt it deserved best picture, they made an interesting point that it alone among the other 4 nominee's succeeded most in delivering its intent. Chariots of Fire is still a fine movie, it has held up well(period pieces often do) but not as well as Raiders. Both have held up slightly better than On Golden Pond, which feels somewhat dated, though I do not want to take anything away from the fantastic performances of that film. I still continue to think of Hepburn as a God among the rest of the actors.

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I just recently stumbled across a record of Arthur C. Clarke reading the book, http://thezombieastronaut.com/ , and there's just something about his stilted voice that oozes intelligence, the way he nonchalantly reads the descriptions of the outrageous imagery at the finale, that makes me almost like the book as much as the movie!

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I bought it awhile ago for around 10 bucks. After I bought I didn't watch it though for like a month. When I finally did I found out the disc was defective and the movie would skip and freeze every 5 minutes.

Return/Exchange date passed, so I sold it for 1 buck on eBay.

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