Case Study 1. Flying bone
The first movie I’d like to talk about is Stanley Kubrik’s “2001: Space Odyssey” (1968). I don’t want to go deep about the plot, what Kubrik meant and the symbolics, but the means he uses to deliver storyline.
What you see is 30 minutes section with ape screams and classic music playing over flying objects in endless space. These 2 sequences boring at first, deliver everything that a viewer needs to know about the film. Pre-human monkeys fighting for the source of water and mysterious black monolith, transforming forever their lifes and perhaps serving as a jump-start to human evolution. And then thrown bone into the sky transforms into space station, in the infamous scene, which in return waltzes with the space ship approaching for docking followed by the masterpiece of Strauss – “The Blue Danube”.
That’s Kubrik’s magic, which he delivers with great passion and precision. Yes, it looks nice. But it is boring and it was supposed to be. That’s the reason it is so difficult to watch, as director wants you to relax, empty your stressful mind and just enjoy the beauty. And it occured to me that if you really know movies and movie theory you will appreciate the movie even more.
Nevertheless, I’d like to mention the way information is delivered to the viewer. After enduring 30 minutes of visual adventure, the director presents us with the main plot of the movie: send a space research unit to the Jupiter. There are no voiceovers, not even a single debriefing for researchers. What does Kubrik do? He shows a government official travelling to a space station for a secret meeting. Meanwhile having conversations with different people, we learn bit by bit the main background of the movie.
First he meets russian scientists, which ask him about the secrecy and the epydemic at American base. Then he enters the meeting and discuss the reason of secrecy with fellow government officials. Later on, on the 3rd chapter of the film, crew of Discovery mission is listening to the interview conducted by BBC with them and HAL-9000 supercomputer, where the information about the flight and the abilities of HAL are presented in very interesting manner.
That’s how viewer is finally presented with the information.