‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Marks 50 Years, Studied by ISU Assistant Professor

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AMES, Iowa- The year 2018 marks 50 years since the release of the Stanley Kubrick film 2001 A Space Odyssey.

At Iowa State University Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Justin Remes, says not only is the film considered by many to be a classic, but he credits 2001 A Space Odyssey for his interest in film.

Remes made a first attempt at watching “2001” on his Dad’s VHS player. That ended after just 10 minutes. He says he didn’t have the patience as a 15-year-old to figure out why apes were fighting in a science fiction movie. Three years later, Remes says he was ready to give the film a second chance, and this time he watched from beginning to end.

Even though the film was hard to understand, it got him hooked as a medium of artistic expression.

“Kubrick taught me that film could be just as powerful and thought-provoking as painting, music and literature,” he said. “To this day, when people ask why I decided to become a film professor, I tell them it all started when I first saw ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ as a teenager.”

The film came out on April 3, 1968 during the era of space travel to the moon.

“Keeping mind those films science-fiction films in the 50s and 60s while their charming, they looked a little bit cheesy by today standards,” said Remes. “They would often have little green men flying saucers, 2001 a space Odyssey was not like those films at all, many people were just completely mystified by the film.”

Remes has noticed the influence of Kubrick’s film on later science-fiction.

"I recently saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the first time, and I was amazed at how clearly indebted it was to 2001:A Space Odyssey with its slow pace, with stunning visuals,” said Remes.

Another big part of the movie is the selection of music.

“Kubrick had commission the score for the film by a composer named Alex North,” said Remes. “North went to the premiere of the film he was quite angry to find out none of his music way made it’s way into the film.”

While Remes said he felt for the original music composer, he thought the choice of music was perfect for the film.

“To see these early humans, and hear Ricard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, it’s so ennobling, and it's so inspiring and powerful, so every musical decision Kubrick made was just right for the film."

Exhibits on the 50th Anniverary of 2001 A Space Odyssey:

Air and Space Museum

German Museum

New Book on the Making of 2001 A Space Odyssey


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