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Film Critique: 2001: A Space Odyssey Coursework

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Updated: Jun 12th, 2022

If one was to analyze the film, what becomes apparent to the reader is the fact that till half an hour has passed, there is no dialogue used at all in the film. This allowed the viewer to watch the movements with greater interest and the “sounds which the characters produce” are hence, depicted in a better manner. The viewer is not distracted from the character’s movements and the main focus is on them as a result.

The film’s title track is the opening music from “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss. The music symbolizes the important and moving parts of the film which can be seen in the history of mankind. We see the song being used as a device to portray the different facets of history and mankind seems to be playing to the different elements of the soundtrack. What the music of this film has achieved is certainly commendable as it demonstrated certain aspects of humanity which the other films have shied from doing. Hence, creates a special niche for itself. Such a trick has been earlier seen in television series such as the Apollo series which came on TV during the period of the 1960s and 1970s.

What is also surprising and catches the interest of the viewer is the way that the music choices for the Earth, Moon, and the space station have been used. The void which has been created as a result of lack of dialogue needs to be covered in some way or another. Therefore, the use of the Blue Danube has been used which might seem to be a fun choice. However, what has to be taken into consideration is the fact the entire mood of the scenes is that of a light-hearted nature. Added to this is the fact that even millions of years are considered a small period –hence bearing testimony to this fact.

Further on, in the film what becomes apparent is the fact that the vastness of space and the lonely feeling that is being experienced by the crew (who are at present inside the ship ) is being represented by the music as well by use of the ballet “Gayane” and the famous “ Sabre Dance” is also used. This choice is certainly noteworthy and hence, a commendable choice on the behalf of the director.

The director of the film had hired a composer to make music for the film but over time, the music that was used was composed by the director himself. Therefore, it was representing the fact that each part and element of the soundtrack was designed by keeping in mind the elements of the story and the film as well.

In the film, we note that the more somber usage of music is done for those points in the film when something has to be shown or has to be revealed. The black monoliths are shown by the use of black music and the music is quite dark and somber in tone. The sense of the music is quite relevant to each aspect of the film such as “Adventures” which relate to each action and movement.

The music is shown to be linked to the sort of movement and activity that is taking place in the film and examples of this can be seen in the case of the “Blue Danube”. Which is used to represent the spacecraft’s orbit and the planetary alignment which is represented by the main soundtrack and each adds an emotional touch to the film.

The soundtrack has certain elements which portray the darkness and the vastness that the movie is encompassing and the less use of dialogue allows the music to add greater effect. As the characters and the activity can only be represented through the use of music the music represents the emotional, dark, and light moments. In normal scenarios, the movie’s soundtrack plays in the background to add dramatic effect and to create a certain environmental setting. However, in this film, each soundtrack was used as only the device which allowed the feelings of the characters to be portrayed while at the same capturing the vastness of the space sequences and all.

The music is certainly an important area that the director needed to focus on and it would be done in a manner that was to create a certain ambiance and certain mood settings. As classical music was used for the purpose which was certainly innovative and allowed the director to have an edge over the existing compositions of this genre of films. The director made use of classical recordings and most of the sound editing was carried out by him. This allowed the film to portray certain essential elements of the characters and their actions.

Richard Strauss’s Also Space Zarathustra is used for the opening line and it’s used to represent the sun, moon, and the earth. Therefore, this title track is quite befitting keeping in mind that most of the earlier part of the film has no dialogue use. In fact, by the time dialogue is even used, the viewer has already heard Zarathustra twice, Ligeti’s Requiem, and a choreographed the Blue Danube. The title track acts as a connecting device in the movie as it shows the evolution of man from a mere ape to a man. The Blue Danube is used for the space sequence and is used for those moments in which something is discovered in the film. It is hence, used to highlight these groundbreaking moments in the human revolution.


Kubrick, S”2001: A Space Odyssey”.

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