This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Conchobarre’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
For Hal's birthday I thought it would be cool to record the impressions of my kids watching my favourite film for the first time (well cool for me anyway). Lots of what follows is direct quotes, but I didn’t mark quotes. They wanted to use the code names ‘Dylopho’ and ‘Mystic’.
Dylopho: I thought I did something wrong in putting in the blu ray because of the black screen and the spooky music at the beginning.
Dylopho: Pretty sure this is filmed in Mexico. We discussed that it didn’t matter where it was shot because Africa’s Rift Valley would have looked different millions of years ago.
Dylopho: The apes look like they’re dancing.
We slow motioned the cut between the bone and the spaceship and decided that the lack of match-cut doesn’t matter.
Mystic: The chairs look like pre-school chairs. Or chairs from the children's part of the library.
Me: I’ve always loved the shot of Floyd trying to work out the spaceship toilet, I have a screenshot somewhere so I could read the instructions.
Me: The meeting of Floyd with his moon base colleagues - the room has a similar shape to the monolith, so do the windows.
Me: The mountains on the moon and the camera panning over them reminds me of how the the mountains on Earth in the early scenes were shot.
Dylopho: The monolith being buried 4 million years ago was probably the same time as the ape people.
Landing at the monolith site on the moon: Both kids say the music is very scary. They both knew it was going to be a monolith.
Me: the lights are made up of more monolith shapes. Now I’ve noticed this I’m seeing monolith shapes absolutely everywhere. That is, rectangles with similar proportions.
Both kids: Scary!!!
Dylopho: Then he has the idea to pick up a moonrock and start hitting the others, lol.
Me: It’s interesting how they hold the sides of their helmets to protect their ears from the loud noise.
Dylopho: It's instinct.
Dylopho: Noticed that the rectangle shapes are also put next to circles, like with the monolith shots with the moon or earth above them, then there’s a kind of match cut with the ship - it has the circular front with a rectangular body. (Dylopho didn’t say match cut, but he was very proud of noticing this. Then later he noticed the same rectangle and circle visual theme with Hal.)
Dylopho: Immediately thought Hal was evil, unfortunately because I’d already in the past told him the plot of the film.
Me: Frank talking to his parents for his birthday - this is my favourite part of the film for how the music is used and that’s really saying something. He’s just having a rest but there’s this eerie violin and it plays all through the conversation even when Frank’s parents sing happy birthday. Also, the juxtaposition of the eerie space environment and music with the mundane news about sorting out his pay problem. His dad talking about this is jolting.
Dylopho: The drawings of the hibernation pods remind him of the game Among Us.
Me: What is that cicada/white noise sound when Dave goes on his space walk? It’s always intrigued me. Love the lack of music or other sounds except breathing.
Me: Hal talks about emotions much more than any of the humans. Frank saying “I’ve got a bad feeling about him”. A lot of Star Wars watchers would have remembered this line.
Intermission: I love how it uses engine noise instead of music before the “scary” music comes back.
Me: I love the lack of any sound when Frank goes loose. It’s far more effective than music could ever be.
Mystic: Feels sad about Frank.
Dylopho: Space is not a place for humans and it never should be. It’s too dangerous.
Why do we have to go to space in the first place?
Me: We are so not built for space, it’s really unhealthy for us. But it’s our future.
Mystic: Feels small and scared when he looks up into space.
Dylopho: No, they don’t deserve it! They were just chilling. I don’t like Hal. (When he turns off the life support on the hibernation pods).
Me: “Open the pod bay doors please Hal.” The delay to Hal’s reply to Dave is really creepy - it implies that he’s truly sentient.
Me: “Just what do you think you’re doing Dave?”. This has got to be the freakiest line of dialogue in film history.
Mystic: If this was me I’d just do exactly what Hal said.
Dylopho: I can’t believe this was meant to be 20 years ago.
Me: Hal’s birthday! He’s got a big birthday coming up next year - 30 years old!
Mystic: Next year we’ll make a Hal cake - chocolate with a red circle in the middle.
Me: Sounds like a plan!
Dylopho: I don’t like this bit (when Hal finally stopped talking and had a really deep voice).
Mystic: Feels very sorry for Hal.
Me: Hal did know about stuff the crew didn’t. He hated having a secret.
Dylopho: Everything is perfectly aligned, It probably only happens once every billion years.
The monolith disappears when it goes on its side.
Me: But it's still there.
Mystic: It’s like timey wimey (i.e. the Tardis travelling through time in Doctor Who).
Me: The still shots of Dave are so cool (did some
Dave impressions). I think of it as tiny points in time stretched out.
Dylopho: The stars look like an eye. Maybe this isn’t about aliens, maybe it’s about God.
Me: Looks like a mandelbrot set. Or a womb.
Dylopho: Space does look like that - supernovas.
Me: It does look like a foetus with an umbilical cord though. OMG the pod looks like a sperm - I’ve never noticed that before.
Dylopho: I hate that it kind of looks like a planet. The planet - it actually looks cool, but I hate all the colours. I don’t think humans were ever meant to see this and it should stay that way.
Me: Imagine how Dave must feel.
Mystic: It looks like a nuke in Antarctica.
Me: It reminds me of the end of Solaris. The eyes really freaked me out when I was a kid.
I would hate to live in that house.
Dylopho: I want a pod. Or a tranquility pod.
Me: It’s not a very welcoming, cosy home is it?
Dylopho: They tried their best.
Dylopho: I hate this bit, it's so creepy - I thought the other guy was an alien pretending to be him.
Me: I think this is the very edge of Dave being able to experience the dimension they live in. He’s a human so he can’t really. I think it’s all time existing at the same time. (I shouldn’t have given my interpretation, I should have let them work out what they thought).
ME: Old Dave wants to touch it (the monolith) but he can’t get up out of bed.
Me: Space baby Dave!!! He’s as big as the Earth!
Dylopho: The child has a big forehead.
So, what did they think?
Dylopho: Thought it was ‘good’. Liked the ape people and the parts with Hal the best.
Mystic: I wish the monkeys had stayed for the whole film.