Space Odyssey - Michael Benson

Space Odyssey

By Michael Benson

  • Release Date: 2018-04-03
  • Genre: Film
5 Score: 5 (From 8 Ratings)

Book Information

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, this is the definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, including the inside account of how director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke created this cinematic masterpiece.

Regarded as a masterpiece today, 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reviews on its 1968 release. Despite the success of Dr. Strangelove, director Stanley Kubrick wasn’t yet recognized as a great filmmaker, and 2001 was radically innovative, with little dialogue and no strong central character. Although some leading critics slammed the film as incomprehensible and self-indulgent, the public lined up to see it. 2001’s resounding commercial success launched the genre of big-budget science fiction spectaculars. Such directors as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron have acknowledged its profound influence.

Author Michael Benson explains how 2001 was made, telling the story primarily through the two people most responsible for the film, Kubrick and science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke. Benson interviewed Clarke many times, and has also spoken at length with Kubrick’s widow, Christiane; with visual effects supervisor Doug Trumbull; with Dan Richter, who played 2001’s leading man-ape; and many others.

A colorful nonfiction narrative packed with memorable characters and remarkable incidents, Space Odyssey provides a 360-degree view of this extraordinary work, tracking the film from Kubrick and Clarke’s first meeting in New York in 1964 through its UK production from 1965-1968, during which some of the most complex sets ever made were merged with visual effects so innovative that they scarcely seem dated today. A concluding chapter examines the film’s legacy as it grew into it current justifiably exalted status.

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Recent Reviews

  • Fascinating look at the personalities and conflicts

    By Jay_in_Mass
    This is a heavily researched and well-written account of the journey from inception to completion of one of the greatest and most confounding films ever made. More than anything it’s a story of how the many different personalities involved found a way to mesh together, like gears in a machine, to pull it all off. I came away with the impression that Kubrick was like a symphony conductor, and his instruments were the people who worked for him. He knew how to play them off one another to realize his vision, which was constantly evolving. Some parts of the book are a bit redundant, as if the author assumes you’ve forgotten earlier sections. But outside of that it’s a very enjoyable read for anyone interested in filmmaking or the entertainment industry.