If after watching Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, you immediately want more 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you are a true fan—especially if you don’t consider the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, to be anything of the kind, Arthur C. Clarke’s imprimatur notwithstanding.
But how will true fans react to the three-and-a-half minute, “epilogue” to Kubrick’s film, above, set 203 years after 2001 and following astronaut Frank Poole’s body as it traverses Jupiter’s space and encounters a monolith?
Poole (played by Gary Lockwood), you’ll remember, was killed by the HAL 9000 computer when he became an inconvenience to the AI. In 3001, the final book of Clarke’s trilogy, his body is found, preserved, 1000 years later and brought to life. Here, things turn out a little differently. No fan of Kubrick’s film will care much about the departure from canon.
But what about the cinematic language? Is the epilogue’s creator, Steve Begg, a professional visual effects artist, able to convincingly mimic the master’s touch? I’d say he comes as close as anyone could, though the final shot does not feel particularly Kubrickian to me. This labor of love was also a labor of cinematic art, “using practical models and digital versions of the tricks used in the original,” as Begg writes on the project’s Vimeo page.
He offers his imaginative addendum “with respect to Stanley K., Wally Veevers and Doug Trumbull” (the practical visual effects masterminds of the original film). Begg also admits to “ignoring 2010 and 3001 sorry, A.C. Clarke.” You’ll recognize the music as that of Richard Strauss and Gyorgi Ligeti from Kubrick’s original score. The musical cues, silences, abrupt edits and shifts in perspective, rhythm, and tempo, and the ambitious grandeur all ring true.
If you don’t consider it a sacrilege (and if so, fair enough), you might see Begg’s epilogue as a work of art all its own, one that impressively resurrects the chilly epic feel of the 1968 classic using digital tools from fifty years later.