Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Production Budget: 12 million
Total Lifetime Grosses
Release Date: April 3, 1968
At the beginning of the film, when the apes uncover the upright slab, the thing that terrifies them so much about it is its alien nature. In a primitive world the sharp artificial nature of the object is the most alien thing you could ever see. It doesn’t need to be a UFO to have such an incredible impact. It’s not a natural form and doesn’t fit into its surroundings.
I think the director really used sound well to illustrate this, and the tension prominent in the scene. This tension is mimicked later on when the astronauts uncover a second slab on the moon.
This binds the alien first contact theme that is the focus of the movie. Just after the ape finds the slab he invents the first weapon out of a bone, so when the astronauts find the second slab we assume that there is about to be a second great discovery. The discovery of another intelligent form of life, which is another important element of the film. The film shows its director’s unique eye in its pacing. Which I found initially to be too slow.
Star Wars is the opposite end of the spectrum where pacing and quick edits are king. I think that this is actually a device used to draw the viewer more intimately into this film. With the long, slow, exterior space shots, you get the feeling of floating next to the ship. Without the hyper stretched time device, the pace would distract from this near hypnotic effect, which was initially lost on me.