After analyzing the overall structure we can now begin to look at the movie in detail. This part of the series will analyze the first 16 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick.

(Note: All images are copyright Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and used solely for the purpose of analyzing 2001)

(Another note: as stated in the introduction part of this series, this analysis will work almost solely on certain images or moments. Therefore it is written in a purely linear way, from the beginning of the movie to the end and might therefore be not the usual film analysis you find on the net)

The first part of the chapter “The Dawn of Man” can be seen as one of the most unusual beginning of a movie ever printed on

Analyzing the overall structure of 2001: A Space Odyssey seems to be rather easy since Stanley Kubrick added titles to important chapters of the movie (with exception of “Intermission” which is marks a break for the audience in some cinemas (and is missing in all TV versions of the movie I know of)).

Going by the title cards in the movie it contains three chapters:

Diagram 01

But now a problem kicks in. The problem is the fact that an important part of the movie plays on a completely different time but isn’t marked with a title. Of course, I am talking about the early third of the movie which shows Dr. Floyd and the monolith on the moon. If you add this section to the structure you get something

An In-Depth Analysis of 2001. The Introduction

by Gunther Heinrich, 22 Nov 2007 in Analyses

I consider 2001: A Space Odyssey, finished by Stanley Kubrick in 1968, one of the best movies of all time. Currently, it ranks second in my personal list of movies. I have watched this masterpiece so many times and it still does not feel worn out to me. In fact the more I watch it the more I love it. Indeed it is one of the best works of Kubrick, one of the biggest visionaries of cinema.

2001 is but far more than a movie to simply love. It is, more than most other examples, a movie made to be analyzed thoroughly. Each shot, each cut, and each sequence – even more: each action – is important and has a deep meaning for Kubrick. Because otherwise he wouldn’t have

What is a MacGuffin?

by Gunther Heinrich, 14 Nov 2007 in Analyses

(Note: if you already know the term MacGuffin, you probably won’t learn anything new)

Do you know what a MacGuffin is?

Since Alfred Hitchcock invented this term and used it extensively I think it is the best to let him tell a story to describe the term:

Imagine two men sitting in a train in Scotland. The first one looks up and asks “What is that package over your head?”. The second answers “Well, that is a MacGuffin”. The first one asks “And what is a MacGuffin?” The other one says “Oh, it is an apparatus to catch lions in the mountains of Andirondak.” The first one says “But there are no lions in the Scottish Mountains.” The other one answers “Well, then that’s no MacGuffin. You se, a MacGuffin is nothing at

Why leaps of time can cause problems for movies

by Gunther Heinrich, 9 Nov 2007 in Analyses

Do you know, why a long timeframe or many leaps in time can cause story problems for a movie?

Imagine the following fairy tale: once upon a time there was a poor farmer. Though he had to work a lot he also was bored with life. One day he therefore walked into a dark forest full of ghosts and gremlins going after each living soul in their reach. After a long walk he sat down on a tree. Four days later he was killed by one of them.

As you can see, the leap in time might on the first look be a way of storytelling, but on second thought it only causes big problems. Not only tension-wise but also logically.

A great and recent example for this problem is the movie