Sunday I felt tired and crabby all day. Unless a rabbit is pulled out of the hat on May 6th when the Pleasant Hill council hears an appeal to save the Dome, this was the last day it would be open. I made myself get dressed, grabbed my tickets, then headed over there.
The parking lot was crowded. This was hopeful. Several demostrators were talking to the side. The movie was 2001: A Space Odyessey. It was one of the first movies I saw on DVD, so I wondered how it would be on the big screen. I sat down just when the movie started.
In case you've never seen 2001, the cimetography is excellent. You don't want to know Kubrick shot the film in a London studio. You're just amazed. However, I wasn't prepared for how...slow...the...movie..was...going...to...be.
This might be a generational deal; I'm used to Star Wars when something is happening every single minute. Boom! there goes that stormtrooper! Bam! Ben Kenobi is Obi-Wan Kenobi! Bing! C3p0 and R2D2 are bickering! You two kids! When are you going to admit you're crazy for each other?
But in 2001 everything is slow. I don't know if this intentional on Kubrick's part because everything in space is slow, but it is. The stewardesses in their white pants and Pan Am sponsored slippers walk slow. If someone jogs it's slow. When they eat their pre packaged meals, it's slow. It perks up a little when there's dialogue, especially when Haywood Floyd (William Sylvester) talks to his young daughter while in space (played by Vivian Kubrick) and even though they're not talking about anything in particular, it perks up the plot a little. Soon enough he gets off the phone, and then it's slow again.
In the first quarter of the film, Floyd disappears. He and others on his crew heard a loud noise and bang, they disappear. We then see two Americans chatting while their other shipmates are hibernating in chambers. I wonder if Michael Jackson got the idea for his chamber from the movie. But they aren't alone, because we have HAL. Yes Hal, that crazy wacky computer who helps out and all along a fine fella. I remember the character Dave because he was played by Keir Dullea, who did a stint on Guiding Light as Dr. Mark Jarrett, the brash surgeon who saved Claire Ramsey's life. In the film he was a bit concerned about Hal when he made a mistake. Hal reads their lips (That's our Hal!)
Hal has to do something about this. When Poole goes out for a space walk, Hal cuts off his oxygen, leaving him lost in space. Then he and Dave have the following coversation (thanks INDB)
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
Ladies and gentlemen, the end of a beautiful friendship.
Dave realizes that Hal has become not a loveable sidekick but someone with massive control issues. He shuts him down, not before Hal starts to sing "Daisy, Daisy..." until his voice became warped and faint.
After Dave sees a video from Dr. Sylvester (I just thought dude, what happened? Did you make it to your daughter's birthday party?) he goes through several instances of space. This is when I was blwon away. Seeing it on the big screen- in the Dome, was breathtaking. Dave's pupils turned all sorts of bright colors.
Then we see Dave getting older in this French style mansion, and here comes the ending that still makes people scratch their heads: He turns into a baby. An embryo. The Embryo circles around earth, taking it all in. What does it mean? What does it symbolize? The baby looks at the audience with big eyes,as if it's saying Hi, I'm a baby, tell me about your world.
Just like that, the movie ended. Several people clapped. I sat there, looking at all the names of the actors. I didn't want to leave. If I left, it meant that there was a pretty good chance I'll never be in this movie theater again. I'll never be on this site again if the theater is torn down, because I won't go to Pleasant Hill Dick's anytime soon. I wanted to have a good cry.
I have no idea what will happen next. I do know this: I've seen so many people the past couple of weeks say "You can't tear down the dome!" I thought about Vivian Kubrick, only seven when she appeared in her dad's movie. He's been gone for years, yet she had something of him to hold on to, to keep close to her heart.
There's a scene in Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's Liberating Paris where Wood goes to see his father's grave, only to see it's been vandalized. He gets upset, then his mother Slim comforts him. "You're the monument." Meaning, you're the person left behind to carry on.
If the Dome doesn't escape the wrecking ball, maybe we are its monument. We are the ones that saw films-to be entertained of course, but also we changed. Many of us wanted to go into space after seeing Star Wars, or cried during ET. Maybe we sat through Schindler's List horrified, then changed by the experience. Or maybe we saw Airplane and just laughed during a summer when hostages were in Iran and we needed respite from election drama.
If we are the dome's monumnent, it's up to us to keep it going. Might be taking kids to film festivals. Scheduling John Hughes movie marathons. Make sure to save enough money for that silent film festival you always wanted to go to. But to keep it going, and to not let it end.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries