2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a science fiction film, a thriller, an interpersonal drama, an origin story, and a horror film.
There are a variety of dichotomies at play in the film, including those between man and machine, man and space, man and man, and self and self.
Since more than fifty years ago, cinephiles have frequently discussed, analyzed, and otherwise analyzed Kubrick’s films.
‘2001: a Space Odyssey’ Ending Explained: “I Can Feel It. My Mind is Going.”
2001: A Space Odyssey begins with a group of hominids four million years ago discovering weaponry in the form of a bone, and through this new tool, they appear to discover competition and violence.
In these early sequences, a monolith appears, an ominous, large structure that confounds the hominids and appears to signal the next step in evolution.
Following the introduction of the hominids, the film jumps forward in time to a group of astronauts sent to investigate a monolith discovered in space. HAL, the spacecraft’s computer system, turns against the astronauts.
HAL successfully eliminates the majority of the team, but astronaut Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) survives and disconnects HAL in order to take control of the ship from the A.I.
The reappearing monolith represents yet another stage in evolution, as artificial intelligence questions what is best for humanity and realizes that eliminating the human component of the mission is the best tactic for success.
Dr. Bowman discovers another monolith in space after taking sole control of the spaceship after unplugging HAL. Before he can investigate, he is drawn into a galactic tunnel, which leads to a dizzying, lengthy scene of refracted light and special effects that appear to be decades ahead of their time.
At the end of this journey, Dr. Bowman appears in an ornate bedroom, rapidly aging with each cut, transforming Bowman from a young man to an old man on his deathbed. When he appears to be on the verge of death, another monolith appears at the foot of his bed.
When he tries to touch it, his body transforms into a fetus, and when we return to space, we see the giant fetus floating next to Earth.
‘2001: a Space Odyssey: Film Review
Stanley Kubrick is still alive and well, living in outer space. Those who have wondered what happened to the man who gave birth to “Lolita” and “Dr. Strangelove” can rest easy.
He’s taken up a new hobby, science fiction, and his first attempt nearly runs away with itself. One criticism will be that the film was too expensive for such a “personal” (i.e. Kubrick) film.
When Stanley Kubrick and sci-fi specialist Arthur C. Clarke first discussed making a Cinerama film, neither had any idea it would turn into a multi-year project. Shooting began in late December 1965 in England and lasted until early this year, if added footage and retakes are counted.
Of course, much of the lengthy shooting time is due to the intricate special effects required by the story. Keir Dullea, for example, completed another film (“The Fox”) and a Broadway play (“Dr. Cook’s Garden”) between the completion of his role in “2001” and its current release.