2001 - What am I missing?

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Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
I have never been able to sit through all of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but since most people seem to feel it is the pinnacle of space movies, I picked up the audio book the other day and just finished it...

Seriously? That was the most pointless and inane drivel ever! I can now understand why I can't get through the movie... the story just goes nowhere and isn't really about anything! As always, when I feel like this, I have to wonder, is there something I am missing? If you are one of the 2001 lovers, please tell me what it is that is so great about this story.
 

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terryr

Sr Member
You're missing the Art, Art.

Either you like it or you don't. Either you like my girlfriend or you don't. I can't explain her to you.

When I was in high school a local multi-plex brought 2001 in so I went to see it. The female attendant and I were talking for a while, then as I walked into the movie, she put her hand on me to block my way.
"That's a weird science fiction movie" she said.
"I know" I said.
"oh" She said, and withdrew her hand and wiped it off like I was diseased.

Everything is weird to somebody.
 

Art Andrews

Community Owner
Community Staff
Let me see if I just understand the most basic story.

Something puts a stone on earth a long time ago that teaches the apes to be more than apes and starts them on the journey to be man.

Long time passes. We go to the moon where another stone is stored that leads us to a third stone on Saturn.

One guy makes it to Saturn and... has a bunch of weird stuff happen to him that is supposed to be similar to the evolutionary leap from ape to man.

Does that about sum it up?
 

Sandman0077

Sr Member
Let me see if I just understand the most basic story.

Something puts a stone on earth a long time ago that teaches the apes to be more than apes and starts them on the journey to be man.

Long time passes. We go to the moon where another stone is stored that leads us to a third stone on Saturn.

One guy makes it to Saturn and... has a bunch of weird stuff happen to him that is supposed to be similar to the evolutionary leap from ape to man.

Does that about sum it up?
When you put it like that it sounds like a pretty awesome movie lol
 

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Jedifyfe

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Art. You are missing that this is a Kubrick film and he doesn't have story lines just visuals.
 

nwjedidave

Sr Member
I have never been able to sit through all of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but since most people seem to feel it is the pinnacle of space movies, I picked up the audio book the other day and just finished it...

Seriously? That was the most pointless and inane drivel ever! I can now understand why I can't get through the movie... the story just goes nowhere and isn't really about anything! As always, when I feel like this, I have to wonder, is there something I am missing? If you are one of the 2001 lovers, please tell me what it is that is so great about this story.
AMEN Art. I've only lasted 15-20'ish minutes into it.
 

SSgt Burton

Sr Member
I'll start by saying I'm certainly no expert on the interpretations of 2001. I love the film and have read a few takes on its meaning around the net. This is what I think from the various things I've read:


Something puts a stone on earth a long time ago that teaches the apes to be more than apes and starts them on the journey to be man.
Extraterrestrials place the Monolith on Earth. It gives the apes the nudge to discover the tool. The first being a bone. The prehistoric apes use it as a weapon to obtain the resource of the pool of water the tribes have been fighting over.

Long time passes. We go to the moon where another stone is stored that leads us to a third stone on Saturn.
The jump is to show the pinnacle of Man's tools- the "falling" satellite is an orbital weapons platform. There has been debate on whether it is a "weapon" or not-

However check out this familiar shape:



Certainly resembles the first tool/weapon: the bone:



The whole sequence of the Pan Am Orion flyer is to demonstrate that while Man is at the top of his game on Earth, in outer space he is a child once again-

The waitress has a close up of her feet as she walks. Her step is unsteady. She has to take "baby steps." Man must once again learn to walk.

The food we eat is like "baby food."

And we must be "toilet trained" all over again. The "Zero Gravity Toilet" instructions are long and intimidating.

The Monolith on the moon is essentially a signal for the Extraterrestrials that Man has advanced enough that they are ready for the next step.

So the Jupiter Mission begins. On board the spaceship is the ultimate of Man's tools- the HAL 9000 computer. HAL controls the ship's major functions. In essence the humans are just along for the ride.

HAL has secretly been given instructions to keep the nature of the mission a secret until they arrive at Jupiter. However as a logical computer HAL is unsure how to "keep a secret." HAL becomes paranoid that Bowman and Poole will discover the secret before it is time.

HAL makes a mistake about the Discovery's antenna failing (or deliberately lies about it failing in an attempt to distract Bowman and Poole from discovering the mission's true nature- the existence of intelligent/advanced life in outer space). Bowman and Poole decide to turn HAL off.

But HAL does not want to be turned off. Man's ultimate tool has obtained sentience. Man has lost complete control of his tools and it nearly succeeds in destroying him.

But Man is still resourceful enough to survive and separates himself from his tools- Bowman turns HAL off even though HAL ran the ship; if Bowman had remained aboard Discovery he would have eventually died as he would not have been able to pilot the ship manually back to Earth.


One guy makes it to Saturn and... has a bunch of weird stuff happen to him that is supposed to be similar to the evolutionary leap from ape to man.
In a nutshell yes- but I think it is a case of the next step being freed of our reliance on our tools.


Kevin
 

wannab

Sr Member
Clarke says that it is a weapon in the extras doc so I don't understand any debate on that point. Actually there are many points that are explained in the doc (on bluray) that will clear up a few questions.





Doug
 

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CB2001

Master Member
Kubrick set out to make a definitive science fiction movie, one that differed greatly from most. And one of the things that made it greatly different was the lack of a plot, but overabundance in style and symbolism. He's bascially showing you the events, and you are left to make up your own mind. To me, that's a good thing, especially for science fiction. I prefer stories where that gets you to actually think for yourself instead of giving you an answer at the end of the whole thing. That's why most people dislike 2001: A Space Odyssey, because they're expecting a straightforward plot (in fact, I think that most people disliked it when it first came out was because of the fact that it didn't have a plot and people going in were expecting the typical generic, B-Grade plot because before 2001: A Space Odyssey, most people considered sci-fi as being strictly B-grade films and pulp novels).
 

benhs1898

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Art, you've got some of the basic ideas down. Most of what is left is whether or not you value that or the visual journey to finding it.

I thought the themes were stimulating and I enjoyed the visual experience of finding those themes.

Ultimately, all art is subjective. No such thing as "bad", just "I didn't like.
 

CessnaDriver

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man the flick is cerebral and slow. That's a given.
It's also awe invoking.
Who are we?
What are we?
Where did we come from and where are we going?
What's next for us? What are the possibilities? maybe there are no limits to
how far mankind can evolve.
Are we alone?


Those questions have to mean something to you first I think before
being able to enjoy this tale's take on things.

I do at times envy Bowman's leap in evolution into the starchild,
as terrifying as it seems to be to that level of acension. A god for all
reasonable purposes to us, yet still a child of the stars to him.

Would you take that one way trip?


What films today even come close to these kinds of topics? LOL

Not damn much.
 

Vermithrax 4

Well-Known Member
I love 2001 simply because of the experience of it. Each sequence seems so incredibly real, from the prehistoric man sequence to the Pan-Am flight to the trip to Jupiter. Also, I love all the little touches of what space travel would be like and all the familiar brands being present (at least ones from the 60s) like Howard Johnsons or Bell Atlantic. I don't find any of it boring whatsoever mainly because I like films that proceed slowly, allowing the audience to just experience life in a particular time or on a particular world. The meaning of the film is entirely open to interpretation. To me the film is like WATCHING a classical symphony.
 

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phase pistol

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Audiences were just as divided in 1968. Of course back then more people had the option of dropping acid in the movie theater.

K
 

LRL

Member
2001 is not your typical movie, it has silence, lengthy sequences, slow pace, and makes demands on it's audience. My ten year old loved it precisely because it was so different to the usual movie fayre. Saying that the psycadelic sequence is always watched in fast forward by me, but it really is a great movie.
 

Carson Dyle

Sr Member
With all due respect to Arthur Clarke, if ever a story was meant to be seen and not read it's "2001."

Re: the film: What you're "missing" is an iconic masterpiece that has inspired artists, scientists, engineers, designers, software titans and filmmakers for over forty years. It is, simply put, one of the most enduring and influential films in the history of the motion-picture medium; a classic by which all other science-fiction films will continue to be judged for years to come.

On a personal level, it's the closest thing I've ever come to having a religious experience in a movie theater. If ever a film has captured the awe, mystery, terror, and grandeur of the universe it's "2001."
 

Straker

Well-Known Member
Let me see if I just understand the most basic story.

Something puts a stone on earth a long time ago that teaches the apes to be more than apes and starts them on the journey to be man.

Long time passes. We go to the moon where another stone is stored that leads us to a third stone on Saturn.

One guy makes it to Saturn and... has a bunch of weird stuff happen to him that is supposed to be similar to the evolutionary leap from ape to man.

Does that about sum it up?

Not quite.

Art. You are missing that this is a Kubrick film and he doesn't have story lines just visuals.
Not quite.XD Just because film makers like Kubrick don't hand people exposition on a platter for the audience doesn't mean it isn't there.

I'll start by saying I'm certainly no expert on the interpretations of 2001. I love the film and have read a few takes on its meaning around the net. This is what I think from the various things I've read:




Extraterrestrials place the Monolith on Earth. It gives the apes the nudge to discover the tool. The first being a bone. The prehistoric apes use it as a weapon to obtain the resource of the pool of water the tribes have been fighting over.



The jump is to show the pinnacle of Man's tools- the "falling" satellite is an orbital weapons platform. There has been debate on whether it is a "weapon" or not-

However check out this familiar shape:



Certainly resembles the first tool/weapon: the bone:



The whole sequence of the Pan Am Orion flyer is to demonstrate that while Man is at the top of his game on Earth, in outer space he is a child once again-

The waitress has a close up of her feet as she walks. Her step is unsteady. She has to take "baby steps." Man must once again learn to walk.

The food we eat is like "baby food."

And we must be "toilet trained" all over again. The "Zero Gravity Toilet" instructions are long and intimidating.

The Monolith on the moon is essentially a signal for the Extraterrestrials that Man has advanced enough that they are ready for the next step.

So the Jupiter Mission begins. On board the spaceship is the ultimate of Man's tools- the HAL 9000 computer. HAL controls the ship's major functions. In essence the humans are just along for the ride.

HAL has secretly been given instructions to keep the nature of the mission a secret until they arrive at Jupiter. However as a logical computer HAL is unsure how to "keep a secret." HAL becomes paranoid that Bowman and Poole will discover the secret before it is time.

HAL makes a mistake about the Discovery's antenna failing (or deliberately lies about it failing in an attempt to distract Bowman and Poole from discovering the mission's true nature- the existence of intelligent/advanced life in outer space). Bowman and Poole decide to turn HAL off.

But HAL does not want to be turned off. Man's ultimate tool has obtained sentience. Man has lost complete control of his tools and it nearly succeeds in destroying him.

But Man is still resourceful enough to survive and separates himself from his tools- Bowman turns HAL off even though HAL ran the ship; if Bowman had remained aboard Discovery he would have eventually died as he would not have been able to pilot the ship manually back to Earth.




In a nutshell yes- but I think it is a case of the next step being freed of our reliance on our tools.


Kevin

That's a very good analysis of the film over all but the ending is more than that and the Jupiter mission had more reasons for happening that just because. They went to Jupiter because the signal the monolith on the Moon sent out was directed at the monolith in Jupiter's orbit.

"But Man is still resourceful enough to survive and separates himself from his tools- Bowman turns HAL off even though HAL ran the ship; if Bowman had remained aboard Discovery he would have eventually died as he would not have been able to pilot the ship manually back to Earth."

Dave and Frank said they could turn off Hal's higher brain functions without shutting down the rest of the ship. I'm not sure what Dave's motivations for not turning the ship back were in terms of the movie so maybe you're right and that was something covered in the novel.

When they arrived and Dave went to the monolith a gate was opened. That incomprehensible light show was inter-dimensional travel. When he arrived at the end he was placed in an observation chamber by the beings that set up the Monoliths. They observed him but due to the nature of time and that chamber his aging appeared to take leaps forward. The ending was Dave transcending his physical form and becoming reborn as that child at the ending so he could be the guardian of Earths evolutionary path. I believe he represents a further evolution of man past where mankind was during that story. I'm probably not as eloquent at explaining this but I tried my best XD For the hell of it check out 2010. It's a bit more straight forward in terms of story and does a good job putting the first film in perspective without ruining Kubricks vision.
 

Shadow345

Well-Known Member
With all due respect to Arthur Clarke, if ever a story was meant to be seen and not read it's "2001."

Re: the film: What you're "missing" is an iconic masterpiece that has inspired artists, scientists, engineers, designers, software titans and filmmakers for over forty years. It is, simply put, one of the most enduring and influential films in the history of the motion-picture medium; a classic by which all other science-fiction films will continue to be judged for years to come.

On a personal level, it's the closest thing I've ever come to having a religious experience in a movie theater. If ever a film has captured the awe, mystery, terror, and grandeur of the universe it's "2001."
Thanks, that mostly captures my thoughts on 2001 as well.
 

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