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Date: 1 Jul 97 09:13:00 -0400 From: JDUCLOS@SITE.CWMARS.ORG I think you were right on the money with your analysis of 2010. Although it was a good sci-fi, it was not in the same league as 2001 (but what is?). Floyd's transformation into the "fall guy" was a great flaw. I would like to make a couple points on 2001, though. I had always thought the "breaking glass" sequence (occuring as it does during Bowman's "aging" process) was more symbolic of a the shattering of the concepts of time and space Bowman had just undergone. Perhaps the aging sequence doesn't "mean" anything other than to stress the strangeness of this new relationship; a relationship his technology has led him to. For me, the relationship between man and his technology is THE theme of the film. For instance, what has always seemed to me the most striking scene in film is when Bowman returns with Poole in the pod and tries to gain entry into Discovery. The pod stands in front of Discovery presenting the lifeless body of Poole and asking to be let in. This seems to me to be the offering of a sacrifice-- Man offering himself (his soul?) to gain his technology. The apparent deadpan nature of the charactors comes in here, as Man's technology grows, he becomes that much less human (more importantly, I think, this deadpanness, by detracting from the charactors, reinforces the technology theme). But, in the end, to survive Man must maintain his humanity (thus the "killing" of HAL). I think the monolith sybolizes this duality -- Man gains dominance through his technology (his intellect), but it will take him only so far. To continually grow, he must retain his humanity (his sense of wonder, of excitement, his spirituality and the nature of his animal past). From: "Chris Allard" [ALB123@worldnet.att.net] Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 18:41:37 -0400 I think you've done a great job disecting this great film. Many people unfortunately do not see the importance of this film.. I think there is another, much simpler, explanation of the movie. Man's sole purpose in existance is to destroy itself. Technology is the tool we use to destroy ourselves. Every technological advance we achieve is a method of simplifying something. Mankind will not be happy until we can sit at home and have every mundane task performed for us automatically. HAL was programmed to be almost human. (I think if this film was made in 1997, knowing all the technologcial advancements we have now, Kubrick and Clarke would have done it MUCH differently). Humans programmed HAL to be functional without the need for human intervention. Yet, machines can not replace humans entirely. They lack intelligence and emotion, critical to the continuing existance of life... I know my thoughts are off on a tangent of the original purpose of 2001. However, I do think that there were metaphors regarding the laziness and greed of mankind to conquer and destroy. Check out Roger Waters album Amused to Death... In a related note, Mr. Waters wanted to use the music (which is played when the monkey picks up the bone), during one of his songs but Mr. Kubrick would not allow him. There are similarities among the two works....Just a bit of my ramblings... Good Work! Chris Allard From: Chimchim68@aol.com Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 20:52:22 -0400 (EDT) Let me start off by saying that your essay was a fabulous read. Good thing you aren't some pompous movie critic or noone would read it. :) I must have had a deprived childhood because it took me until I was 16 to see 2001, even though I have seen most of Kubrick's films beside it. What actually happened was my friend had a tape of 2010 that his dad taped off of TBS in 1994, and I borrowed it one day and watched it that night. I thought it was a pretty cool movie. So I decided to run up to the local Blockbuster and get 2001. So I did. I sat down and watched it and then ran to my computer to find out all I could about it, because there was stuff I really didn't understand. I read your essay and it all became apparent to me. And now I don't see why I didn't figure this out before, and I realized why. It was because I saw 2010 first and expected to give the same amount of attention to 2001. This was a mistake. Soon after understanding 2001, I realized what a crappy film, relatively, 2010 is. It's quite a shame that 2010 had such rich bloodlines and accomplished so little. It actually had a negative effect. But I just wanted to thank you for clarifying all that for me. And my own little idea, though bear in mind I didn't read the other e-mails: I think that, in the end "hotel" scene, Kubrick was trying to relate the placement of the Monoliths in man's maturation to the benchmarks in Dave's life as well. The first one was when he passed thru the Gate, the second being his wise 60-year-old self, andthe third being the ultimate step, death and rebirth. but I'm sure you knew that. Thanks! Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 17:13:57 +0200 From: Dirk Parijs [ALBION@dma.be] Dear Modemac, I have read your web-site with great pleasure and have found your arguments quite sound. During the last months I attended a very interesting seminar on science fiction and postmodernism at Antwerp University and we had a great thime discussing the movie. I would like, however, direct our attention to the following fact: HAL says he had been designed at Urbana (Il). What a remarkeable coincidence ! We think that Richard Powers in his most thought-provoking book Galatea 2.2 is trying to simulate the brain's networks by computer at Urbana Champaign (Il). He always refers to the place as U. In the novel, the protagonist and a cognitive neurologist eventually switch off their creation. As you can see, there seem to be a few similarities between the novel and the movie. They are, in my opinion, worth working on. Best regards, Prof. Dirk Parijs Junior lecturer for German Higher Instute for Translators and Interpreters Antwerp, Belgium Date: Mon, 07 Jul 1997 11:39:29 -0700 From: Kevin Klein [firstname.lastname@example.org] Modemac, I must agree, 2001: Space Oddessy is the greatest film to ever have been created. Infact everytime I go to BlockBuster I rent it and watch it over and over again. I have some answers for those commonly asked questions and mabey you could include some of these. The monkeys: I believe that the apes in the begining symbolize evolution, because as you watch, you see their behavior change. First the monkey picks up a bone, and he hits it against the ground, and fools around with it. He discovers a use for it, so he smashes it against another ape. It serves a use now, the monkey realizes. Perhaps as a hunting tool, or even a construction tool, and even as a weapon. The Monolith: I admit, the first time I watched the movie, I was coonfused by the monoloth, and I still have trouble understanding what it is, but I do not think it is so much what it is, but what it DOES that matters. I believe that hals malfunction was either caused by the monolith, or the mission itself. Hal was never made to lie, and mabey hal was told a lie about the mission objective. Perhaps the mission was not to ge beyond jupitor, but perhaps to get to the Monolith. The monolith to me symbolizes evolution. It is realy not anything, just a symbol of evolution. Hal 9000 Hal 9000 is my favorite character of all time. He thinks, he worries, he gets scared... And somehow he malfunctions..... But what drove him to that? I just have to say your essay is incredible Kevin Klein Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 17:34:24 -0400 From: Eric Dyer [email@example.com] Its very refreshing to see someone talk about this movie and hold it in high regard. I know many people who have seen it and absolutely hate it because they cannot understand it, or only like it because of the brilliant cinematography (?spell?) I found your essay helped me clear up the last of a few nagging doubts about the message of the movie. I had a few things I wanted to throw your way and see what you thought. You mentioned that the glowing of the leopard's eyes at the beginning were a fluke during the filming. It might have been, but I think Kubrik used it in a very interesting way. I think that the aliens origionally picked the leopards to do their experiments on rather than the apes because they were fast and agressive hunters (so they would have a better chance of survival). The scene where the leopard attacks the ape not only shows that the apes as a group were dying, but that the leopards were a superior force. They aliens later picked the apes after realizing that they had the foundations for real intelligence. The aliens enhanced each species' best traits - the leopards became better hunters; the apes more intelligent. It shows that intelligence is more important than physical force. Who knows where we would be now if the leopards had encountered the Monolith!! The introduction of the movie could very well have been during the moment that life first existed on Earth - every time there was an alignment of the stars, moons etc.. it marked an important moment in the evolution of mankind - why not mark the very beginning of life on earth at the beginning of the movie? (I prefer to think of the intro as seeing Earth through the aliens eye's as they were about to begin their experiment on Earth) The best thing about this movie is that there are so many interpretations, and every one is valid. Let the story be whatever you want it to be. :) To me it looked like the ship travelling to Jupiter was mankinds seed to start populating the universe. Perhaps during the voyage to Jupiter, the Space Child was first conceived. Maybe... I think the space child idea is Kubriks explanation for god. You said :"And if there was anything beyond THAT, then its name could only be God." I think the space child is god. If the aliens were 'space children' themselves, they created us, by giving us what we needed to get the ball rolling. We would have died off without their help. A scientific explanation for God and what God could could be. Lastly, you probably already know this, but every letter in HAL's name is one letter before the name IBM. Perhaps a pretty reasonable prediction into the future of corporate computing?? Anyways, I really enjoyed spending a few hours reading over your page and some of the comments it got. If you want to get in touch with me my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Dyer Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 11:55:09 -0700 From: allen ross warmington [email@example.com] Dear Sir, Excellent review! I saw this film the moment it arrived in Virginia Beach in 1968 [where I was stationed at the time c/o the USN, NAS Oceana, etc. You mentioned an interest in military technology, as an "Awe Junkie." We'd just gotten some of the first A-6s. They were rather awesome at the time and still are, IMHO.] Your description of the film was acute enough for me to "re-see" it through your words. Your comments re the "But it's so boring that I couldn't bother to understand it and I couldn't understand it because it was so boring" Syndrome, were being mumbled by the sparse audience as it meandered out of the "picture show"---including those mumbled by my rather boring, albeit gorgeous date---when junior officers had never given a thought to sexual harassment, blah, blah, blah. Of course some parts of the film DID require a bit of thinking about but the Big Theme was fairly obvious. I'd never read the book and frankly had never even heard of Arthur Clarke so I hadn't a clue what was to be expected. The word around the Air Station was something to the effect that "some real weird flick about monkeys turning into humans in 2001" had made the rounds. [2001 to a 24 year old, which I was back then] seemed like several centuries in the future----anyway, no question about it being one of the best films, EVER. I remember telling my dumb date she'd just seen a "Classic." So just a note of thanks. I still have the sound track from the "LP" I bought at the time when a CD was a Certificate of Deposit and ROM meant absolutely NOTHING. Two minor items: The music used when Discovery's first seen heading toward Jupiter comes from Katchaturian's "Gayne Ballet." If you mentioned this I must have missed it but it fit the long, lugubrious journey and the very shape of the Discovery quite well. As for the furniture set up for Dave by the "aliens", it's 18th Century French Louis VXVI bric a brac. not "Victorian." Victorian furniture was and is so huge, ugly and stuffy I don't think it would have fit in very well, though far more comfortable than those effete French "sticks." But I guess that was the idea---Fey and Aristocratic. Great website you have and Duly Bookmarked for current and future reference. Cordially, Allen Ross Warmington Former Naval Person Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 17:32:30 -0700 From: Clif & Nancy Eckman [firstname.lastname@example.org] hello i was talking to a friend last night about this movie so i looked for some interpretations of it on the net and i found yours. so here is what i have to say. first, i think the star of this movie is the score, esp zarathustra. wowzers. but why rhat song? does this movie have something to do with nietzsche's book? i think it does, it must, it might, its possible. following that notion, i think there's a great case to be made for the idea that 2001, in its largest grandest sense, is about the eternal recurrence of the same, the philosophical idea at the darkest heart of nietz's book. it is the idea that basically the universe is finite and time is infinite, the uni expands and collapses infinitely many times, everything has happened an infinite number of times before and will repeat, in exactly the same way and in all infinitely many variations, infinitely many times again. in short, nothing at all matters at all even a little bit. the trick, for nietzsche, was to bring his reader to the point where one could would will that everything would happen again--every laugh, every painful regret, every lost love, every joyful moment--and again and again and again. basically, the idea calls for the greatest the most unconditional the most vivacious love of life in the face of utter meaninglessness. okay, sorry about the mumbo-jumbo. and now the supporting evidence. first, circles. they are every where. rotating circles like the space station and the discovery (when bowman(?) is jogging around the cockpit), stationary circles like hal's eye, the pod, the planets, etc. undoubtedly, circles pervade the film. (see, too, hudsucker proxy on this theme.) second, and more convincingly, i think, is the star-child. in zarathustra, the great manifesto of the abandoned overman, nietzsche describes 3 stages toward transvaluation. first is the camel stage, when one gladly assumes responsibility, humility, the expectations of the world, etc. second is the lion stage, where one is a rebel. thirdly, after the great dragon known as "thou shalt" has been destroyed, the human being becomes a child, a creator, with his or her whole world to create for herself, in her own image, according to her own will. this process, of course, takes place over and over and over again. the process is life. so im not exactly sure what to make of all this other than to say that i know it's there. and so on. thanks for your time. From: guillaume APOSTOLY [email@example.com] Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 17:57:02 +-200 Hi, First, I want to great you about the essay you've done, it's very interesting even if I'm not one of the people who don't understand 2001, I agree with most of your essay and if you don't see any inconveniences about it, i'll perhaps translate some parts to make a french explanation of 2001 (cause I'm french). So here are some remarques about what you wrote : " - The man-apes were given the use of tools by the Monolith, but they learn to kill other man-apes AFTER the Monolith has disappeared. Murder, apparently, is entirely a human invention. " This is quiet right, but I want to precise that moon-watcher (and not moon walker as I saw on another site !) had the idea of killing other living-animals (the tapirs) when the monolite was still there. what can actually be infered is that killing people from the same species is a man, or man-apes, invention. Just slightly different. I can't make any comments about the TMA-1 episode, because I get a document not found error ... thanks to mail me when it's corrected. The moon monolithe episode is very interesting, espescialy the visit of the monolithe by the scientists, with the " sound " attack " ", that seems to be a reminiscence of the first version of how the apes meets the monolithe. I'll be interested to know what you think about this moment of the film. " But the exact question of "how" Dave achieves this transformation is not as important as the question of "why?" Why is he growing older? " That's right but the " why " and the " how " seems to me as to be very linked, you'll see what I mean. " This question is much easier to answer. In fact, the entire film has been leading to this point. Dave is growing older, as if his body has out-lived its usefulness. This is exactly what is happening, for he has reached the limits of his Humanity. He is about to take the final step, the last transformation. " That's the point, that's I think why Dave is growing, and here is where I see the " how " to, looking at the film several times, I'm pretty sure that the younger Dave always see it's evolution, the Dave with helmet actually see the older Dave eating, and the older Dave, may have a glance and his bed when breaking the glass, his bed where's lying the oldest. I think that what you call the Aliens, make the process of Dave growing older go faster by showing him images of what he will be to tell him its story and so transpose it in this older state. I think that at this time of the film, the scenic time is quiet the same as the " real " time, the aliens only accelerate Dave growth with unlinear transitions, only linked by Dave sight and thinking. " It is as though he is reaching out to touch something. We are shocked to see that he is repeating the gesture that has happened twice before in the film -- for suddenly, in the room at the foot of his bed, the Monolith has appeared once again... " I think that this touch, can be compared to the god to man touch in " the creation " by Michel Angelo in the sixtin Chapel (see what I mean ? I'm sure you do ;-) ). I think that it's the same sort of touch, and that this may perhaps have inspired Kubrick for this leit-motiv in the film. Last thing, about 2010 The Year We Make Contact, I agree with your point of view. I think that it was made as a science fiction film, with the vocation to explain a little 2001. The first time I saw it, I didn't really remember 2001 and kept a blur impression of this film, I wasn't a 2001 fan at this time. After, I became the 2001 addict I am today, and 2010 made nothing that decrease and decrease in my film scale. Not a bad film as a lot says, but definitly not an explanation neither a suite to 2001. The only explanation to 2001 is 2001. As you're saying : " If the opening credits of the film were the point-of-view of the Star Child, then the Odyssey is complete ". That's right, not as the Lucas trilogie , wich makes really a sens wich the 3 films, 2001 lives on its own, and 2001-2010 can really not be considered as a " bilogie ". Ok, so I came, down your essay, and that's all I've got to say, I'll not repeat what you write because I agree with a lot ; I just wanted to make some precisions of my own interpretation. If I've got the time, i'll make a french site for " 2001 l'odyssée de l'espace ", and then I'll tell you about it. Don't hesitate to respond to the mail ( !), I'll be pleased to read your comment 8) CU later ! Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 22:00:00 -0400 From: Francois Marchand [firstname.lastname@example.org] I've noticed something about 2001 that i think you have failed to point out in your essay and that fellow contributors have forgotten. It is something i find quite relevant. Just as someone pointed out that there is a lot of EATING in the movie, there is also a lot of BIRTHDAYS. When you think about it the most striking ones are Heywood Floyd's daughter's birthday and Frank Poole's birthday which are awkwardly celebrated via picture-o-phone (or something like that). First, Heywood's daughter's BIRTHDAY is awkward in the sense that you feel that there is some kind of short delay between each one of the communicator's sentences. It would be understandable since communications from space (and even from overseas) are delayed in time. But the feeling is kinda awkward with the atmosphere of the movie, we feel that Floyd is merely a bureaucrat and has lost some kind of physical and spiritual contact with his own offspring. There may be some kind of message in the way his daughter asks him for a telephone as a birthday gift : "Now that we have all the tools to communicate, when will we finally do it?" Opting for a little white rabbit suggests innocence and warmth, as opposed to Floyd's mechanical speech. Second, Frank's BIRTHDAY is celebrated as he's relaxing. Just like when they were watching the news, the message comes up with delay (about seven minutes or more i can guess...), so it is longer delayed than Floyd's daughter. The lack of contact is also greater, Frank doesn't seem to care much more than Floyd or even his daughter about his own BIRTHDAY or the concern of his own parents which are celebrating with a cake, alone. They also talk about means of communications referring to TV "We were on TV today, with Dave's parents..." So again a means of communication upon a BIRTHDAY, hmmmmm.... Third, let's get to the implied BIRTHDAYS. "The DAWN Of Man..." implies the BIRTH of mankind which occurs when the monkeys come in contact with the monolith (some may have a different opinion upon this, i know the interpretation is too easy..) and find ways to survive (violence) when learning to get new food and new territory. It is the BIRTH DAY of mankind, which happens in a short span of time, or long one, whatever the interpretation of the blackout between scenes, but i'd rather go for a short one, having made the mistake to read the book first. So the BIRTHDAY is happening instantly. There is the BIRTHDAY of Hal, which has once happened, but that happens in reverse motion as Dave slowly puts him out of function. So as Dave will later return to youth or even childhood, Hal returns to his embryonnary form, to the simple form of an idea, a simple theory.=20 And there is of course, the birth of the "Starchild", which everyone refers to this way because of the book... But as Dave "dies" he his reborn in the same instant. So begins his new life... So birthdays take place in a perfectly symetric pattern of delays and returns. Instantly (monkeys become men), short (Floyd's daughter), long (Frank's), less long (return to innocence for Hal), and instantly (Dave dies and is reborn). So in a way, we are progressively detaching from our own origins of innocence but gradually returning back to our senses to become what we have always been and have always had INSIDE. Remembering the meaning of being alive, and not being only a mere tool in the hands of what we call Gods (or whatever...). ***Thoughts upon the last scene*** I will not explain my own interpretation of this scene, it would take too long. Just realize that most of the scene takes place in a perfectly symetric set except for one detail in each shot, which is always on the left side of the image. The sink on the left in the bathroom (in front of the mirror...), the spout in the bathtub (on the left...), the towels perfectly placed...=20 The last shot is the most striking, when Dave points towards the monolith. EVERYTHING IS PERFECTLY SYMETRIC : the statues, the way the monolith is placed on the floor, the decorations, the walls. Except, one minor detail : the chair on the left... Finally, whatever the interpretation you make out of 2001, whether it is Aliens, God, a Supreme being. Whether Hal was a friend or a foe, whether Dave really is God now, or an Alien... the only fact that matters with all these ridiculously conflicting ideas is that we have not learned to stop FIGHTING. WHATEVER YOU GET OUT OF THIS MOVIE IS WHATEVER YOU'LL LEARN AND TRY TO GET OUT OF YOURSELF... BECAUSE THERE IS HOPE IF WE LOOK BEYOND THE INFINITE. Francois "Cirkus" Marchand 19 years old Montreal, Quebec (Canada) mail any comment to : email@example.com P.S.: i have not seen 2010 and i don't think i'll see or even read it. there simply cannot be a sequel to this movie, because the story goes on inside us and it cannot be explained by simple facts of aliens or whatever, it goes on by what we make of it. THINKING. Have a nice life... P.S.S.: I have not explained all i would've liked and as well as i would've liked (then again it is impossible, the possibilities are infinite, huh?), but that's that and people will carry on... Thank you.