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2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my all-time favourite movies. In fact, it might even be my favourite movie, period. Every time I watch the film I am entranced. The special effects are awesome, the cosmic story is an epic saga unequalled in film history, and Hal's death is one of the most dramatic scenes of all time.
But time and time again, I keep running into people who say that they don't understand 2001. Some of the things I've heard from people include:
And so on, et cetera, ad infinitum. I am amazed that the story of 2001 is misunderstood by so many; to me, the story is easy to understand. There is one requirement that the film places on its audience. Far too few movies ask the viewer to do this: THINK! Read between the lines. Simple deduction can make the entire film as clear as "an azure sky of deepest summer." There is a lot of symbolism woven into the fabric of the film, but even without the elaborate "meaning" behind every shot and every scene, a little thought still makes the plot crystal-clear.
For the benefit of those who say they still don't understand 2001, I have written this essay. I don't expect to change anyone's opinions of the film, and some of the theories I include may be considered silly or ridiculous or even completely erroneous by other authorities. So much the better. I simply want to make 2001 a little easier for people to understand, and the best way for me to do so is to tell the film the way I see it.
This is an audio commentary on "2001: A Space Odyssey", a motion picture by Stanley Kubrick, released in 1968 by MGM. It is intended to be played while the movie is playing, in the same manner as an audio commentary on a DVD (or Blu-Ray). I would have liked to present the movie itself, playing as the commentary is spoken in the background. However, that would certainly have been removed from YouTube as a copyright violation. Because of this, I present the audio commentary here, with a request to play this commentary while the movie is playing on your own video player. This was a project I'd wanted to do for years, at least since the 1990s. Finally, I committed to completing this project in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, on July 20, 2019. I hope you enjoy this.
Commentary and Criticism: What you have written about this essay
I've received some interesting email concerning my essay. These comments are thought-provoking and a fascinating read, and I'm more than happy to share them with you. In the case of all the messages listed below, I sent email to the author asking for permission to place the letter on my Web page. Some of the messages below do not give the name of the author; this is because the author never sent a reply to my query, or because he/she preferred to remain anonymous.
Discuss the movie at the Internet Movie Database Discussion Forum for 2001: A Space Odyssey
If you don't agree with my little essay, then please feel free to let me know why. I'm open to suggestions, corrections, insults, and what have you. I'll put the more interesting comments – both positive and negative – on this page for your enjoyment. (Because of time constraints, I've found it difficult to keep the comments pages immediately up to date…so if you want your comments to be seen by all visitors to this Web site, instantly, you can read and contribute to the 2001 and Beyond the Infinite Guest Book.)
More Web sites devoted to 2001 can be found at our page on 2001 - A Space Odyssey.
|You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophy and allegorical meaning of the film – and such speculation is indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level – but I don't want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he's missed the point.|
Let us honor the passing of Stanley Kubrick by creating our own interpretations of his creations, and using these insights to discover new truths about ourselves.
A Homage to Stanley Kubrick: The Language of Film by Modemac
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