2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This film is clearly a visually stunning and I can tell just how amazing it was by the effect its had on me after watching it. It's one of those films that really makes you think in such a way that after watching it you can't watch or do anything else for the rest of the day without constantly thinking about the mind bending experience that is this movie, but I don't think it's a masterpiece. I know that's a crazy thing to say but let me explain my interpretation of the movie just incase you think I didn't get it

Of course, most of that mind bending comes from that trippy first act but the rest of the movie is still forcing so many questions throughout, the first coming from the dawn of man sequence. In this sequence we see a bunch of man-apes (clearly just a bunch of fellas in monkey suits which is kinda funny) be presented with this monolith and immediately we wonder, what is the monoliths purpose, is it acting as a God-like figure observing the dawn of man? After it arrives we see one of the apes discover how to use a bone as a tool which he then uses as a weapon to kill another ape. When the ape throws the bone in the air we cut to what appears to be a nuclear weapon floating around in space. This cut shows us the human evolution of the first weapon ever made to the most destructive weapon man could ever create

In this second part of the film we are met with a visually stunning compilation of ships flying around space before we begin to follow a scientist as he travels to the moon where a second monolith has been found. The contrast of the apes and the modern day humans discovering the monolith is very interesting, the apes approach it with caution while the humans arrogantly gather around it and try to take a picture with it. Another interesting thing about this second section of the film is the lack of dialogue, alot of people criticise the film for sacrificing character development for a big focus on technology but, I think that's the point. The film is saying that technology has become such an important aspect of our lives that human connections have become secondary. The conversations people have are boring and bland, this idea rings very true to today with human reliance on technology like our phones. Another thing this section of the movie represents is the main theme of the movie which is evolution, we seen it with man evolving by discovering tools in the first act and now we see us evoling to life in space in the second. We have to wear grip shoes to walk, we have to eat our food in compact packages and we have to read 10 paragraphs worth of instructions to use the toilet

In the third act we are presented with the films main protagonist, Dave Bowman, and the main antagonist, HAL. As I mentioned earlier humans have become bland due to their obsession and reliance on technology, this idea is pushed further by the fact that HAL is the most complex and emotional character in the film. Out of all the characters in the second two acts, he is the only one who expresses fear. HAL of course is too powerful and after the humans discover that he has made a mistake, they decide to disconnect him, this leads to HAL going on a murder spree killing everyone on the ship except Dave, not from a lack of trying. Dave then disconnects HAL in a scene that symbolizes that in order for man to evolve further it has to end its complete reliance on technology. The movie is not completely negative in its views on evolution, it doesn't believe that the exploration of space is a bad thing but it does believe that an over reliance on technology is a very dangerous thing that mankind needs to be very careful with

Finally, we enter the last 20 minutes of the movie which is a trippy, mind bending experience that will leave you with alot of questions even though it is explainable. Dave discovers a third monolith floating in space which leads him into a stargate that brings him to a room where he sees himself age through life in a matter of moments. As he lays on his death bed he reaches towards the monolith, resembling that picture of Adam reaching out to God. The monolith seems to accept him and Dave is reborn as this superhuman so to speak that is sent towards earth to begin a new evolution of man

The biggest question that people ask after seeing this film is what do the monoliths represent? Kubrick has stayed quiet for the most part on the meaning of the film but he has said that he sees it as the most scientific representation of God. This would lead me to believe that the monoliths represent God and have been sent to these locations by extra-terrestrial beings who wish to help the evolution of mankind, but who knows, that's the beauty of this film. I think my favourite thing about 2001: A Space Odyssey is that is presents ideas in such a way that can only be achieved through film, no other source of media could have pulled this off the way film does