2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey ★★★★

The first thirty minutes show us the dawn of man, where we see two tribes of primates fighting to take control of a water source. One of the two groups mysteriously finds a monolith, this discovery leading some time later to one of the monkeys who finds a bone and uses it as a weapon against the other group of primates.

Many thousands of years later, human beings have already begun their space conquest, and find this monolith once again, this time on the moon. Astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole (played by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood respectively) are sent along with the new super intelligent HAL 9000 computer. But things will soon get complicated when HAL begins to have doubts about this mission.

Unlike the way we could see the film, I don't think Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a movie that proves that technology is a human knowledge that will topple us. Unlike films where we see that technological knowledge is something that will lead the human race to an almost inevitable extinction, technology here is the very proof that human beings have evolved. It is a tool that has allowed to give power to mankind and to go far in his evolution and conquests.

Just see the acclaimed scene where a monkey starts to beat the leader of the enemy tribe to death, and when he throws his bone, we have a transition that shows a spaceship (yes yes you've certainly heard this famous cut over and over again, but for damn if it isn’t magnificent). This scene alone shows the beauty of humanity.

And it's not an anti-technological film when you study the characters. In general in this film, human beings are put "aside" compared to HAL 9000 (whose voice is that of Douglas Rain), the character who certainly has the most close-ups. There is no denying the fact that this computer is a villain, as we go through the story we understand that he does not necessarily have good intentions, but I have the impression that he nevertheless remains the most human of all the characters.

In fact, he is the first to doubt about the mission, and is also in constant dread of death and suffering. And I think that this human part of it also allows to show another aspect that I like, it’s that here humans are in no way surpassed by technology; HAL 9000 may well be a much better intelligent being than its creator, but the creator will always have the upper hand over him.

Speaking of creators, I also think that the ingenious Stanley Kubrick made this film by wanting to show that God was indeed dead. For me, the monolith is not a divine intervention, but rather the next evolution of the human race or the human being in a parallel universe, existing not to guide us but rather to give us knowledge that will allow us to create our own evolution.

I see it this way because for me the human race is portrayed here in three phases: the first which is the primitive state, where the human has no knowledge of technology and is only beginning to manipulate it; the second phase, which is that technological knowledge is held and has evolved widely, although it seems that man remains in a childlike spirit (the way they eat their food, or the fact that there have to read notions about how to use toilets in space); and then finally the third phase, the one in which the human being becomes a monolith and no longer needs this technological dependence.

HAL: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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