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Someone care to explain 2001:A Space Odyssey to me? (Spoilers obviously)

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Someone care to explain 2001:A Space Odyssey to me? (Spoilers obviously)

Old 02-11-06, 11:26 PM
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Someone care to explain 2001:A Space Odyssey to me? (Spoilers obviously)

This is one of those movies I just didn't 'get'. I imagine that to understand what's going on you have to either be David Lynch or be tripping on acid. I finally decided to watch it today after hearing about it so much over the years. The first 3/4 of the movie was somewhat interesting, although a bit boring but at least I could tell that it was leading up to something. But then the last 1/4 of the movie just goes totally off into bizarro land.

Anyone want to explain what the f*** all the stuff at the end means? Specifically homeboy flying through Electric Ladyland and parking his space pod in someones bedroom, the flying monolith showing up to join the party and turning old guy in the bed into a baby, bubble baby flying through space, etc.
Old 02-12-06, 12:03 AM
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Reading it in writing does make it sound pretty funny.

In a purely literal interpretation, here's what happened: Bowman is transported into another dimension, where his alien hosts (the ones responsible for the monoliths, and subsequently our evolution) pluck a familiar setting from his mind (a hotel) in order to ease his transition. The space baby is a representation of Bowman -- he has been "ascended" to the same incorporeal plane of existence as the aliens themselves. Or similar to them, in any event.

2010 explores this literal interpretation of the ending more fully. Bowman explores the solar system at the speed of light -- diving into Jupiter, exploring the oceans underneath Europa, etc. He becomes the intercessory for the aliens, and will be the messenger who reveals that "something wonderful" will happen to Jupiter.
Old 02-12-06, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Maxflier
Anyone want to explain what the f*** all the stuff at the end means? Specifically homeboy flying through Electric Ladyland and parking his space pod in someones bedroom, the flying monolith showing up to join the party and turning old guy in the bed into a baby, bubble baby flying through space, etc.
That's probably one of the better descriptions of the ending I've ever heard.
Old 02-12-06, 12:37 PM
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There is a god.
Old 02-12-06, 12:38 PM
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plenty of spoiler stuff here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A...sey_%28film%29
Old 02-12-06, 01:22 PM
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I've always wanted to know what is with the apes dancing around for the first 20 minutes of the movie. After that scene, I fastforwarded through the rest of the movie. I have honestly never watched any other movie in fastforward. The funny thing is, I don't think I missed anything by fastfowarding through the movie because they drag the scenes out way too long. It is by far the worst movie I have ever seen.
Old 02-12-06, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Cube
I've always wanted to know what is with the apes dancing around for the first 20 minutes of the movie. After that scene, I fastforwarded through the rest of the movie. I have honestly never watched any other movie in fastforward. The funny thing is, I don't think I missed anything by fastfowarding through the movie because they drag the scenes out way too long. It is by far the worst movie I have ever seen.
the very act of dismissing it ensures that you've missed something, if not everything. here's link to a flash "cliff's notes" on 2001. should be more your speed (fast-forwarding pun fully intended).

http://www.kubrick2001.com/
Old 02-12-06, 03:47 PM
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Read the book. It explains things nicely, and is a good book.
Old 02-12-06, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
There is a god.
Someone grab that sigline!
Old 02-12-06, 05:24 PM
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It's weird that the meaning of "2001" has never been brought up here.
Old 02-12-06, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
It's weird that the meaning of "2001" has never been brought up here.
It has been discussed.

The whole movie is an allegory of human evolution, starting with the apes. The apes "dancing around for the first 20 minutes" shows that they find how to use objects as tools and weapons. Then a select group dominates the others. It shows how our human social evolution was very similar to that of apes. It really quite a fascinating movie if you look beneath the surface. And the music is just magnificent.
Old 02-12-06, 08:38 PM
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For a really succinct "meaning" for 2001 and 2010 -- read the front flap on his book 3001. I do not have it in front of me so can not re-type it in to get it right. I have seen both movies totally through, but it was a long, long time ago and I saw that book in a store looked at and it briefly (yes-very shortly) described 2001 and 2010.
Old 02-12-06, 11:25 PM
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Thats funny. I just posted this in the symbolism thread and found this thread.

"
You guys are missing one of the greatest transitions and symbolic moments in movie history. The end of the prologue in 2001 with the powerful image of the bone in primitive times transitioning to the pen in the space shuttle symbolizing the transition of brute force to intellegent thought in the evolution of man/civilization.

My professor commented that nowadays Kubrick might have chosen a laptop instead of a pen.

Really I think the prologue to 2001 has a lot of great imagery and symbolism and is a nice short piece of film to show to your class."
Old 02-12-06, 11:32 PM
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I think the explanation is a bit biased towards the book. Watching the movie (at least the first time), it isn't clear that aliens are responsible for the monoliths. They could be signs from God or whatnot.
Old 02-12-06, 11:37 PM
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The end of 2001 involves a man actually making contact with aliens that are far more advanced than humans.

It's ultimately a mystery (in the sense of a shamanic experience rather than "The butler did it"). It's a religious experience/revelation given to Dave Bowman by the aliens that isn't understandable by the human mind.

Speaking of not being understandable to the human mind, the monoliths are sized in a ratio of 1:4:9, the perfect squares. I've often wondered if they don't follow the same pattern out into higher dimensional space that is imperceptable to the human mind. So the monoliths' proper dimensions would be 1:4:9:16:25:36:49:64:81:100:... out toward infinity.
Old 02-13-06, 12:12 AM
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How do you know its aliens? Sure the book says that, but I'm not sure if the movie definitively says it.
Old 02-13-06, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by tanman
You guys are missing one of the greatest transitions and symbolic moments in movie history. The end of the prologue in 2001 with the powerful image of the bone in primitive times transitioning to the pen in the space shuttle symbolizing the transition of brute force to intellegent thought in the evolution of man/civilization.
And... the wheel transitions to the space station. Considering the film was produced before man ever landed on the moon makes it even more fascinating and brilliant.
Old 02-13-06, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Speaking of not being understandable to the human mind, the monoliths are sized in a ratio of 1:4:9, the perfect squares. I've often wondered if they don't follow the same pattern out into higher dimensional space that is imperceptable to the human mind. So the monoliths' proper dimensions would be 1:4:9:16:25:36:49:64:81:100:... out toward infinity.
According to the novel, they do although it may be square of prime numbers. I don't remember clearly since it has been about 20 years since I read it but I do remember a paragraph talking about it.
Old 02-13-06, 12:52 PM
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The glimmering rectangular shape that had once seemed no more than a slab of crystal still floated before him, indifferent as he was to the harmless flames of the inferno beneath. It encapsulated yet unfathomed secrets of space and time, but some at least he now understood and was able to command. How obvious - how necessary - was that mathematical ratio of its sides, the quadratic sequence 1 : 4 : 9! And how naive to have imagined that the series ended at this point, in only three dimensions!
No mention of primes.
Old 02-13-06, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by taa455
The whole movie is an allegory of human evolution, starting with the apes. The apes "dancing around for the first 20 minutes" shows that they find how to use objects as tools and weapons. Then a select group dominates the others. It shows how our human social evolution was very similar to that of apes.
You're off the mark on a couple of things. First, it isn't an allegory at all, it's laying out a specific (albeit fictional) accounting of evolution. Second, the Monolith CAUSES the evolution in the early primates, allowing them to eventually become human. The "Dawn of Man" beginning is just that. The apelike hominids discover the Monolith (or it arrives during the night) and it bestows on them the ability to understand simple tool use, which in true human fashion they almost immediately use for violence.

At the end, the Monolith is responsible for the next step in human evolution, when Bowman becomes a godlike protector of Earth.
Old 02-13-06, 01:58 PM
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Well, thats your interpreation of the movie. In the movie, its not clear if the monolith causes evolution or just appears when man (or ape) is ready to evolve. The apes at the beginning are dying, there is no hope if they don't evolve. Its the same situation in 2001, man's limitations are killing him and the only hope is a jump to the next level.

The second monolith (the moon monolith) doesn't cause evolution it points humans and perhaps gently pushes them by pointing the way to the third monolith. Does the final monolith actually cause evolution - well its an interpretation but other people could disgree.

I really dislike using the novel as a guidepost for the movie, its interesting filler to the movie, but its not Kubrick's vision as presented in the movie.

The beauty of the movie is that it is seemingly open with its intentions but its open to about 1,000 interpretations, all of which make you think a bit. The book of course has to guide you a bit more than the movie so I find it unhelpful in deciphering the movie.
Old 02-13-06, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
the very act of dismissing it ensures that you've missed something, if not everything. here's link to a flash "cliff's notes" on 2001. should be more your speed (fast-forwarding pun fully intended).

http://www.kubrick2001.com/
Well to be honest I watched the whole thing, in fact I've seen it in its entirety twice and I have to agree with Cube. In my opinion the entire movie should have been edited down to about 45 minutes, horrible film all around. Yes I am well aware that I am in the minority opinion here. It reminds me of Robert Jordan writings, just on and on and on with meaningless drivel. (As opposed to George R R Martin writings which are similar in length but full of substance.)
Old 02-13-06, 04:04 PM
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I've watched 2001 probably 50 times and have loved every slow, plodding second of it each time.
Old 02-13-06, 10:27 PM
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I am continually surprised that people seem to think 2001 is open to some sort of interpretation. It never struck me that way at all.

Yeah, the movie's full of symbolism, but symbolism doesn't necessarily mean something is open to interpretation. Maybe it's because I read the book several years before I had the opportunity to see the movie.

I see the novel and movie as two parts of a greater whole. Each works separately, but better together. One shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the book. Clarke and Kubrick collaborated on the novel and the movie at the same time.

The discrepencies between them are rather minor and, for the most part, are due to last minute changes that were made at the script writing level. Changes that couldn't be made to the novel due to publishing deadlines. In the book, the monoliths are clear, not black, and the Discovery is sent to Saturn, not Jupiter. Neither of these differences is significant to the 2001 story.

The only significant (maybe) difference is the ending. The book ends with the Bowman Starchild detonating all the nuclear weapons orbiting Earth. In the novel, Clarke is clear this isn't the end of the world, but Kubrick is reported to have said that he didn't end 2001 like that because that's how he ended Dr Strangelove, thought it had end-of-the-world connotations, and didn't want to repeat himself.
Old 02-13-06, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon2
I am continually surprised that people seem to think 2001 is open to some sort of interpretation. It never struck me that way at all.

Yeah, the movie's full of symbolism, but symbolism doesn't necessarily mean something is open to interpretation. Maybe it's because I read the book several years before I had the opportunity to see the movie.
"If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered."
~Arthur C. Clarke

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