2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

tammyp's picture

I KNOW I'M GOING TO REGRET SAYING THIS, BEING A BIG FAN OF HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION.  BUT LAST NIGHT MY HUSBAND AND I SAT AND WATCHED "2001" FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM START TO FINISH.

I HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE A COUPLE OF TIMES BUT ALWAYS CAME IN AT THE MIDDLE OR THE BEGINNING OR SOMEWHERE INBETWEEN.  AND FOR REASONS I CAN'T EXPLAIN, NEVER SEEN IT THROUGHT TIL THE END.

WELL LAST NIGHT IT WAS ON "SHOWTIME" AND WE DECIDED TO WATCH IT FROM THE BEGINNING.

WOW! WHAT A GREAT MOVIE.  STILL STANDS STRONG SOME FORTY YEARS LATER.  SO MUCH OF THE MOVIE IS TRUE TO WHAT "THEY" SAY SPACE TRAVEL IS REALLY LIKE.  FOR EXAMPLE, NO SOUND, LOVED HOW YOU ONLY HEARD "DAVE" BREATHING WHENEVER EVENTS TOOK PLACE OUTSIDE THE CRAFT.  AND THE FACT THAT MAN IS ALWAYS IN CAHRGE OF HIS OWN FATE AND HOW MUCH OUR RELIABLITY ON "MACHINES" ULTIMATELY CAUSES OUR DOWNFALL.  SUCH AS THE CASE WITH THE "H.A.L 9000" COMPUTER.

SO HERE'S MY QUESTION:  SEEING IT THROUGH TIL THE END.  CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THE HELL THE LAST FIVE MINUTES WAS ALL ABOUT?  I KNOW "DAVE" APPARENTLY MISSED THEIR TARGET OF JUPITER.  BUT ALL THE EERIE IMAGES AT THE END.  WAS THAT HIM AS AN OLD MAN, WAS THAT HIM AS A FETUS.  I HAVE MY THOUGHTS BUT WHAT EXACTLY DID HAPPEN OR WHAT WAS IT REPRESENTING.

THANKS

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tammyp's picture

MMM...GUESS NO ONE ELSE HAS SEEN THE MOVIE ALL THE THROUGH, OR NO ONE ELSE UNDERSTOOD THE ENDING EITHER?

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HELLFIGHTER's picture

I have never been able to sit through A SPACE ODYSSY.

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expendableExtra's picture

It's been a long time since I've watched it, I even have a copy. I'd have to watch it again to see exactly what your asking. I do remember it is a great movie though!

tammyp's picture

LIKE I MENTIONED TO "HELLFIGHTER", I THINK WE HAD THE SAME OPINION ON WHY NEVER WATCHED ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  SUNDAY NIGHT WAS THE FIRST TIME AND I'M STILL ASKING MYSELF..."WHY HAVN'T I WATCHED THIS BEFORE?  WHAT A GREAT MOVIE".  AND THE EFFECTS FOR THE TIME IS WAS FILMED ARE/WERE AMAZING, ESPECIALLY INSIDE THE CRAFT.

NOW, IF SOMEONE CAN HELP EXPLAIN THE LAST FIVE MINUTES, WITHOUT ME GOING TO THE INTERNET FOR ITS OPINION, IS CURIOUS TO ME.

BREAK OUT YOU COPY AND WATCH THE LAST 5 MINUTES AND HOPEFULLY YOU CAN MAKE SENSE OF IT.  IF YOU DO, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THX.

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tammyp's picture

IF ANYONE DOES WATCH THE MOVIE, ALSO CURIOUS IF SOME OF THE MOVIE MUSIC SOUNDS A LOT LIKE SOME OF THE MUSIC IN "ALIEN", OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

neener56's picture

I think i can tell you what the ending was about.... or more likely another dude can. I think i posted it somewhere else . But my personal belief is well of course when dave is tripping balls with all those colors he's jumping through a stargate. traveling from one dimension to the next. And as far as the monolith goes, its a god, of food.... i know thats a little out there but this guy describes it greatly.

 

I first saw Stanley Kubrick’s monumental film when I was six. I have seen it numerous times and like many, I wondered what it was about. Kubrick declined to provide an answer in interviews. After reading numerous simplistic theories about the film that did a poor job of explaining anything, I had to develop my own theory. I was surprised to find a theme that ran throughout the entire film, forming a conceptual framework that provided meaning for just about every scene and plot development. I will take you through the movie step by step.

The Monolith is an intergalactic food activist/critic, if not god of food. It is aghast when it finds the Earth apes eating twigs and bushes, being eaten by leopards and having turf wars over drinking water. The Monolith changes this: the apes are no longer meat, but begin to eat meat. Thus starts a revolution of eating.

Four million years later, mankind has made a mess of everything involving food. We see a Pan-Am space ship approach the rotating space station. “Pan-Am” implies the existence of airline food, which is generally unsavory. Heywood Floyd makes a video call to his daughter. For her birthday, she wants a “bush baby” [doll], a reference to the bushes the early apes ate; as if unconsciously warning her father about the abuses of food. Floyd is then accosted by the Russians and he refuses a drink with them. How rude! Food is supposed to bring us together, but turf wars at drinking spots still remain. Floyd goes off to have dinner with the station security director. On the shuttle to the moon, the crew sips food from straws, which can’t be appetizing; Floyd sleeps through his meal to avoid it. But hunger wins out and the meal drives Floyd to the space toilet; he has to read instructions on how to deal with his gastronomic catastrophe. Later, on the trip across the moon’s surface, a cooler is opened and they eat ham sandwiches. Ham! A forbidden food! (Recall Kubrick was not an Englishman, but a Bronx Jew.) After the ham sandwiches, the monolith sends a piercing radio signal to Jupiter, directing the humans to further cooking lessons.

During the trip to Jupiter, more culinary abuses take place. First: the three scientists are placed in cryogenic hibernation. They live, but do not eat, which has to be an abomination to the food-obsessed Monolith. Second: the unreal colors of the TV dinners eaten by Frank Poole and Dave Bowman suggest particularly unsavory food. The chess game between HAL and Bowman points to the validity of this food theory. Kubrick picked this particular game out of a book of notable chess matches. The game presented in the movie is called “Roesch-Schlange, Hamburg, 1913.” Hamburg is where we get the name for the incredible sandwich the hamburger, a true triumph in the history of eating. HAL is (unconsciously?) telling Dave to give up his life of TV dinners and tube food and get back to decent eating (note the similarity to Floyd’s daughter’s unconscious message). The third sin onboard the Discovery occurs soon afterward: Poole receives a video call from his parents on Earth to wish him a happy birthday, seated behind a cake topped with candles. When the call is over, HAL wishes Poole a happy birthday. HAL does not wish him a happy birthday and tells him his cake will be ready later. There is no cake onboard the Discovery! How foolish! A three year mission with no cake! Two scenes later, HAL starts acting strange: the Monolith has given up on humanity and now takes on HAL as a patron (although HAL does not eat as people do: maybe the Monolith doesn't realize this?). HAL's elaborate ruse to get Poole and Bowman off of the ship in order to kill them and the hibernating scientists does not completely succeed and he is deactivated by Bowman. As his higher mental functions are disconnected, HAL sings the Daisy song, not only in reference to the plants the early apes ate, but also to explain that he is as the early apes were. Having only recently met the Monolith (off camera), HAL has not had a chance to evolve to his more advanced meat-eating phase, and we are never given a chance to see how this evolution in HAL would unfold. And just like the early apes, the newly evolved HAL uses lethal violence to protect his turf.

When Bowman reaches Jupiter, the Monolith is not happy to see him, and sends him on a psycho-tropic rollercoaster ride. What is the primary physiological response to phycho-tropic drugs? Nausea. The Monolith wants Bowman to barf in his helmet. He does not, due to his cast-iron stomach, a product of a lifetime of TV dinners and tube food. Bowman reaches the elegant Louis XVI-decorated room (I am asked why this period of decoration: the Monolith finds this era to have the most refined cooking) and has to wait 30 years to eat. And what a meal it is! Bowman, engrossed in culinary perfection and haunted by memories of his earlier, hungry self, knocks over his glass. Having eaten tasty food for the first time, Bowman lives out the rest of his life in gastronomic heaven in bed. The Monolith appears, Bowman points (a final pull-my-finger joke?) and is reborn as the Space Embryo to lead Earth on a Culinary Rebirth.

This theory explains numerous aspects of the film ignored by other 2001 theories: the ham sandwich on the moon, why that exact chess game was played, why HAL sings that song, why Floyd’s daughter wants a “bush” baby doll, the birthday cake. All of these are small details to be sure, but resonate with the many food scenes throughout the film. Think about how many food scenes are in the typical science fiction film, ignoring “Soylent Green” and movies where humans are food for aliens. Also consider how long the three main eating scenes are; the apes eating twigs, the stewardess preparing and delivering food to Floyd and the shuttle crew, and Bowman and Poole preparing and eating their TV dinners. These are not quick shots of eating, but extended sequences in which the primary message of food consumtion is obscurred by novel environments (the African desert, the weightlessness of the shuttle to the Moon, the rotating crew cabin of the Discovery). But this theory is the only 2001 theory to address a fundamental question that other theories cannot even provide the framework for an answer: why are the dimensions of the Monolith 1 to 4 to 9? Sit down: the answer will shock you.

1:4:9 are the proportions of ingredients in a recipe. What recipe?

These are the proportions of butter to half-and-half to sugar used in chocolate fudge, a bar of which the Monolith resembles.

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tammyp's picture

WOW!! I NEVER WOULD OF GOTTEN THAT THEORY ABOUT FOOD BEING THE CENTER OF THE MOVIE.  THOUGH ALOT OF WHAT WAS MENTIONED ABOVE MAKES SENSE ABOUT THE FOOD, ALL THE SCENES ENVOLVING FOOD AND ETC.  I GUESS THAT MAKES SENSE.

AS FOR THE DEATH OF THE CREW IN "HYPER SLEEP", IS IT POSSIBLE THAT "HAL" WAS SIMPLY "DOING AWAY" WITH ANY POTENIAL THREAT AFTER LEARNING THE PLAN TO "SHUT HIM DOWN"?

ANYWAY, SO THE LAST FIVE MINUTES WAS DAVE EXPERIENCING TIME DEMINSION TRAVEL?  AND THE "GIANT FETUS" HEADING TOWARDS EARTH WAS THE ALIEN/S.

MMM...SOUNDS LOGICAL TO ME.

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neener56's picture

Well Tammy.... its quite the discussion that could and has been going on for decades. In every interview with Kubrick, he never EVER even slightly lead to the true meaning of this film. But the facts are things that he cannot hide. Dave went through a Stargate, jumping from either on dimension to th next or one end of the universe to the next. So when he finally gets there in that weird room wher he ages quickly and the monolith is watching him, it is possible its just a random fucked up dimension that he landed in. Also the FETUS at the end is DAVE becoming a STARCHILD. A STARCHILD is the creation of of human life by an unknown or un-earthly entity. Like if you believe in any religion. The first human to walk this earth was that gods STARCHILD.

tammyp's picture

I/WE HAVE YET TO SEE THE SEQUEL "2010".  THAT'S NEXT FOR ME TO SEE.  THE ONLY THING I KNOW OF THE MOVIE IS THAT "THEY" GO IN SEARCH OF THE MISSING SPACESHIP FROM THE FIRST.

AND THAT IS STARRED THE LATE ROY SCHIEDER (FROM MY FAVORITE MOVIE "JAWS'), AND JOHN LITHGOW (I THINK).  NOBODY TELL ME THE PLOT PLEASE.  FREE TO GIVE OPINIONS, JUST DON'T BE A "SPOILER" THX.

@NEENER56

SEEING ON HOW YOU SEEM TO KNOW THE MOVIE VERY WELL.  AM I CORRECT THAT RIDLEY SCOTT MAY HAVE USED SOME OF THE SAME MUSIC IN "ALIEN" ?  COULDN'T TELL YOU WHAT SCENES IN "2001", ALL I KNOW IS WHEN I HEARD IT THE FIRST THING A SAID TO MY HUSBAND WAS, "THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE SAME MUSIC FROM "ALIEN"".

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CardinalIron's picture

Well for me I've believed that Kubrick films are open to interpretation. "2001 ASO" if full of symbolism. For instance I heard that the monolith is represenative of man's desire for discovery. One can also say that the old man that Dave sees, is how humans can only understand alien life in comparison of themselves. Finally the Star Child represents the next level of man's evolution. Now I realize these are rather simplified meanings of these images, and I believe they can have different interpertations, but that is what I love about Kubrick movies and "2001 ASO" in particular.  

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