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2001 a discussion of meanings and interpretations.


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Initial post: 26 Oct 2009 18:57:25 GMT
Open to all aspects of the film. To kick off. The monolith represents the cinema screen flipped on it's side. Not too sure if i subscribe to this notion. Thoughts please..

Posted on 27 Oct 2009 10:30:39 GMT
Billy Casper says:
The monolith represents the imposition upon nature of mankind's technological imperative. Taking a base element - rock - and, by shaping it into something unnatural, exerting control and human will upon it. Ties in with the theme of the movie, which is reflected again in the bone/spaceship segue.

Posted on 27 Oct 2009 11:51:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Oct 2009 14:26:34 GMT
An interesting aspect and one i had not heard of or considered myself and yes it fits very well. I never supported the idea that the monolith caused any progression of evoultion in the dawn of man scenes (which i think goes against popular belief) But is this imposition (as you put it "upon nature") of the monolith itself trying to say the exact opposite?
A part of the film that has confused me the most is the final 5 minutes. How long is Dave in the room? Why the Renaissance decor? The broken glass - is this a suggestion of the frailty of the human form. The wine (human spirit) remaining intact even after the shell is broken.

Posted on 27 Oct 2009 15:30:28 GMT
Billy Casper says:
Re: the monolith - when it first appears at the dawn of mankind, it is an echo from the future which tells the apes, "this is where you are headed, whether you like it or not." That mankind will evolve to use its ever-increasing sophistication for malign purposes is inevitable, and conforms to man's innate flaw, its hardwired capacity for violence in all its forms. The apes instinctively recognise this, which is why their response to the monolith is a violent one. Thus their evolutionary journey is set in motion. Also, what else is space exploration - with all its connotations of conquest - but an act of violence taken to its logical conclusion? That man must impose his will not just upon his own world, but on those yet to be discovered. If 2001 has a clear message, it's that the ego of man (as a gender, not as a species, for it's only men who are in thrall to this compulsion to conquer and subjugate) will be its downfall. "We" spent so long marvelling at how clever we are, we forgot to consider the consequences when our creations inevitably turn on us. The final 5 minutes can be read as encapsulating this whole argument - a journey from the beginning of man-made time to its end, the old man in his deathbed (mankind) regretting a lifetime of mistakes. The wine suggesting that if the human spirit were to endure forever, those same mistakes would be made again and again and again. This is just what I came up with on the spot, so apologies if it makes no sense!

Posted on 28 Oct 2009 09:41:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2009 12:34:28 GMT
Billy, in an interesting perspective but one i cannot subscribe to. The Monolith does nothing but observe and i can only imagine that Kubrick chose to show the point in time where the Ape picks up a weapon as a significant point in time. A step of what would become, human evoultion. Whilst Kubrick only shows us significant points at the end of Daves life i think he is equaly choosing to show us the significant points of the Monolith and it's observations of humankind.
With Daves death and the subseqent production of starchild Kubrick is moving significantly from human evoultion to theological pondering. (As the monolith makes its final appearance: standing at the end of his bed as he approaches death. He raises a finger toward the monolith, a gesture that alludes to the Michelangelo painting of The Creation of Adam, with the monolith representing God)
Is he asking the simplest of questions. Where do i caome from? What is the purpose of my life? And finally, what happens to me when i die?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2009 11:49:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2009 11:50:16 GMT
Billy Casper says:
And is the starchild the rebirth of mankind in God's image, our second chance to play out our destiny and hopefully, this time, avoid those same mistakes? I tend to think it's man's relationship with the technology he's created that's the key point of the film, as opposed to the more nebulous theological concerns. If you look at Kubrick's work as a whole, it's the technology/progress question which keeps recurring. By the way, I'd love to have seen what he would have done with A.I. had he not chosen to pass the project on to Steven Spielberg.

Posted on 28 Oct 2009 11:51:09 GMT
Mr. C. Myers says:
Are you talking about the monolith visually in the original post?

Posted on 28 Oct 2009 12:23:20 GMT
Yes, It has been proposed that the monolith itself is a visual representation of the cinema screen. The dimensions are apparantly the same. There is some supporting evidence that does give this some credence but i remain unconvinced. There are plenty of clips on You Tube if you want to know more.

Posted on 28 Oct 2009 12:37:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2009 12:38:56 GMT
I have not seen A.I. Is it worth watching? I have also steered well clear of 2010 as i fear it could spoil 2001 for me. Are there any answers here?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2009 13:03:17 GMT
Billy Casper says:
Haven't seen 2010 either. A.I. is visually stunning, and full of good ideas, but many viewers/critics - myself included - objected to the rather sentimental tone the film veers into in its third act, or simply found Haley Joel Osment's portrayal of the robot boy irritating. It's a safe bet that Kubrick would have avoided the sentimentality that so often hampers Spielberg's work (see the present day bookend segments of Saving Private Ryan, or the questionable decision to colour the little girl's coat red in the otherwise monochrome Schindler's List, for prime examples of this).

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2009 17:51:25 GMT
I don't think Kubrick chose to pass AI to Spielberg. He had put the project on hold with the intention of waiting until robotics had developed to the point that the part of the boy could be played convincingly by a robot. He of course died before this and so Spielberg took over as a sort of tribute to him.

On the subject of 2001, I think Kubrick must have had a bit of an obsession with hotel rooms - 2001, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut for starters. The transient nature of life matched with the transient nature of hotels?

Posted on 28 Oct 2009 22:07:50 GMT
I assume you are seperating the film from the novel. The monolith was not described as solid black in the novel, but as an opaque crystaline object.
The monolith was created as solid black on celluloid, as it looked better to Kubrick's cinematic eye.
Possibly this is an apocryphal anecdote, but sounds plausible.
In the novel, the monolith clearly triggers an awakening in intelligence and emotion in the primitive apes. I also believe Kubrick was trying to convey this on film.
HAL clearly portrays the theme of uncontollable technology, and I have always felt that the monolith is a part of that theme. A creation from an enigmatic intelligence, working to its own agenda. The shape and form can be seen as a barrier and perhaps also a barrier to natural evolution.

Posted on 29 Oct 2009 10:12:37 GMT
I have not read the novel and probably should. I am reluctant though as to quote Mr Clarke
"You will find my interpretation in the novel; it is not necessarily Kubrick's. Nor is his necessarily the 'right' one - whatever that means." Couple this with Kubricks famous quote to Playboy
"You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film-and such speculation is one 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."
Clarke reportedly left the premier of 2001 in tears. The "definitive" answers do not lie in the book. It was never going to be that simple.

Posted on 30 Oct 2009 15:39:52 GMT
Mr. Blu says:
many viewers/critics - myself included - objected to the rather sentimental tone the film veers into in its third act, or simply found Haley Joel Osment's portrayal of the robot boy irritating
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More irritating than Jude Law was in the same film? Now that's talent, even if of the wrong sort. I certainly agree with Dr.Marsh about the monolith's arrival triggering an "awakening". That's how I understood the film when I first saw it as a child, and it's how I understand it today. We see the apes evolve and try to conquer each other, just as HAL evolves and tries to conquer later.

T.Moore - loved that phrase about the unwanted "verbal road map". What I have always loved about "2001" is that from the start of the film until the first word is spoken almost half an hour elapses. I think that is the source of much of its power.

Posted on 30 Oct 2009 17:45:18 GMT
I hate to say this but i am starting to waver. I watched the scene again where the apes awake. I never really saw this as significant before but clearly it is and perhaps signifies a much deeper awakening. Secondly the apes are in the shadow of the monolith (indeed it's close proximity to the apes does not signify passive observation as i initialy thought) Thirdly the response of the apes to the monolith is not what you would expect and perhaps is more so because of the awakening.
Blu if you got this film as a child... Well lets say there weren't enough lasers or space chases in it for me prior to 30!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2009 19:32:51 GMT
nice

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2009 11:52:00 GMT
Mr. Blu says:
T.Moore - "Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" :-)

Posted on 3 Nov 2009 16:16:09 GMT
I think that there is some significance of the 'madness' music. It plays at the start of the film - in the scene here and also when the astronauts are on the Moon and encounter the monolith. I'm not sure of this yet as i would have to watch the film again with this thought in mind. Has anyone else noticed this?
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Discussion in:  action discussion forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  18
Initial post:  26 Oct 2009
Latest post:  3 Nov 2009

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