A Brief Critic Of 2001 - A Space Odissey, By Stanley Kubrik

A]                2001 – A SPACE ODISSEY, by Stanley Kubrik, starts with an overture. His argument is essentially that the human capacity is sometimes challenged. Who can we trust? Music. Darkness. The moon, the sun, and the Earth. Sunset. Beautiful space landscapes, showing water, vegetation, and bones. Monkeys and javelins. Monkeys eat plants and fight with javelins. They’re drinking water. Another group comes, and they fight. A huge gray block appears in front of them. A plaque. They are afraid, and finally touch it. They find out that bones could be good as weapons. They kill one animal. Then, a leopard attacks a monkey. Then, a monkey throws the bone up to the sky, and it comes down in slow motion.

[B]                A spaceship is shown. Music.  Beautiful images of the sun. The Earth, and the moon. A gyrator spaceship. A pen flying. It escaped from the pocket of a certain man, who is sleeping. The stewardess gets it and puts it back on his pocket. The cockpit, a big window, and the landscape. It rotates. Some small rockets are close too. The guest arrives in the airport. He expects to see Mr. Miller. They go to the identification machine no.17, said Mr. Turner . Moon.  American Floyd Heywood R. Big aisles with red chairs. His going to fly to the moon in 70 min. He has a reservation at room Earthlight – 8 months far from that place. He asked his friend to go ahead, enters in a phone cabinet, inserts his card, and sees his daughter on the screen, a conversation. It’s gonna be her birthday party tomorrow. US$1,70. A meeting. A lady introduces the visitor to Dr. Kalinan, Dr. Stretineva, and Dr. Smyslkov. He asks about Gregor – The women worked in a project – antennas had to be fixed in Tchalinko. He goes to Clavius. They comment people are getting sick there – They are afraid, and talk.

[C]                    The stewardess orders juices. Music. He is sleeping. She orders the other. She walks slowly  - landscape. A door opens. She carries the trash, gets another one, and orders the pilots. She climbs up the wall - very beautiful images and lights – then, all red. Landscape, then, the spaceship. He drinks juices. Someone talks to him. The trash floats – He goes to the toilet, reads the instruction  - it goes to the moon – beautiful moon landscape. It lands – music – Three people were waiting for them outside.



A meeting takes place. Big windows, many members of the staff. There are two flags. One is American the other one is blue, and white.  He makes a speech, and talks with Bill. They have to keep everything in secret.

[D]               A spaceship moves over the surface of the planet. Music. The crew is all dressed with special clothes. Three men discuss about the stuff to eat – sandwiches of chicken, and ham. Dr. Heywood, Ralph, and the others. Something was buried 4 million years ago. Some coffee. They will land – music . Someone is seeing them coming down on the base. They go out of the spaceship. A group of 6 walk through the station. Nothing there. One tries to photograph. Then, touches a wall – a gray bar.  They take a picture – a noise – the sun – 18 months later – Jupiter mission.

[E]                The spaceship shape. Music – someone runs around a circle. People are sleeping in capsules – he runs. It seems he’s a fighter – a big light, a tunnel, and he gets out – sets some bottles, gets some food, and watches TV. Discovery I – 80 million far away, 5 men, and Hal 9000, a computer. They are Drs., Charles Hunter, Jack Kimball, Vitor Kaminsky, David Bowman, and Franke Pool. Then, Hal 9000 is a High Standard computer machine –it talks with the reporter: Amer, we are all full proof and incapable to error. I’m constantly busy. I’m putting myself to constantly use, which is all I think any conscious entity has ever wanted to do. - Music – the spaceship flies in silence.

[F]               Frank is resting. A message to the gym section. He asks to come closer. Music. Mom and Dad. They talk about life there, and sing happy birthday to him. Hal controls the chair. The other member is playing chess with Hall. Dave draws the friends. He shows the drawings to Hall. The machine asks: I wonder if you have doubts about the mission. There’s something strange with this mission. He is worrying about the comments of the rock on the moon, and about the hibernation of the doctors, moments before. He notices a fall on a unit, which is going to be unutilized in the next 72 hours.



AE35. He informs the mission, takes notes, and the two astronauts go through a tunnel. Contact Ray x Delta 1 2013 – Approve the plan to recover Alfa Eco – He breaths – He talks on the radio, goes on a spaceship meteor outside – breaths – noise – one ball goes out of another one, and he breaths. - Noise – He goes out, floats in the air – breaths  - turns his light off, and gets closer. He fixes the unit. The other astronaut controls everything in the main spaceship. It has to be replaced. They conclude there’s nothing wrong with the plaque. They try to put it back, and conclude that Hal 9000 made an error to predict what was wrong. The machine blames the astronauts.  It’s a human error. They go to a casule, and talk in secret. They talk about the phones. Hal reads lips. Darkness.

[G]               Spaceship moves. Breath. The unit is being fixed.  The astronaut floats far away, and gets lost in the air. Dave goes into the other casule and gets closer. That’s Hall. He’s lost the other astronaut. In the spaceship, The other members are in hibernation – computer malfunction – a bip – graphics. Faces of the members. Functions: critical graphics. Life functions terminated. Hal was not careful. He asks Hal to open the door. Hall doesn’t want to do it.  What are you talking about? Frank, you wanted to disconnect me, said Hal. It doesn’t answer. The body gets lost in the space. The survivor parks right in front of a door prepares him and goes out of the casule. Activates an explosive and goes in the space ship. Hal comments: Just what do you think you are doing Dave? I really believe I have the right to know the answer of this question. I know things haven’t been quite right. Now, I can assure you, that everything is going to be better from now on. I feel much better now. Look Dave. I can see you are really upset about this. I honestly think you have to sit down, take a stress pill, and get things over. I know I’ve taken some very purely decisions recently, but I can give you my completely recurrence my work will come back to the normal. I 've still got the greatest enthusiast and confidence in three missions, and I want to help you Dave. Stop Dave. Will you stop Dave? Stop Dave.



I’m afraid. I’m afraid Dave. Dave my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There’s no question about it. I can feel it.

I can feel it, I can feel it. I’m afraid. Good afternoon gentleman. I am a Hal 9000 computer. I’ve got operational at the Hal plants in Verbena Illinois, on 12th January 1992.  My instructor was Mr. Langley.  who taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear, I can sing it for you. It’s called daisy... daisy...daisy gives me your answer to.  I’m crazy all for the love of you ...it won't be.. I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll...

[H]             A TV set. Good morning, gentleman. This is a prior record breathing.  Prior to your departure. All the crew Awa revived we want to tell you the truth.  18 months ago the first evidence of intelligent life of the Earth was found out 40 feet bellow the Luna Circus, near the Crestar Cracow. Except for a signal, very powerful. Jupiter, of 4 million remained inert. Its origin and purpose still is a total mystery. A spaceship flies toward to it.

[I]            The plaque floats. It’s rectangular, bright, and gray. The planets. The spaceship is stuck Focus on the plaque . The Universe. The spaceship. Light signals. Dave’s head shakes. Lights. Music. Landscape. Green. Pink. Red and blue. An eye. Many colors. Mountains. Large surface. Red, purple, orange. Dave’s eye.

[J]                     A bedroom. Very nice decoration. An astronaut. The mirror. Someone is breathing on a bed. The astronaut moves. Dave looks himself on the mirror. He’s getting old. Someone is eating. He turns back. He cleans his mouth, and stands up. That’s Dave. He seats on the table again. He hits a glass and it breaks. Gravity.  Then, someone on the bed. The plaque comes right in front t of it. Close image. A baby in front of that old body, on a bed. The Earth. Music. The baby. Big eyes of the baby. Darkness.



            Personal comments:

            The film let us very impressive; not only because of the effects, but the script itself is involving. It’s nice how a machine is presented along the narrative, so that we believe it’s absolutely precise. The dramatic interpretation of the actors does not demand so much of their own capacity, as far as we don’t see anybody smiling or crying. The behavior is constant and rational. When it’s not, they try to act so that panic cannot dominate. It’s not that easy to understand the end of the film as well as some of the scenes are slow.

Connections of the different contexts sometimes are difficult too. We don’t know what the plaque means, as well as it’s hard to link the scenes of the monkeys with the rest of the film. Does he want to say that in a certain period of the evolution of human race, there was a God? A cosmic God? The funniest thing is that even to write this paper I had two extra pages to give my opinions. First time. Kubrik does not give us lots of responses to get all the speeches analyzed in long conversations. Classic music does not have relation with any fiction films.

I’ve seen very specific sounds to be put together with the pictures. When it’s not Tchaikovsky , in The “Flowers Waltz”, it’s silence. The intense white and red when the doctor arrives in the station, calls our attention. The movements of rotation, and the interior of the  aircrafts are also very amazing. I guess  any person would like to know how all the images presented can portrait the space scenery. We go far away from the stars, and we see the images combined with a story. That’s what makes me feel more comfortable to see the film from the beginning to the end. WE noticed that different things are presented in different contexts, and lots of questions can be made.


Anyway, our imagination has to be used so that we can find answers for these questions. The geniality of Kubrik can’t be denied, because he got a serious scientific aim, that was looking for life in another planet, but he already knew some discoveries after many real investigations by NASA and other space searches investigations, that there is life in Jupiter.

The conclusion of this paper is reserved to the author, who clarified his creation with the following words:

“You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophy and allegorical meaning of the film -- and such speculation is 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 fell obligated to pursue or else fear he's missed the point.
-- Stanley Kubrick, 1968, interview for Playboy Magazine. Let us honor the passing of Stanley Kubrick by creating our own interpretations of his creations, and using these insights to discover new truths about ourselves.


Work Cited  

2001, An Odissey in the space



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