2001: A Space Odyssey–What You Need to Know

The bone, hurled into the air, becomes a spaceship, but the leap forward is not necessarily a great or a positive leap.

Kubrick’s vision of space travel is spectacular but ultimately deadly.

While the ape shows a manic joy in its discovery, the space travelers show neither joy nor sorrow, there’s no overt display of emotions.

They are mere receivers of data, which are flashed on the various screens.

The territory conquered offers no excitement, no danger to them–until one of the tools revolts.

The ape used the tool and made it into a weapon, but later, the tools and the humans are hardly distinguishable.

The humans in the film lack expression or reaction, not because they wear masks, but because they don’t have to have feelings.

The film’s human characters are incorporated into a mission; they are not really distinguishable from the other components, only barely so.

The openness of 2001 allows it to generate various, even contradictory meanings.

The scene in which the apes confront the first computer, a silent monolith, unblinking apes, drawn by frustrations, grab clubs, go on a rampage.

Some critics perceive 2001 as yet another variation on the myth of Frankenstein.

The desire of imagination to create a human simulacrum.

In 2001, Kubrick predicted the new digital culture.

It’s a leisurely, distanced contemplation of technological advance and human retreat.

2001: A Space Odyssey Vs. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters seals the viewer inside its structure from the opening shot. (the blast of light and sound come from out of the darkness).

2001, in contrast, demands viewers consistent attentiveness. Unlike Close, it is open, speculative, meditative and ambiguous

Close is predetermined, and its images are overwhelming.

Close is about the yearning/will to yield to something more exciting.

Close is sentimental and hyper-emotional

2001 is about the terra of dehumanization, it is ironic and calm (except the Stargate sequence)

Kubrick speculates on pre-determination and ultimate control by super-intelligence, even if ultimately, the speculation is not very palatable.

2001 offers an open narrative and intellectual space for the viewer to maneuver

Source: Kolker, 143-144.