2001: A Space Odyssey.

Essay by Dragonhowler June 2003

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2001 Space Odyssey

The film segment chosen was the final scene from Stanley Kubrik^s 2001

A Space Odyssey made in 1968. As the name would suggest, the film is

set almost entirely in the future. Already having projected itself over

30 years into the future, it would be safe to assume that this motion

picture offers a wealth of imagery and futuristic vision. It does. It

is towards the end of the film, however, that Kubrik offers this to us

on a much greater scale. In these few minutes, we are presented with

the dawn of a new era: a near incomprehensible evolution of humanity.

Through many complex design devices, the set design successfully

achieves a vision for the future that is neither dystopian, nor

entirely utopian, yet extraordinarily positive on a revolutionary


Kubrik himself has never publicly discussed the ending to 2001 and

admits that this was a very subjective film, while many people claim

not to have understood it at all.

Many interpretations have been made

as to the real meaning of this scene, many incredibly different and

most equally plausible. Despite their differences, however, all have

one thing in common: an overwhelmingly optimistic vision for the


A few example interpretations include alien intervention: an idea that

alien technology has helped man progress to the ^next level^ of

consciousness; to an understanding beyond the physical realm. Others

adopt the idea of the emergence of man as pure thought completely of

his own accord.

It is for this reason that the futuristic vision expressed in this

scene cannot be labeled simply utopian. What viewers are offered during

this scene spans far beyond an idealistic version of the world we live

in today: various connotations found in the scene stretch the bounds

and horizons of humanity itself.