Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

2001: A Space Oddyssy (Contains Spoilers)

  1. Jun 1, 2003 #1
    Can anyone please explain to me exactly what is going on near the end of the movie? You know the area of the movie where the guy appears to be going at high Extreme speeds and it shows all those wierd colored shapes on the sides, and then at one area it shows these 4 or 5 3-dimensional diamond shaped objects un-supported and changing different colors. It almost looks like they are changing shape but I believe they are changing colors. I also want to know what is going on when all of that wierd stuff passes by and he ends up in a room with a bed, chairs, and a table in it. Also With a bathroom connected to the room. How come he sees himself in black clothes sitting down on a chair eating off a plate on a table? Did he go through some type of space-time paradox? Also what is up with the scene at the end where it shows what appears to be a baby in a bubble type substance near a planet? The baby look liked the guy who went through all that wierd Alien stuff near Jupiter. Please explain.

    What it looks like to me is, That the wierd Alien Object had made his little pod travel at very high speeds and all those colors are effects from the Alien Object. Than that little experience before somehow made an appearance in a bright room with all the neccessities needed to sleep, sit, eat, and use the bathroom as well as bathe. That whole part looks like a continuum that happens infinitly, since he sees himself in black, and the him in black sees himself in the space suit that he came in with. I dont I think im right though. So please Explain exactly what is going on.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2003 #2

    As you possibly know, there's a book by Arthur C. Clarke with the same name. The movie and the book were made with cooperation of Clarke and Kubrick in a period from 1964 to 1968.

    The book later became part of a series, even though Clarke refused to do a sequel at first. The books aren't each other's direct sequels, so says Clarke, but they are parts of one great symphony, I'd say.

    00. 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1964-1968, released 1968 after the movie
    01. 2010: Odyssey Two, 1982
    02. 2061: Odyssey Three, 1987
    03. 3001: The Final Odyssey, 1997

    The movie and the first book are almost the same, except for some parts. The movie is rather more concise, perhaps there's been a difference of viewpoints or some technical limitations.

    In order to understand the movie to the last detail, specially for the opening (the ape-men scenes) and the closing (the encounter and thereafter), you have to read the book. It also features a preface and epilogue (this one was written later in 1982, as an epilogue to 2001 and a prologue to 2010) by Clarke. There's no other way to understand those parts. They need a narrator, which is present in the book, but couldn't be fit (or Kubrick didn't want to fit such thing) into the movie.

    If I was to describe Clarke's work, I'd say only one word: "Magnificent!" I suggest reading them.
  4. Jun 13, 2003 #3
    I say you must read the book(s). The movie is OK, but personally I think no movie made after a SF book can compete with the book (anyone seen Dune - the movie? ).
  5. Aug 16, 2003 #4
    Actually, in the case of 2001: A Space Oddyssy , the screenplay (written in collaboration by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kuprick) was written first. The book was published so as to explain the movie--as it is very difficult to understand what is going on since they opted for no narration.

  6. Aug 16, 2003 #5
    Okay, if you read the book, you'll find out that the monolith is essentially an ancient star-gate. When he attempts to land the pod on the monolith, he realizes that it actually contains space. Which is why his final transmission to earth was something like... it's full of stars. He then passes through this stargate to another galaxy far far away. When he arrives there, he finds a mock human environment designed by intelligent life to make him feel at home. He walks around the place and finally decides to take a nap. Except he never wakes up.

    The intelligent life decides to transform him into a new being. Which is why you see him being born again as a baby floating around in space. His new body is essentially immaterial. He has transcended the confines of ordinary existence, as had those who brought him to their world. At that point, he can traverse space and time with ease. He is fully enlightened to say the least.

  7. Oct 11, 2007 #6
    The monoliths are actually cosmic burglar alarms - designed to send a signal when struck my sunlight thus alerting whomever that Man has reached a milestone in his evolution. The monolith is first seen with the first use of the tool then later when man can use his tools to reach the moon.

    Bowman severed the coevolution of man and the tool when he used the wrench on HAL. HAL hated the crew for which he cared believing them to be baby food eating infants learning to crawl in near-weightlessness. HAL believed that these apes were at the end of their evolution and while they were masters of Earth - they hold no sway in this new environment. When HAL goofed - he began killing to save face.

    HAL understood Bowman as modern, rational, and scientific. What he did not anticipate was Bowman is in fact an old ape - and through strength of his evolution was able to call upon that to kill HAL with the simplest of tools: the wrench.

    By doing so - he completed the mission to Jupiter where he faced the last test - his own mortality. The room was re-created from television shows beamed out to space from earth. In one scene - a wine glass breaks but the wine is left intact. Container/content (it deals with Plato's views on the soul forms). Once Bowman faces his mortality, he is allowed to merge with the alien intelligence allowing him to become the Star Child.

    That being said - the film's use of physics is stunning.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  8. Oct 11, 2007 #7
    The book is actually less mysterious than the movie, and little different. The book explains the purpose of the monoliths quite clearly. It's a neat concept, but not emphasized in the movie.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook