A Review of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey by Amreen Sunil

Although human beings are universally known to be the highest form of life, this was not always the case. Before, Homo sapiens were not considered a species, there were just apes and other animals. So, what comes after human beings? Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a clear journey, or odyssey of humans and their path in evolution and explains what really comes after. It starts off with a scene of apes, signaling humans’ beginning. The film then progresses to the hypothetical future of 2001 from a 1968 perspective, thus giving a deeper insight on the process of evolution itself and signs of the process occurring. It is not a literal representation of what will occur, but rather focuses on explaining the effects of evolution and why this process occurs. What Kubrick means to expose is the process leading up to the formation, rather than a sequence for evolution as he figures it would occur. As mentioned before, this exact sequence can never be predicted, but can be seen coming by the signs Kubrick shows throughout the movie. It is a frightening possibility that humans will not stay at the top of the chain in terms of evolution, as this is the natural process. It is something mankind cannot avoid, as it is the natural progression of the course of events in the universe.

As the movie progresses we see the increased dependence humans have on technology in outer space. The human species is clearly not naturally equipped to deal with this habitat even with the aid of technology. The first lack we see in this type of lifestyle is the loss of real human interaction. When Dr. Floyd calls his daughter for her birthday and she asks for a telephone as a present, it is a clear cry for real human interaction rather than through technology. This is again seen when one of the astronauts opens a birthday video from his parents. At this point, the video was merely a formality. There was no emotion associated with this interaction. This lack of communication caused by technology, is even evident in our society today. With the advent of phones, Internet, television, etc., there is not as much of a need for real face-to-face human interaction. It is all replaced by screens, which are in no way a real replacement for something as valuable as human interaction. Additionally, humans cannot physically adapt to these harsh conditions. Every step taken seems tedious, space suits need to be used, and even lamps are needed as replacement sunlight. This deficiency is further exemplified as Dave sees himself getting older. In each stage he realizes how much more helpless he is as age makes the situation worse. The point is made evidently clear with the formation of a star baby, the new better version, or beginning for a species better adapted to space.

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