Onderhond wrote: ↑
August 11th, 2019, 3:39 pm
but Kubrick's barren vision of the future (we eat drab food from machines, supercomputers turn against us, culture is all but absent) is a little hard to miss. Add to that the intro where the bone becomes an instant murder weapon and Kubrick's vision of humanity and technology annoyed me no end.
I wouldn't say this vision of his is inaccurate, but in any case I wouldn't say it's moralistic. The interesting thing about 2001
is that, same as Tarkovsky's Solaris
, it's a deeply religious film that deems humanity incomplete without some sort of spiritual or otherworldly intervention. Funny how one of the best religious films (IMO) was made by a supposed atheist.
The reason why I think the movie's narrative is so smart and ahead of its time is because of, like I said, the various symbolic frameworks it covers. Not only does the story successfully capture the spirit of the time it was made in (wariness of the destructive capabilities of technology + psychedelic mind expansion + gung-ho optimism in scientific progress), but it's also fascinating how the motif of humanity's "rebirth" is framed by the story about space exploration, which is fittingly enough itself full of birth-related imagery (Discovery-penis, astronauts-sperm, Bowman-surviving sperm, Monolith-vagina, Stargate-fertilization, chamber-gestation, exiting through the Monolith-birth).
The story is also heavily influenced by both alchemy and Kabbalah, and these mystical elements are mirrored in the four chapters of the narrative. These chapters are metaphoric of the alchemic four principles of creating a Great Work - nigredo
, as well as the Great Realms of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life - Malkuth
(Earth Realm), Yesod
(Moon Realm), Tiferet
(Realm of Sun but also switchable with Saturn; Kubrick originally intended to have Saturn instead of Jupiter but the SFX team struggled with the ring) and Kether
(Sublime Realm). Kubrick also plays with numerology (e.g. the year 2001 is chosen because it's of the uttermost importance in alchemy, as a year of the great transmutation of humanity).
Come to think of it, I'm not sure if there were any films prior to this one that are so packed with multifunctional metaphors and meaningful, original storytelling. It's pretty amazing, and some of Kubrick's subsequent films even top it in this regard (though most aren't necessarily better because of that).