Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Douglas Rain, Frank A. Miller, Bill Weston, Ed Bishop, Vivian Kubrick, Glenn Beck, Alan Gifford, and Ann Gillis.
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick.
The story opens millions of years ago at the Dawn of Man in Africa on Earth. A pack of apes are going about their daily mundane routines until one morning, they wake up to find a strange, black, looming “monolith” object standing over them. Curious, they gather around and touch it – Moments later, they have learned how to break things, make use of their surroundings, and kill other animals for food. The monolith has the capabilities of advancing other beings through touch.
Skip millions of years later, 2001. We have landed and set up base on the moon and are pretty close to where we are now (which is a surprise for somebody imagining this back in 1968), technologically speaking, give or take some things. Apparently, there was another monolith buried underneath the surface of the moon and it has now been discovered by NASA. We are treated to a briefing and a visit of the dig site on the moon. The film jumps again, 18 months later, following the crew of the spacecraft Discovery One which includes astronauts Dr. David Bowman, Dr. Francis Poole, and three other men sleeping in “cryo” hibernation. The monolith on the moon left over a very powerful radio emission aimed at Jupiter, which is the reason for sending this crew there to investigate.
*Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea): One of the main astronauts.
*Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood): One of the main astronauts and Dave’s friend.
*Dr. Heywood R. Floyd (William Sylvester): A key figure in organizing the Jupiter mission.
*HAL-9000 (Voiced by Douglas Rain): The voice, brain, and main computer of the Discovery One spaceship.
Upon the completion of “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), Stanley Kubrick explored his fascination with the possibilities of outer space and extraterrestrial life and vowed to make “the proverbial good science fiction movie”. Ever since then, “2001: A Space Odyessy” has been labeled as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
What happens from the point where Bowman enters the Star Gate until the very climax is pretty much up to our speculation, the way that Mr. Kubrick intended it to be. I myself am still trying to figure it out to tell you the truth. It’s obvious that the monolith advanced Bowman into something of higher intelligence, but why and for what? To glimpse into the world of these aliens who are responsible for these monoliths? You decide.
Nevertheless, the film almost doesn’t feel or look like it’s from 1968, minus a few hairstyles and pieces of clothing here and there. It’s almost as if Kubrick went to great lengths with his efforts to create something that stood out amongst the films of the 60s era it was made in. Stanley Kubrick combines themes and elements of technology, human evolution, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life, scientific realism, dazzling special effects for its time, and minimal use of dialogue to create this landmark science fiction film.