Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

General Site Questions
What is the purpose of this site?
Why does the picture of the Moon, Sun, and Earth appear different from the film?
Can I express my viewpoints on this site?

Film (General)
Why all the fuss over this movie?
If I read the novel, will that explain the movie?
I found the movie confusing.  What does it all mean?
We are nowhere nearly as advanced technologically in the actual year 2001.  Were we really that optimistic back in the 1960's?
Where can I find more information about the movie?

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General Site Questions

What is the purpose of this site?

2001: A Space Odyssey is my favorite movie.  The Internet allows me to offer to share my opinions and viewpoints about it.  Anyone is welcome to peruse, comment, and contribute to this site.   Top

Why does the picture of the Moon, Sun, and Earth on this site appear different from the film?

It's not the image from the film.  It, like most of the images on the site, was created with 3D software.   Top

Can I express my viewpoint on this site?

Absolutely!  In fact, I would love to receive and publish intelligent opinions about 2001, even if I don't agree with them.  I'll have the final say but as long as your viewpoints are appropriate and thoughtful, I'll publish it.  There will be an article submission page, eventually.  For now, send an email to:  articlesubmission@2001aspaceodyssey.org .  Feel free to attach Word, WordPerfect, rtf, and pdf files.   Top

Film (General)

Why all the fuss over this movie?

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the rare films that transcends its period.  Like Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Star Wars, and such, 2001 is still the object of much discussion.  One thing about it is it proved that science fiction films can be legitimate works of cinema.  Virtually everything in science fiction before 2001 was a low-budget, silly, and uninspired work that added nothing cinematically.  Since 2001, we've had Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, and many other quality films involving science and space travel.   Top

If I read the novel, will that explain the movie?

My answer may seem odd, but it isn't, really.  Arthur C Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey is brilliant and was mostly written at the same time as the screenplay.  Realize, however, that after Stanley Kubrick and Clarke parted after co-writing the screenplay and novel together, Kubrick did a lot of re-writing.  He kept the basic story intact but added and changed a lot of details.  These changes may have seemed subtle but they added a lot of nuances to the film, namely the symbolism, allegory, and religion.  Symbolism and allegory were never really Clarke's strengths (although his novel Childhood's End is an exception).  Kubrick, on the other hand, was a virtuoso in this sort of thing, witness any of his other films.  The novel does explore some areas where the film doesn't.  However, the film has a depth in spirituality, religion, and allegory that are almost non-existent in the novel.   Top

I found the movie confusing.  What does it all mean?

That's the primary goal of this site - to explore the meaning of the film.  Just keep in mind there is not one single answer.  Many people will be willing to offer (myself included) but ultimately, you should make your own decisions (and contribute them to this site if you want to.)   Top

We are nowhere nearly as advanced technologically in the actual year 2001.  Were we really that optimistic back in the 1960's?

Actually, some were.  The 1960's was an incredible decade technologically.  The United States' commitment to space technology was huge, especially in the early part of the decade before the Vietnam War stole much of the focus.  Breakthroughs were being made daily.  It took only 3 years for us to go from shooting pieces of metal into the sky to sending a man into orbit and returning him.  At the pace we were going, many scientists and politicians believed we would colonize the Moon by the end of the 20'th century and be exploring Mars by then.  

It can be noted that at least, in one way, Kubrick and Clarke's vision fell short.  HAL is huge and is composed of old style transistor circuits.  While we may be a little short technologically, in the artificial intelligence aspect of HAL, our sub $1000 computers we have today could easily perform all the life-support, communication, and navigation duties that HAL performs.   Top

Where can I find more information about the movie?

All over the place.  Here are some books:

2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C Clarke  A great novel in it's own right.  Just don't count on it to explain the film

2010: Odyssey Two - Arthur C Clarke The only good sequel and it's great (unlike the film version).  It contains some insightful flashbacks to 2001.

The Lost Worlds of 2001 - Arthur C Clarke Contains early drafts of the novel/screenplay.  It's very interesting because you can really understand Kubrick's influence on the story.

2001 Filming the Future - Piers Bizony  Wonderful photos and conceptual artwork.  Bizony's account of how the film was put together is insightful.

The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey - Stephanie Schwam (Editor)  Contains some worthwhile articles, even the infamous horribly negative review of the film by Pauline Kael.

Kubrick's 2001 A Triple Allegory - Leonard Wheat  Contains some very interesting interpretations of the film and really explores many allegorical references.

Moonwatcher's Memoir - Daniel Richter  Written by the mime who played the primary man-ape early in the film

The Making of Kubrick's 2001 - Jerome Agel  A very extensive, detailed account of the film

 

Okay, now some links:

Modemac's 2001 and Beyond the Infinite  A fantastic essay

Amazon.com's 2001   A good way to see what others have to say, good and bad

The Internet Movie Database 2001 Page  More user comments and basic facts

Collative Learning  Film Analysis by Rob Ager

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