Frequently Asked Questions (pg 2)

 

 

Opening
What's the point of the opening music?  
How come there is no roaring MGM lion?
Why are there no opening credits other than MGM, Stanley Kubrick, and the title?

The Dawn of Man
What's with the bad gorilla suits?
I believe in creation, not evolution.  Does this mean I won't like 2001?

Earth to Moon
Why is there no title to this part of the movie when there are titles for the other parts?
Why did Kubrick feel he had to show every excrutiating detail of the docking procedure?
Wasn't it unusual in the 1960's to show name brand products?
In what year did the Earth to Moon sequence take place?
Why was Dr. Heywood Floyd so concerned about security?
What was that awful screeching sound?

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Opening

What's the point of the opening music?

The mysterious music heard at the beginning where there is no picture is a portion of Ligetti's Atmospheres.  Like a traditional MGM film, 2001 has an overture, as well as an Intermission that uses Atmospheres as well.  The eerie music sets the tone of the film.  With the sound of objects whizzing past, the Odyssey begins.    Top

How come there is no roaring MGM lion?

The traditional roaring lion would have interrupted the enigmatic opening.  Instead, a non moving drawing of a lion is briefly shown just as the Also Sprach Zarathustra theme starts playing.  The first title shown is "MGM Presents" so the studio is reasonably represented.  Top

Why are there no opening credits other than MGM, Stanley Kubrick, and the title?

It's the way Director Stanley Kubrick wanted it.  The film begins with the opening music.  Why should it be interrupted with a lengthy title sequence?  Kubrick did not want his audiences paying attention to movie stars.  He used actors who were not especially well known and he didn't want their names displayed.     Top

The Dawn of Man

What's with the bad gorilla suits?

The prehistoric primates here are ancestors of Man - probably Australopithecus.  They aren't supposed to look like gorillas or apes, but as some kind of mixture of Man and ape.  This is the stage of Man that just broke away from the ape, its as much a creature of instinct as it is of intelligence.  Something extraterrestrial is testing them to see if intelligence can become its primary way of dealing with its environment.   Top

I believe in creation, not evolution.  Does this mean I won't like 2001?

If you are a strict creationist who believe strictly in the Bible, yes, you are going to have a problem with 2001.  On the other hand, 2001 most definitely does not dismiss the existence of God.  In fact, it can be argued that it was God who places the monolith in the film.  If this is the case, then 2001 is saying that evolution is created by God.  Note that Clarke's novel interprets the creators of the monolith as extraterrestrials that originated "in the warm slime of a vanished sea".  That is not necessarily what the film is saying though.  This is why I always try to convince people to not use the novel as a strict explanation of the film.   Top

Earth to Moon

Why is there no title to this part of the movie when there are titles for the other parts?

The sequence of the journey from the Earth to the Moon and the subsequent discovery of a monolith on the Moon  is still part of the "Dawn of Man" sequence.  Mankind begins when the first monolith is discovered and the discovery of the second one signifies that Man has "dawned".   Top

Why did Kubrick feel he had to show every excruciating detail of the docking procedure?

There are several reasons for this.  The "waltz" between the Orion ship and the space station are indicative of machinery taking the place of Man.  The people eat, drink, and sleep while the machines are engaged in more exciting activities.  Also, the film repeatedly shows that humans and their machines don't align with each other easily.  This is a primary example of that.  Thirdly, it is realistic as to how it would actually be done if this were real.   Top

Wasn't it unusual in the 1960's to show name brand products?

Absolutely but Stanley Kubrick wanted realism with real products.  It also emphasizes that space exploration will become a commercial venture.  Therefore, we see a Pan Am spaceship, IBM computers, AT&T video phones, Howard Johnsons, The Hilton, and Whirlpool.    Top

In what year did the Earth to Moon sequence take place?

For years, nobody seemed to know.  However, now that people have access to high-definition versions of the movie, it has been pointed out that the TMA-1 photos shown on the moon shuttle indicate the photos were taken in the year 2001.  This would mean the Discovery part of the movie takes place in 2002.   Top

Why was Dr. Heywood Floyd so concerned about security?

Dr. Heywood Floyd may be considered a scientist, but he is also the NCA (National Council for Astronautics) chairman.  This likely means he had spent his recent years working his way up the chain of command as opposed to performing any scientific duties.  He has become a bureaucrat who answers to government officials.  His concerns about a discovery of an extra-terrestrial artifact on the Moon means more about keeping the information from the Russians than its scientific significance. Top

What was that awful screeching sound?

It's the voice of the monolith.  For four million years, it slept below the surface of the Moon awaiting  the human race to find its magnetic signature and uncover it.  Upon being discovered, it emitted a blast of radiation to announce to the universe that humans were beginning to leave the cradle that is the Earth.  The signal was aimed at Jupiter so it also pointed the way for humans to go for the next step of the odyssey. Top

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