2001: A Space Odyssey. Essay

1574 words - 6 pages

2001 Space OdysseyThe film segment chosen was the final scene from Stanley Kubrik^s 2001A Space Odyssey made in 1968. As the name would suggest, the film isset almost entirely in the future. Already having projected itself over30 years into the future, it would be safe to assume that this motionpicture offers a wealth of imagery and futuristic vision. It does. Itis towards the end of the film, however, that Kubrik offers this to uson a much greater scale. In these few minutes, we are presented withthe dawn of a new era: a near incomprehensible evolution of humanity.Through many complex design devices, the set design successfullyachieves a vision for the future that is neither dystopian, norentirely utopian, yet extraordinarily positive on a revolutionaryscale.Kubrik himself has never publicly discussed the ending to 2001 andadmits that this was a very subjective film, while many people claimnot to have understood it at all. Many interpretations have been madeas to the real meaning of this scene, many incredibly different andmost equally plausible. Despite their differences, however, all haveone thing in common: an overwhelmingly optimistic vision for thefuture.A few example interpretations include alien intervention: an idea thatalien technology has helped man progress to the ^next level^ ofconsciousness; to an understanding beyond the physical realm. Othersadopt the idea of the emergence of man as pure thought completely ofhis own accord.It is for this reason that the futuristic vision expressed in thisscene cannot be labeled simply utopian. What viewers are offered duringthis scene spans far beyond an idealistic version of the world we livein today: various connotations found in the scene stretch the boundsand horizons of humanity itself.The problem faced by Kubrik, and indeed the set designer was how toportray a near incomprehensible, purely conceptual journey on film. Onetheory sits with the idea of a metaphorical shift of entities: the roomwe see is a metaphor for the human body and respectively, Dave Bowman,the main character, becomes a metaphor for the human mind.One of the elements that makes this scene appear to be ambiguous is theabsence of dialogue and meaningful audio accompaniment. This absencedraws additional attention to the visual elements of the scene.Furthermore, very little screen movement encourages us to study Dave^ssurroundings, in this case an elaborately decorated room.Though the set is not intended to be a physical rendition of the futureitself, it does play a large role in channeling our thoughts andemotions while we are offered these fantastic, conceptual, futuristicideas.The set quickly becomes an overwhelming feature of the scene for onemain reason: the uncomfortable feeling of incomprehension encourages usto look to physical features for familiarity; something solid to grasponto. Kubrik does not offer us this. Instead, we are greeted with whatappears to be an elaborately decorated hotel room void of doors andwindows,...

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