What Does The Ending Of 2001: A Space Odyssey Really Mean?

2001-A-Space-Odyssey 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my favorite films and my favorite sci-fi of all time, I€™ve committed far too many hours of my life watching it and I€™m now here to share my thoughts on what the ending means. 2001 has been puzzling viewers since the day it came out and will probably forever continue to puzzle people until humans are so advanced that we become €œStarchildren€ like Dave himself (if that€™s possible anyway). There are many questions surrounding 2001 that have to be answered to figure out the ending like what is the monolith? Why did it appear in every step of human evolution? What in the world even happened in the last 30 minutes of the film? Luckily for you, I€™m here to - hopefully - answer all of those questions and more with this article. I€™ll start with the monolith. With all of the evidence the film gives us it suggests that the monolith is some sort of tool that a highly advanced alien civilization has sent to Earth to progress the evolution of humans. Stanley Kubrick uses the song €˜Requiem€™ by Gregory Ligeti to not only create a chilling mood but also give the monolith a voice. The sounds of €˜Requiem€™ can be heard in five parts of the film: the black screen before the movie starts, the Dawn of Man sequence, the sequence with the astronauts on the moon, the ending of the mission to Jupiter and the ending of the film itself when Dave is on the bed with the monolith towering over him. This music is the monolith€™s voice speaking to whoever it is facing. By having €˜Requiem€™ play over the black screen at the beginning of the film Kubrick is actually showing us the first monolith even though it is too close for you to actually see the shape. Think about it. Doesn€™t the black screen go on for a little too long? That was done intentionally by Kubrick. This is the monolith speaking to the audience themselves which suggest that we€™re about to witness a film so grand and so magnificent that it will open up our eyes to things we€™ve never even thought possible. I know that all seems fairly pretentious and it would be if it wasn€™t true but such is the genius of Stanley Kubrick. All right, now that I€™ve explained the monolith and what its purpose serves I can explain the ending in detail. 2001 is the story of human evolution itself from the beginning to the end and the ending of the film is Kubrick€™s version of what the next step of human evolution looks like (too bad he didn€™t live to see the actual 2001). The part of the movie that people start to get confused at is the €œStargate€ sequence right after Dave defeats HAL and learns of the reason he€™s been sent to Jupiter. This is where the monolith appears to him and the €œStargate€ sequence begins. What is actually happening in this scene is Dave is being transported to what is basically a zoo for all the different forms of life that the monolith has come in contact with and is advancing (more on that in a minute). As Dave is being transported light years into the universe the monolith is showing him things that he€™s never even had the ability to see for himself. He sees other planets and cosmic phenomena that mankind had no idea even existed. There€™s even one scene during the €œStargate€ sequence which appears like it could even be the monolith showing Dave the big bang. The whole sequence is also contrasted by Dave€™s eye as it continues to blink and change colors emphasizing this new wave of knowledge. Click "next" to continue reading...
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My favorite movies are Before Sunrise, Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and Her so don't be surprised to see those pop up in my writing from time to time. I'm currently in school for Journalism/English and I have an obsession with all things cinematic on the side.