Stanley Kubrick talks about the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Very interesting, Matteo. Thanks for the clip. A group of us saw it when it came out, and it blew our minds!

I always thought the ending suggested reincarnation. But we have now heard it from the horse's mouth..

~Doc



I like and respect 2001, but I'll say the same thing about Kubrick's explanation of the film's ending, as I do about Ridley Scott's interpenetration of Decker (Harrison Ford) as a replicant...

And that is: I'll decide what the film's ending means based on my own viewing experience.

I don't need nor want a film maker telling me what to think, that's the film's job, not their's after the fact.

But, due respect to Kubrick, because he didn't really want to talk about the ending of 2001, but was directly asked and so answers to be polite. Where as Scott crams his own ideas down the viewer's throat and call them idiots if they don't see it his way.



For me the ending is reincarnation, thats how its been and always was for me, i don t wnt to think otherwise



This might just do nobody any good.
Cool, so Stan was doing the equivalent of reading off the Wikipedia summary.

As for an actual meaning, actual intent, Iíd always read it as something more bitter than most. Something about the previous three hours leering over technological advancements, the film conducting itself in a very left brain kind of way and then having the lead human character revert in form... I donít know.

The more we go forwards, the more we yearn to go backwards?



I never knew the astronaut was in a zoo. I always had the idea that the astronaut was evolving to another plane of being ( just as the apes who first grasped weapons/tools evolved into humans, early in the film) . The astronaut became a star child- a new life form that would be something beyond human.

For me, this was a flimsy explanation of a brilliantly wrought film with an intellectually murky ( yet visually stunning) ending. Does Kubrick really believe this 'zoo story' ? Or is he pulling our galactic leg?



This might just do nobody any good.
He describes his setting as similar to a zoo. He is evolving but the aliens (the crystal things that show up in the star gate) are trying to help him in the transition, providing him with an environment that will be comforting, comforting to the aliensí best understanding of humanity (hence the poor recreation).

Theyíre trying to anchor his mind and body to something familiar as he transcends.

But, again, thatís just a cold reading of the events. Stan doesnít spill the beans on any actual message, on any idea he was trying to pass to the audience. I find it incredulous to think it was vague for the sake of just ending the movie, getting passed a narrative wall.



He describes his setting as similar to a zoo. He is evolving but the aliens (the crystal things that show up in the star gate) are trying to help him in the transition, providing him with an environment that will be comforting, comforting to the aliensí best understanding of humanity (hence the poor recreation).

Theyíre trying to anchor his mind and body to something familiar as he transcends.

But, again, thatís just a cold reading of the events. Stan doesnít spill the beans on any actual message, on any idea he was trying to pass to the audience. I find it incredulous to think it was vague for the sake of just ending the movie, getting passed a narrative wall.
what crystal things, i don t remember those, can u please provide a pic thanks



...I always had the idea that the astronaut was evolving to another plane of being ( just as the apes who first grasped weapons/tools evolved into humans, early in the film) . The astronaut became a star child- a new life form that would be something beyond human...
Exactly how I interrupted the film.

Unknown god-like beings have been directing mankind's evolution through the obelisks, until the final evolution into a higher form of consciousness.

The zoo idea? I think Kubrick watched Star Trek 'The Cage' one too many times.



Exactly how I interrupted the film.

Unknown god-like beings have been directing mankind's evolution through the obelisks, until the final evolution into a higher form of consciousness.

The zoo idea? I think Kubrick watched Star Trek 'The Cage' one too many times.
I always thought that the star child at the end was the "baby" Dr. McCoy references at the end of Star Trek The Motion Picture. The baby is what Decker and the "Ilia probe" / V-ger become when they "join" together (even the final color scheme was the same!)



I always thought that the star child at the end was the "baby" Dr. McCoy references at the end of Star Trek The Motion Picture. The baby is what Decker and the "Ilia probe" / V-ger become when they "join" together (even the final color scheme was the same!)
Captain steel i was thinking about rewatching the firsr superman from 1978



Thank you very much for this video. It's very interesting to study the creative process with such talanted person as Kubrick.