The greatest film ever made. 2001: A Space Odyssey is, as anyone will tell you, open to interpretation. In my opinion, "2001" approaches the theory of evolution. We begin at The Dawn of Man sequence. We see that our ape-man ancestors are driven by curiosity. At this point, man is weak and stupid, but he is also adaptable and energetic. A monolith appears and as the film progresses, we see how the apes learn how to use a primitive bone as a tool, hence the evolution of technology, and the apes eventually evolve into man. As one of the apes throws the bone into the air, a jump cut ensues, bringing us to the film's present time. Another monolith is discovered which descends from Jupiter, and it's on the moon.
At the beginning of the "Jupiter Mission" sequence, astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole, along with three scientists, who are in hibernation, set off for Jupiter on a spaceship named Discovery One, controlled by HAL 9000, a new, revolutionary computer system. The Discovery One is being sent to Jupiter - namely to find out what the monolith's transmission means, and where it goes. When HAL endangers the crew's lives and begins to malfunction, it's up to Dave to disconnect the computer, in order to save his life, then set forth to the home of the new monolith. We then enter the "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" sequence, as he is then sent into another dimension, where we see that his human body is laid to rest and he is reborn as a new member of the next evolutionary species: a starchild.
I'll admit the movie is hard to appreciate, but if you can appreciate it for what it is, it is probably one of the most beautiful composed films in cinematic history. I haven't read the books, but the movie is enough for me, it can convey 101 different messages without a word.
2001 has been my favorite film since I first saw it when I was about 14. It was the first time I watched a film and realized that there could be more to a movie than just the story on the screen. I watch it occasionally, but it is still fresh every time and still has the power to amaze. It continues to blow me away. The effects still bring a smile when I watch it now. My understanding of the film has also continued to grow and develop over the years. As has my understanding of HAL.
I think Kubrick/Clarke has said that if anyone has understood this film, they (Kubrick and Clarke) have failed. You are not supposed to understand the ending, especially not the first time. I think the point of this film is that your are supposed to think about it for a long time. I like to think that Kubrick and Clarke left the ending open for everyone to interpret their own opinion on upcoming events after David Bowman is reborn as the star child.
"2001" is the greatest film of all time.