Sci-Fi In ’68: “2001”

Needless to say, Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) is loaded with brilliant scenes and images. A lone astronaut, Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea), floats in the zero-gravity inner compartment of the HAL computer as he listens to an on-screen scientist report the news about extraterrestrial life. There is something chilling about it. The upside-down flight attendant on the space shuttle becomes right-side-up in the pilots’ cockpit. The frequent “virtual” contact with people on the earth, as much as, say, 300 million miles away. A very elderly Bowman lying on a bed before a later shot reveals him to be wrapped in striking light and, in fact, a new being.

Except for “Dr. Strangelove,” Kubrick’s best films were made in the Fifties and Sixties. Some of the meaning in “2001” is too private, but the film is wonderfully mysterious. All the same, I must say I don’t believe that human beings evolved from animals.

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