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View Full Version : Can someone please explain the end of 2001: A space odyssey



late for dinner
2009-03-30, 11:40 AM
Alright I just saw the movie for the first time last night and got it all the way up until the 10 minute color sequence on screen...What did the end of the movie mean??

Joran
2009-03-30, 11:59 AM
You're going to have to read the book, but I believe our friend Dave Bowman becomes a "starchild" when he meets the aliens who left the monolith.

Ascension
2009-03-30, 12:00 PM
I understand that it sort of makes sense if you've read the books, and it might make sense if you see 2010 (the sequel).

However, I've not had the time to do either, so I can't say if what I've heard is correct.

On the other hand, I have secondhand evidence that it's much more enjoyable if you just take some hallucinogens and forget about trying to make sense of the ensuing experience.

chiasaur11
2009-03-30, 12:06 PM
Alright I just saw the movie for the first time last night and got it all the way up until the 10 minute color sequence on screen...What did the end of the movie mean??

Hoo boy.

That, pal, is one of cinema's most legendary mind screws.

Makes a tad more sense if you read the book. Might be worth trying.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-03-30, 12:06 PM
Short version: Dave encounters the Monolith, has his consciousness gradually expanded (like the primitive hominids at the start of the movie), ascends to a higher level of being. All just as intended by the Monolith's makers.

Long version: read the book. It'll actually take less time than watching the movie did.

late for dinner
2009-03-30, 12:32 PM
I think the Primative sequence was put into my top 5 favorite cinema moments....oooo new thread Idea.

Yulian
2009-03-30, 10:31 PM
Okay, basically, Dave gets taken...somewhere by the Monolith aliens. He lives his entire life in that white room as they sort of teach him and, as stated, expand his consciousness. Then, at the end of his life, they take him to the next level, making him a cosmic being, but an infant one, in the grand sheme of things. He is the first of humanity's next step, and it's implied there's so much further still to go.

- Yulian

BlueWizard
2009-03-31, 07:16 AM
Read the Book.

But, basically, yes, Star Child.

He has become the next step in human evolution.

kamikasei
2009-03-31, 07:24 AM
To be a little clearer:

The "light show" is Bowman entering the Monolith, which is a gateway to a universe- (or maybe just galaxy-) spanning network of wormholes. This brings him to the aliens attention. The sequences with him as an old man, etc., are the aliens extracting and expanding his consciousness, and providing a "metaphor" to help him understand what's happening - so he perceives it all as a death and rebirth.

In the book, the giant baby is his own image of himself as a new energy being. I forget if it's included in the movie, but he then returns to Earth and prevents a nuclear war (not that anyone understands - he isn't seen, he just stops some launches with magicTM). He has further interactions with humanity in the later books and in the 2010 movie.

Seraph
2009-03-31, 04:20 PM
Bowman goes through a wormhole. Bowman's mind and consciousness is uploaded into the monolith, becomes sufficiently advanced human a la Q.

Closet_Skeleton
2009-03-31, 04:35 PM
The behind the scenes reason is that in the original treatment he was supposed to meet some aliens, but the film ran over budget and niether Clarke or Kubrik were satisfied that any of the alien designs they had looked alien enough, so they just made up some wtf nonsense to go at the ending, which Clarke then had to make sense of in the concurrently written novelisation.

The alternative explanation of the hotel room he's in at the end is that he's an exhibit in an alien zoo.

Asheram
2009-03-31, 05:54 PM
Well... I'd suggest you read the book 3001: The final odyssey.
It does play hob with some continuum but it does explain what exactly happened to Bowman and Hal, and what the Monoliths really are.

BlueWizard
2009-04-04, 03:00 AM
All the books. Yep, the consensus here.

Seraph
2009-04-04, 10:07 AM
Well... I'd suggest you read the book 3001: The final odyssey.
It does play hob with some continuum but it does explain what exactly happened to Bowman and Hal, and what the Monoliths really are.

no. for the love of god, don't read 3001, it is terrible.

wadledo
2009-04-04, 10:17 AM
no. for the love of god, don't read 3001, it is terrible.

No, it's just that each book is in its own continuity.

BlueWizard
2009-04-04, 05:06 PM
Read. Read! Read!!!!

Icewalker
2009-04-04, 06:32 PM
I liked all the books, although they got progressively slightly worse. Still all good, I'd say.

Yeah, the ending is much better described in the book, but still very mysterious. Now, the beginning of 2010 really explains the ending of the first one, so read that as well.

Kreistor
2009-04-04, 09:39 PM
Okay, I can answer better than most. I read the whole series.

First, note from the beginning when the monoliths arrived. This was the age of the aliens that created them, tens of thousands of years ago. They foresaw the potential for an intelligent species, gave a jump start, and left some things behind, just in case it came to pass.

One of those was the monolith on the moon. It was intended to send a beacon to Jupiter, where a human would be given power over his people, and an explanation of what had to happen. But that wouldn't happen until humanity got there, provijng a certain level of technological advancement and curiosity. Without the curiosity, if man was happy staying on earth, they had no problem with what humanity might do. Their concern was humanity leaving earth...

So, they needed an immortal human with the power and knowledge of a demigod. That was what Dave would become. The end of 2001 was Dave becoming the custodian of mankind, referred to as the Starchild. This would happen to no other human, and was not an indicator of mankind's evolution.

The reason why the custodian is necessary becomes clearer in 2061, the third book. He does what he was created to do in 2010, though the movie is even less clear on that than the book. 3001 explains the aliens and their monoliths, so ultimately everything does get explained, but the movies stop with 2010..

Lord Seth
2009-04-05, 03:20 AM
The behind the scenes reason is that in the original treatment he was supposed to meet some aliens, but the film ran over budget and niether Clarke or Kubrik were satisfied that any of the alien designs they had looked alien enough, so they just made up some wtf nonsense to go at the ending, which Clarke then had to make sense of in the concurrently written novelisation.It's Neon Genesis Evangelion, almost 30 years before NGE aired!

I'll concur that 3001 was by far the worst of the series. I got so bored reading it I couldn't even finish it.

Muz
2009-04-06, 11:48 AM
I read 2001, 2010, and 2061 about 15 years ago, and liked the first two better than the 3rd. This thread tweaked my curiosity on 3001 (but not my resolve), so I Wikied it and read the plot synopsis.

Yeek. :smalleek:

BlueWizard
2009-04-08, 02:40 AM
Boo on wiki for cutting out the Book.

Hawriel
2009-04-10, 01:59 AM
2001 also had some of Clarke's short stories integrated into it. The monolith on the moon is one of them. It was put on the moon in order for humanity to find. It was a signal to the aliens that humanity reached a certain social and techknowlogical level. I think the origional short story was called the becon, but i might be wrong.

kamikasei
2009-04-10, 03:31 AM
I think the origional short story was called the becon, but i might be wrong.

The Sentinel.