Shane Reiner-Roth

Selections from a critique of 2001: A Space Odyssey

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“18 months ago, the first evidence of intelligent life off the Earth was discovered. It was buried beneath the lunar surface near the crater, Taiko. Except for a single, very powerful, radio emission aimed at Jupiter, the four million year old black monolith was completely inert. It’s orgin and purpose, still a total mystery.”

– Haywood Floyd

Throughout the movie, the monolith, in the presence of conscious creatures, is always treated with care and concern. In the first scene (The Dawn of Man), the apes observe it with astonishingly little procedure. It is clear to see why it would be the subject and concern for these primates; never in their environment or history has there been a straight line, let alone a right angle or a rectangular prism.

Critics call the apes’ response ‘innovation’ much too quickly: what the audience then witnesses is the discovery of a comparably more effective means of destruction. In this instance, we equate innovation and destruction without hesitating. For the purposes of this critique, I will consider their following response ‘destructive.’

It’s funny that the rest of the movie does not take place on Earth, potentially a suggestion that we have evolved too far in our means of destruction, and must now rely on our advancements in innovation.

The next time the monolith is discovered, this time on the Moon (in the scene TMA-1), it is the surprising subject of a modernized,  archaeological excavation. Where, in The Dawn of Man it is resting perfectly still in an unscathed desert, in TMA-1 it is surrounded by destruction, its own prophecy.



Written by differance

December 24, 2010 at 10:23 AM

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