OK, as to be expected, the visionary, prophet, and his own cameraman, Stanley (99 takes is never too much) Kubrick, fucked it up. You know, Stanley, the Huck Finn to Spielberg’s Tom Sawyer. 2001 is a Frankenstein murder mystery. In this case the good doctor is his own monster.
What’s up with the three scientists in cryo who don’t so much as cut a fart during the whole boring show. Why, you ask yourself, are these three sleeping clowns even there? Ha, to get killed, that’s why! So the computer with the monotone voice who knows much more than he says, can snuff ’em out and go on his merry way to Jupiter and beyond the infinite. There was a promise that never paid-off.
HAL 9000 was the hippy Moses to the psychedelic generation who gave the faithful ten minutes of flashing lights and called it enlightenment. Sure he did. Some bullshit about a Star Child. No papa, no mama, no seat at the adults table at Thanksgiving. Always with the kids, with a serenade by whinny cousin Wilmer about more gravy on his spuds. And who the hell added creamed spinach to the Holiday menu?
Oh, I know, lets add a big slab of black plastic to the set and call it philosophy! It’s the Monolihith. That’s Latin (as Ernest P. Worrell reminds us, is the language of your Caesars) . Mono, meaning pre-stereo, and Lilith, a hot babe from Babylon. She got the boys to build that stairway to heaven. Now there is a philosophical idea I could embrace.
Here is a reedited version for, Yes, 2001: A Space Oddity, involves many “disturbing” truths.
Dump the dialog from HAL and make it an unseen narrator who speaks for HAL (as a lying bastard) and, and the unseen narrator to explain the whole mess to all the mouth breathers in the audience (most of ’em, yo) .
So, you keep the part of the monkeys making friendly to the tapirs before they murder them all, adding them all to the holiday menu. This is not well known, but as part of Kubrick’s hands-on “method” directing style, he was one of the guys in the monkey suits. He took special delight in the slaughter and raw consumption of the friendly but foolish tapirs. What can I say? The man was a true artist. All in Gross Panaview 70mm+.
Then the arrival of the plastic slab and the monkey men’s response. Rather than just hear their squeals, burps, clicks and grunts, give the audience subtitles and give meaning to all those simian noises.
“What the fuck is this?”
“Beats hell out of me.”
“That’s not too god-damn hard. Any hole with no hair around it is a mystery to you”.
“You’re never gonna let me live that down, are you?”
Monkey Man #3 “I was still half asleep when I woke up and saw it. I looked deep into it and saw a tunnel full of lights ending in a room.”
Monkey Man #1 “What’s a room?”
Then a monkey man throws a bone up in the air and it morphs into a satellite, all to the tune of Cole Porter’s ‘Anything Goes’.
Cut all the footage of the Russians and the space station and the Skype call to the annoying kid and her birthday wish, which no one gives a shit about anyway. (Yeah, the kid wants a bush-baby. Give that kid a living thing like that? Why not just shoot it in the head and dump the body in the garbage and save the poor animal the torture?)
A brief shot of travel to the moon, and then the landing. Next then, they boys walk down to the black slab ,and the moon, the Earth and our friend the Sun, are all lined up like black billiard balls on velvet.
Boom! When the sunlight hits the photocell in the slab, the fun begins.
Cut to: the spaceship Discovery on her was to Jupiter, by Jove, for reasons no one understands.
V.O. A sardonic laugh. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” More laughter. (think Orson Welles)
Various shot of the interior of the spaceship, including the astronauts as they go about the business of the boring day.
“There is a killer on board this ship, and I, the Shadow, will ferret him out.”
From this point on some creative editing will make it appear astronaut Dave is the murderer of astronaut Frank. The unseen Shadow, who has clouded Dave’s mind to his presence, witness his crimes.
Dave attempts to escape via a prearranged wormhole provided by the black slab and his friends on, the Other Side (Blinky Light people of the sort to be seen in Interstellar) .
After a lackluster show of blinking lights, Dave is condemned to eternity in a Louis XVI studio apartment with room service but no TV. Talk about cruel and unusual.
Cut the Star Child. No one knows what the fuck that means, anyway. Not even, The Shadow.