What are some techniques used in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume you mean the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey and not the novel that came later by Arthur C. Clarke?  (This is one of the rare movies that is better, in my mind, than the book).

And by "techniques" I assume you mean film techniques?

  • The film focuses on the role of technology in the evolution of man.  Whereas the early technology of bones gave ape men weapons and the ability to defend water sources and eat meat, technology in the 21st Century have made us lazy: we have stopped evolving.  Aliens have placed three monoliths to help humans to stop being so dependent on technology.  The final monolith transforms man into a new species.
  • Kubrick is a master of sound.  He begins and ends the epic as a near-silent film.  There isn't a word spoken for the first 30 minutes.  Then, he launches into a classical score that mirrors the slow-moving life in space.  When he see the monoliths, we hear "Thus Spake Zarathustra," the film's most recognizable sound bite.  Then, the monoliths emit an eerie, choir-like chant and a piercing sound.
  • Kubrick uses many "jump cuts" to bridge pre-historic times to the present.  The most famous jump cut is when the ape throws the bone into the air and it becomes the space station orbiting the moon.
  • The most famous sequence is the Stargate passage.  It's a montage of psychedelic shapes, colors, and spacescapes.  Then, we find the final monolith in the Victorian room.  We have more jump cuts between Dave as an astronaut, an old man, and then reborn into the Star Child, orbiting toward earth without any technology.