Thanks, Jason. I appreciate your affable response. I hope nothing came across as demeaning or attacking you as a writer. That certainly isn't how I meant it.
I meant to point one more element that, for me, ties the film up more closely with an optimistic progressive-evolutionary world view is illustrated in the second half of the movie: Here mankind (symbolized by Dave) overcomes its own creation (ie technology, which has in some ways become an equal) that made it initially superior to other creatures. You can't claim to have progressed if your own creation can overcome you. You must be better/stronger/smarter/superior. As HAL tries to kill all those on board the ship, Dave must overcome HAL, kill it, prove his superiority to it, and so he progresses toward this next step in mankind's greatness (achieve ubermensch/star-child status). If mankind would transcend mankind, then he must display a godlike status over his own creation, and not let it be equal to or master over him.
(I realize this long of a response could be interpreted as an angry, vehement rant. It's not. That is not the spirit in which I write this. There is no spite or anger here; just offering a different perspective which I think is more legitimate than what is offered in this article. If you don't agree, that's totally fine.)
When you talk about interpreting the ending of 2001, you're really talking about interpreting the meaning or intent of whole film.
If you read interviews with Kubrick from this time, he is very interested in film as a language. He felt that films up to that point hadn't even scratched the surface of what film could communicate. He hoped that 2001 would scratch a little deeper than anything that had come before it. The way I understand it is this: He felt we could communicate much deeper ideas with film if we tried, but we hadn't been taking advantage of the power of the medium to "speak" in terms that go deeper than what can be verbalized, cannot be encapsulated in "verbal roadmaps".
So when Kubrick is saying that the viewer is free to speculate about the film and that he won't spell things out for people in a verbal way. I don't think Kubrick was making a movie devoid of meaning, an empty box into which people can place their own meaning with no relation to what he intended. Kubrick has a meaning, and I would imagine that he wants people to "get it", but he's not going to explain it in a verbal way. That would be to dishonor his work as an artist. I think he's saying that film should be a non-verbal experience, and the totality of meaning one can find in that experience, if it is crafted rightly, transcends verbal explanation. Ingmar Bergman explained his films in this way, too. Sometimes we cannot quite put an experience into words, and we might only be able to put what we got out of an experience in terms of how it made us feel.
I think it's helpful to try to think about the film from the artist's point of view: Where was his mind at the time? What were his values? What was his world view?
At the time Kubrick made 2001, we hadn't yet landed on the moon. The space program was a very optimistic, aspirational effort in our society. From what I've read Kubrick admired astronauts and the space the space program, thinking of them as some of the ultimate expressions of mankind's greatness as a species. To Kubrick space travel is the perfect expression of mankind beginning to physically and perhaps metaphorically transcend our human-ness. The space program is one more step toward our becoming something evolutionarily greater than mankind.
Kubrick starts the film with the dawn of man, when, in his worldview, we tore ourselves from animal-ness and made the first gesture toward something greater. The dawn of mankind started with the development of the first piece of technology (perhaps using a bone as a weapon). (That famous cut between the bone and the satellite is so great because in an instant you've told the story of mankind, from a technological standpoint.) The film ends when we have achieved something that would reach beyond our human-ness, tear us away from human-ness, and bring us closer to something greater, perhaps moving toward that ultimate greatness (which he describes in that extensive quote about evolutionary possibilities of godlike beings who have transcended physical limitations, etc.).
From what I've understood and judging from his own works, Kubrick was totally into philosophy and thought very deeply himself. So looking at philosophy or philosophers that might have influenced his thinking is helpful, too. I'm not saying he was a nihilist, or is 100% aligned with Nietzsche; I don't know that. However, if you read Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, I think you'll find some parallels with some of Kubrick's own thinking about mankind, progress, some of his highest values. Nietzsche praises the men/women who are brave enough and strong enough to shed what has come before us (whether it's "outdated" morals or physical limitations, etc.), and reach for something greater, something greater-than-human. He calls these supermen (ubermensch). He praises those who would be great enough, courageous enough to reach forward, reach for the next step in evolution, for that greater version of what mankind can be.
With Kubrick's admiration for astronauts the space program, you can imagine him thinking of these folks as ubermensches. They are symbols of humans reaching for that great-than-human. (It could be a misinterpretation, but I find it interesting that the spacecraft Dave and the others travel in is basically a picture of a bridge spanning to points (the engine in the back and the fuselage at the front. The spaceship itself is a physical expression of reaching forward into space, into what is beyond.) And I think it's no coincidence that "Thus Spake Zarathustra" is the piece of music that plays during the bone-as-weapon scene and other key places where we witness a significant step in evolution, or see an expression of greatness (reaching the black obelisk at Jupiter, and Dave death and rebirth (mankind's transition into the ubermensch). These mark places where we see mankind (humankind) taking one more step toward the Greater-than-human. The star child at the end is Kubrick's umbermensch. He is floating above earth, having transcended mankind and become something greater.
If you read interviews with Arthur C Clark and Kubrick, you'll see those obelisks are not meaningless. They are "mile-markers", in a way, placed there by these godlike beings (the pinnacle of evolutionary potential). So they visit earth in some way, and they find these beings (the ape-man creatures) with potential for something greater. They place another marker on the moon, the assumption being that if these ape-men evolve enough, they'll be able to reach the moon and find this thing. When that obelisk is found, it sends a signal to the one orbiting Jupiter. If mankind is evolved enough, they should be able to reach that "mile-marker", too. Once Dave reaches that last mile-marker, he is pulled beyond Jupiter, and ostensibly held in this "zoo", an example of mankind, or perhaps the as an example of the first greater-than-human-being.
I agree that the film is a religious film in a sense. Kubrick is worshiping. His music choices communicate a feeling of worship, praise, honor, adoration. Perhaps you could say he is worshiping mankind and its achievements. Or at the very least, he is expressing his wonder at the magnificence of nature and what it has wrought; he is also expressing his admiration for what we are now, and ultimately his hope for what we might become.
This is not my favorite film, but I do admire it a great deal. I think it's a spectacular example of a person expressing his worldview, his greatest values, through the story of where he believes we came from and where he hopes we'll go. I like Kubrick's perspective on film language transcending language, so obviously it would not be in line with Kubrick's view of the film to then think that what I've expressed here encapsulates the film's meaning. It doesn't.
I think the interpretation (or lack thereof) of 2001 proposed in this article kind of does a disservice to the film. The way I read it (and I could be wrong or misunderstanding the main thrust of the article), the author seems to be interpreting 2001 as an empty Sci-fi box in which we are free to place whatever values and ideas we want. I understand what he is saying to be this: we've got these mysterious obelisks that ultimately don't have meaning, and Kubrick is saying that we need to stop trying to understand the meaning, but just create our own meaning, loving those around us. I can't think of any element in the film, visual or otherwise, that expresses this sentiment. (The only thing I can think of that would be fodder for this interpretation is the scene where Dr. Floyd talks to his daughter, and I think he is missing her birthday party (Frank, Dave's astronaut partner, also misses a birthday with family). It's possible you could interpret this scene as saying, "See they're missing their real lives around them in pursuit of the meaning of this obelisk, which they'll never understand. Kubrick is saying that, instead, they really need to spend their lives loving and enjoying the people around them." But I think if one interprets the film like, they eschew the main thrust of everything else in the film.)
It's a free country, and one is free to interpret 2001 that way, and any other piece of art for that matter. But (putting aside dadaism and experimental artists whose sole purpose is either to flout meaning or to say nothing and merely invite interpretation) I believe that that view of 2001 gets us no closer to understanding Kubrick's work (or other artists' works if we view them the same way) and honoring the fact that he (and they) actually meant something when he made it.
There is sort of a double mis-quote at the beginning of this: The original Lessons from the Screenplay says that some think Wes Anderson is a genius "subverting conventional film language while creating his own dialect".
The youtube video here quotes Lessons from the Screenplay as saying that Wes Anderson is a genius who "converts conventional film language into his own dialectic." Misquoted, but still could make sense if you think about it a certain way.
Then this article quotes that "Storytellers" video as saying that Wes Anderson is a genius who "converts conventional film language into his own diabetic". Gotta be an auto-correct mistake. I could be wrong, but I don't think film language is listed as one of the causes of diabetes, ha ha.
Not trying to be Mr. Grammar Police here. This comment is written with a spirit of good-natured ribbing. We all make mistakes. Just had to have a laugh.
I agree. I've accepted the shortcomings and quirks of their other cameras. But it would help general customer trust if they simply cleared the air about the whole issue.
The magenta issue was one of those things that they never really seemed to have admitted being a real issue. (But maybe I missed the press release.) They always blamed the lenses. Maybe I'm unaware of other camera companies having these issues, but I'd like to be shown where other cameras that have had this type of color issue based on which lenses and aperture a customer is using. I could pop any one of my lenses on any other camera I've ever owned (even other BM cameras) and would not have color issues.
When speaking with BM, it was almost like they were telling me, "The camera is fine; it's your lenses that you're choosing and the settings you're shooting. That's what's at fault." If that's the case, they ought to release a warning, and offer a list of suitable lighting situations and compatible lenses--just like they do the SD and C-Fast cards; and they ought to put an official disclaimer: "Camera works well in the following lighting situations with the following lenses. Otherwise we recommend that this camera is not for you." They actually told me, "Looks like this camera is not a good fit for you and your gear. Sorry." Incredible.
I had to repeatedly point out to them that their warranty states that they guarantee that their products will be free of defects; if they have defects BM is legally obligated to provide a refund or a replacement. Standard warranty law demands it, and their own warranty expressly promises that. And there was no way they could say this was anything but a defect. Nobody at BM was saying, "Yes! We finally got that blobby magenta artifact we've been going for and which has been missing from the market all these years!" . . . anyway, it's frustrating thinking about it. Glad I was able to wrestle a refund from them.
Can anyone confirm if Blackmagic has officially resolved its magenta vignetting issues for this Ursa Mini Pro--the sensor issue which appeared in the initial release of the Ursa Mini. I purchased an Ursa Mini after they had supposedly fixed the problem, but mine had the issue very prominently. I had to fight to return the camera. I love the image quality of Blackmagic cameras and especially that of the Ursa Mini sensor (aside from the magenta issue, obviously), but now I'm a bit gun shy with their products.