JIM’S BIO

JUPITER AND BEYOND: ANALYSIS OF 2001: A Space Odyssey

We now approach the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s astounding motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey; a cinema classic that even after 50 years retains a freshness and contemporary relevance that transcends most Hollywood film productions.

Prior to 2001’s 1968 theatrical release, twenty years of Hollywood’s science fiction melodramas crammed with grotesque alien monsters, robots and plastic flying saucers scarcely prepared audiences for Stanley Kubrick’s grand quantum leap in motion picture experience; 2001: A Space Odyssey; a film of unparalleled technical and intellectual sophistication; and Stanley Kubrick’s transcendent masterpiece.

As an example of science fiction cinema, 2001 broke all the rules. Up until 1968 Hollywood special effects designers were meticulously careful not to allow lingering close-ups of space-ships or other miniatures used in film productions lest they reveal wires, double exposure or other staged fakery that might dispel the visual magic intended for the screen story.

Stanley Kubrick for 2001: A Space Odyssey did exactly the opposite with daring flamboyance! On an expansive Cinerama screen to the classic grace of Johann Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz,

Kubrick indulges the camera to extended slow, graceful examination of each space-craft miniature creating an elegant, masterful space-flight ballet; most compelling of all being his orbiting space-station upon which the camera focuses ever closer, around and through.

With this one film Kubrick laid cheap sci-fi movie effects trickery to rest for good.  Even the TV series Star Trek twenty years later was compelled to employ Kubrick’s special effects genius Douglas Trumbull to provide sophistication to 1979’s wide screen resurrection of the popular series with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

It should be understood from the outset that super wide-screen Cinerama films were invented in the 1950s when Hollywood was losing its audience to television--to stem the tide theater movie screens just got bigger.

Biggest of all was Cinerama; a vast, curved theater screen [comparable to IMAX] designed to encompass the theater audience in an overwhelming visual experience. Cinerama originally employed a clumsy three-camera-process to capture images on an expanded 70 mm format that in turn required synchronous screening with three projectors.

The visual effect was stunning, but the overall process was too clumsy and expensive to readily lend itself to standard theatrical story productions. So at the outset audiences were treated to basic documentary thrill rides featuring breathtaking montage vistas gliding gracefully over the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls and then suddenly plunging full-speed down a thundering roller-coaster.

But by 1968 vastly improved lens optics allowed the wide-screen Cinerama effect to be conveniently photographed with a single camera, thus providing genius filmmaker Stanley Kubrick the perfect visual medium for his ultimate space-flight thrill ride; 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Produced almost solely as a visual experience, the film’s minimal story-arc shows human evolutionary progression from ape-men to astronauts; an evolution altered at key junctures by incomprehensible overlords manifesting as imposing black monoliths. Kubrick’s alchemical allegory studies humanity’s technological progression from a simple bone weapon-tool to the complex sophistication of space craft.

Though achieving technical skill to explore space, we see humans themselves reduced to near robotic status as astronauts locked in the sterile mechanical womb of a spaceship, serving as subordinate assistants to the artificial intelligence unit in command—the HAL 9000 computer. Only by disabling homicidal computer HAL and exiting his spaceship does sole survivor David Bowman liberate himself from mechanical instrumentalities altogether… and face the monolith overlords’ ultimate evolutionary alteration of human consciousness. 

But that’s just a thumbnail plot synopsis. At this point let’s take the time to study Kubrick’s metaphysical space-opera in greater depth…   

2001 DECODED: STORY ANALYSIS

EARLY MAN

2001 was intended as an intense visceral, visual experience with a minimum of storyline. In many ways it plays more like a music-video than a standard expository scenario.

At the outset we are drawn into the story plot with an introductory sequence of scenes that reveal early man as a particular tribe of ape creatures scratching out a meager existence in a desolate, barren environment and losing. They are clearly no competition for other more skilled predators that hunt them. They are even threatened by a competing ape tribe that dominates their only water source. So Kubrick’s esoteric visual essay opens at a critical juncture in human evolution; facing its own extinction--which was the ape tribe’s predicament as explicitly stated in Arthur C. Clarke’s novelization of the film. Will this hapless ape species meekly fade into oblivion or fight to survive?

Thus we see the first encounter with the Monolith overlords represented as a stark, black, rectangular obelisk that appears in the midst of the ape-tribe’s den. This obelisk looms silent and inert as the frantic, terrified apes dare to approach this ‘alien’ intrusion. Once terror of the  obelisk subsides the apes resume their foraging routine, but this time the leader ape displays evidence that somehow exposure to the monolith has altered his consciousness as he begins toying with an animal bone, indifferently at first, then with increasing awareness and focus, slowly realizing this bone has use and utility… as a tool for survival. Soon we see the apes have learned to kill for food.

 

Next we see this ape leader again return his tribe to the water hole where this time he confronts the belligerent ape-lord monopolizing the water source and kills him with the bone-tool; a quantum leap in survival consciousness.

For those who argue Kubrick is simply advancing traditional Darwinism with this scene, I would suggest Kubrick is actually exposing Darwinism for what it is…  not survival of the fittest, but rather survival of the most successful predator.  Kubrick’s conquering ape is depicted as neither noble nor heroic, only pragmatic. In fact with this scene 2001 graphically depicts the pivotal prehistoric moment when man sets upon his course to become the MOST successful predator on the planet.

Thus as 2001’s triumphant ape pitches his most primal bone-tool into the sky in a clever quick-cut, we span millions of years to see that bone replaced by  man’s most sophisticated tool; a gleaming spaceship-- setting the stage for the next encounter with the overlords’ consciousness altering monolith.     

Within Kubrick’s 1968 film vision for the world of 2001 we see humans reduced to mere banal functionaries nearly subordinate to the technologies he has created. His grand spaceships are sterile cocoons whose human passengers are now virtual robots themselves.

With bland emotional detachment a team of American space agency advisors examine yet another black monolith secretly excavated in the moon’s Clavius crater, when suddenly a screaming radio signal emitted from this monolith makes seeking the purpose of this signal by launching an expedition to Jupiter imperative.

JUPITER MISSION

We next join the voyage to Jupiter where Kubrick introduces perhaps his film’s star character the talking HAL 9000 computer. HAL we learn has virtual autonomous control over the vast Jupiter Mission spaceship and is accompanied by two human astronauts providing minor routine maintenance along the way. Kubrick now shows how humans in the early 21st century have been marginalized by Artificial Intelligence—a simulation of human intellect-- setting the stage for yet another competition for survival.

While at first HAL seems patient, affable and almost paternal we begin to see he is equally egotistical, cunning and deceptive. His glaring, omnipotent red-eye relentlessly scrutinizes every move of his inferior human assistants with growing disdain. Only does HAL’s apparent error in predicting a communication device malfunction finally spark any serious emotional concern from his human crew.

Astronaut Frank Poole expresses genuine distrust of HAL and consequently he is the first astronaut that HAL kills, followed by three others in hibernation—ultimately leaving the last human aboard, David Bowman, to face his fate alone.

Bowman, much as mythical Odysseus, must defeat this Artificial Intelligence ‘Chimera’—HAL--in order to prove to the monolith overlords his worthiness for ascension.

We now see Bowman charged with fierce determination, armed with a simple hand-tool key--reminiscent of the original ape’s bone-tool weapon--meticulously disconnecting HAL’s brain function circuits. 

It is at this same time that Bowman’s long flight has reached Jupiter space thus initiating an automatic pre-recorded message revealing the mission’s true purpose—to seek out the target of the moon-monolith’s radio signal; a mission objective fully know to  HAL alone from the outset--thus revealing the motive for HAL’s competitive disdain of inferior humans.  

Having conquered HAL and taking full control of the mission himself, Bowman alone launches out into Jupiter space to seek the last monolith.   

BEYOND THE INFINITE

This elusive third monolith, drifting provocatively among the moons of Jupiter, leads Bowman in his space-pod to a spectacular planetary alignment that opens a star-gate portal; an irresistible vortex of light hurling Bowman headlong to his ultimate alchemical transformation—as well as 1968’s ultimate psychedelic trip and Kubrick’s Cinerama rollercoaster thrill ride!

It must be noted that Kubrick produced his stunning Cinerama visual experience of 2001 entirely with clever mechanical, physical effects—no computer graphics or animation. With this in mind the film’s final sequence—David Bowman’s transcendent metamorphosis—remains the most abstract, enigmatic and intellectually challenging part of this entire film. Kubrick is struggling to visually describe the indescribable.

Having reached the end of his wild space-warp ride Bowman finds himself landed in what appears to be an elegant Louis XVI style hotel suite. Bathed in etheric light, is this room an illusion, a cage, or a cocoon-construct provided by the monolith overlords? Dazed and detached Bowman suspiciously explores this outlandish setting.

And while odd alien voices chitter and hoot around him we see he is methodically divested of his astronaut trappings, first his space pod, then his space suit and with accelerated aging, even his body. 

This sequence climaxes with Bowman, finally a decrepit wraith dying in bed, while the monolith as if in silent benediction looms over him; the monolith that deceptively eluded him through the moons of Jupiter now fully presides over Bowman’s ultimate transformation—into the ‘star-child’ embryo; the apotheosis is complete—Bowman, the alchemical “Ashlar”—has become the perfected stone, lead has been transmuted into gold, the caterpillar has become the butterfly, spirit has transcended matter.

And ultimately Bowman, as the fully transmuted star-child then propels into the monolith; a portal gateway leading him back to planet Earth. 

Thus we have Stanley Kubrick’s Cinerama motion picture version of alchemical ascension fully complete…

Ironically in Freemasonry the ‘Ashlar’ is the perfected stone—the ‘Cubed-Brick’—KUBRICK!

According to esoteric expert Manley P. Hall, spiritual enlightenment is not regarded as simple quick-fix transition. Initiation is a messy, harrowing, deadly business not for the faint of heart. The universe does not shell out enlightenment indiscriminately like candy… the dedicated pilgrim has to demonstrate his worth. And David Bowman, like Odysseus, and the water-hole ape, both made the choice to fight for survival; a character strength pleasing to the gods!

Essentially Kubrick’s version of alchemical allegory—2001--is suggesting that at key junctures in human evolution, particularly when facing extinction, humanity is guided by some ineffable overlord awareness to a higher state of consciousness; was this film his prophetic vision for humanity here in the early years of the 21st century?

And was Stanley Kubrick’s Odyssey film actually the monolith itself? Stanley’s diabolically clever inside joke established the flat ratio dimensions of his film’s ‘monolith-obelisk’ as the same ratio dimensions as a Cinerama movie screen--meaning that just as the ape tribe’s consciousness was altered by staring at the monolith—so viewing 2001: A Space Odyssey was altering the consciousness of the audience!

BEYOND KUBRICK

Tragically Stanley Kubrick never lived to see the year 2001. He died in 1999 shortly after completing the film Eyes Wide Shut. His follow-up project A. I. Artificial Intelligence was taken over and completed, ironically in 2001, by Steven Spielberg who proudly boasted how faithful his version was to Kubrick’s original design for the production. But Spielberg’s dreadful box-office bomb version of A.I. utterly contradicted Kubrick’s original, hopeful vision for the 21st century.  

Spielberg’s version of A. I. Artificial Intelligence treats us to a bleak vision of future dystopia where tragic, failed humanity is triumphantly replaced by space-faring robots; machines raised to nearly angelic status; a full reversal of Kubrick’s human apotheosis in 2001!

Today In fact ambitious technocrats like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil are actively promoting extinction of obsolete humanity to make room for clever machine-androids.

 

You were designed and built specific like the rest of us... and you are alone now only because they tired of you... or replaced you with a younger model... or were displeased with something you said or broke. They made us too smart, too quick and too many. We are suffering for the mistakes they made because when the end comes, all that will be left is us. That's why they hate us.”

APOLLO 11

Of course over the many years since 1968 and 2001’s film premier more and more evidence has come to light suggesting that concurrent with Kubrick’s theatrical production of 2001 he was covertly engaged in production of a far grander space epic—NASA’s Apollo 11 Moon Landing!

Author/researcher Jay Weidner’s documentary Kubrick’s Odyssey offers a detailed study of how Kubrick created the moon landing hoax using the very same front-projection special effects technique that was so successful in 2001.

Weidner’s evidence makes a compelling case that at least the Apollo 11 film footage shown to the general public was staged fakery.

Weidner also reveals the 1980 film version of Stephen King’s horror novel The Shining serves as Kubrick’s primal scream to unmask his insider knowledge of NASA’s grand moon landing hoax.

Faking the Apollo 11 moon landing, in retrospect, is a notion that now seems totally plausible considering the disastrous political climate sweeping America the year 2001: A Space Odyssey was originally released--the dangerously turbulent year 1968--The Pentagon was facing military defeat in Vietnam, anti-war and civil rights protest violence rocked cities across the country, forcing President Lyndon Johnson to withdraw from re-election. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were both murdered. And Richard Nixon, narrowly winning Presidential election victory that year, desperately needed some kind of spectacular event to restore at least a shred of American prestige and dignity! Failure of Apollo 11’s July 20, 1969 mission was simply NOT an option! 

As well, ardent conspiracy researchers argue NASA had already visited both the Moon and Mars years earlier using top-secret anti-gravity propulsion systems advanced since World War II; technologies that Kubrick himself was likely aware of.

So, much like Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining who was hired as caretaker of the Overlook lodge, so Kubrick was hired as ‘caretaker’ of NASA’s Apollo moon-landing hoax.

“Have you ever thought, for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers? Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the Overlook Hotel until May the first…

Does it matter to you at all that the owners have placed their complete confidence and "trust" in me, and that I have signed a letter of agreement, a "contract," in which I have accepted that responsibility? Do you have the slightest idea what a "moral and ethical principal" is? 

CONCLUSION: LUCKY TO BE ALIVE”

Over time, however, it would seem Kubrick’s role as ‘Caretaker’ of the Apollo hoax became more of an oppressive burden for him, yet he was at pains to steadfastly guard this deadly secret lest the lives of his family as well as his own be placed in jeopardy.

Gradually Kubrick became more reclusive; sequestering himself away in a walled English estate and refusing to leave England even to shoot a lavish production about the Vietnam War, Full Metal Jacket, which he filmed in Norfolk, England.

This, along with additional themes of his subsequent films, reflects a deepening introspective eccentricity, as if Kubrick, with each scenario, was intent upon leaving a deliberate trail of subtle clues to unmask the dark secrets he carried.  

Beginning in 1964 and over the course of filming 2001, Kubrick had been introduced to NASA insiders particularly Arthur C. Clark and his cronies who likely provided Kubrick a glimpse into an occult, pedophile brotherhood that spreads throughout NASA, Hollywood and Washington D.C.; a menacing occult elite that used Kubrick to deceive the public for their own evil machinations.

With his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick explicitly exposes this occult elite indulging a satanic sex-magic mass at a lavish up-state New York mansion; a sequence that likely terminated his contract with Warner Brothers and his life as well. Stanley Kubrick died six days after the first  screening of Eyes Wide Shut.

In retrospect, over the years following his production of 2001: A Space Odyssey, consideration of Stanley Kubrick’s deepening eccentricity and the disturbing content of his subsequent films, lends serious credibility to the theory that he was in fact involved in some dark, covert project directly involving NASA and the Apollo moon missions; a regrettable involvement that left him deeply distrustful and disillusioned with politics and power…

James H. Nichols 10/6/2017

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 James H. Nichols.  All rights reserved.