"2001" is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well).
The Stanley Kubrick 2001 film was originally to have ended just as it had in the book, with Bowman discovering the third monolith on Saturn’s moon Japetus. This idea was scrapped, however, because the special effects crew was unable to make convincing-looking rings around Saturn.
Among Kubrick’s notable innovations in cinematography are his use of special effects, as in 2001, where he used both slit-scan photography and front-screen projection, which won Kubrick his only Oscar for special effects. Some reviewers have described and illustrated with video clips, Kubrick’s use of one-point perspective, which leads the viewer’s eye towards a central vanishing point. The technique relies on creating a complex visual symmetry using parallel lines in a scene which all converge on that single point, leading away from the viewer.
The handing out of rectangular trays here obviously represents the enlightened hostess informing her co-workers of the monoliths true meaning. This is the “epidemic” in action. Notice also that the hostess, who is about to eat, is sat before a widescreen window watching three men practice Karate. Is this a preparation for conflict? One of the pilots then comes up to the passenger area with a grin on his face and chats to Floyd. The dinner tray begins floating away like a wandering monolith and the pilot points it out for Floyd to grab hold of again. Strangely, the pilot appears to be played by the same actor who plays the photographer in the council meeting. Only the pilot has an official credit in the production even though the photographer is the one speaking a line of dialogue.
Originally, HAL was to be called Athena and have a female voice. According to Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Nigel Davenport and Martin Balsam were hired and later replaced before Douglas Rain finally landed the role of HAL. Davenport was actually on-set in England during filming, reading HAL’s lines off-camera so that Dullea and Gary Lockwood could react to them.
The famous centrifuge area of Discovery provides simulated gravity for the crew. However, the pod bay does not rotate, and is gravity-less. Poole and Bowman appear to walk normally there because they are wearing the same grip shoes as in other scenes in gravity-less parts of the ship.
The 2001: A Space Odyssey film originally opened with a ten-minute black-and-white opening sequence featuring interviews with actual scientists, including Freeman Dyson, discussing off-Earth life. Stanley Kubrick removed it after an early screening for MGM executives.
The entire centrifuge section of the Discovery spacecraft was constructed as a single set. It was designed to rotate for shots such as the sequence in which Frank went jogging so that the actor remained on the bottom.
“2001” is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon’s surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be.