Summary of “”2001: A Space Odyssey”: What It Means, and How It Was Made”

Fifty years ago this spring, Stanley Kubrick’s confounding sci-fi masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” had its premières across the country.
“2001” is a hundred and forty-two minutes, pared down from a hundred and sixty-one in a cut that Kubrick made after those disastrous premières.
In his initial letter to Clarke, a science-fiction writer, engineer, and shipwreck explorer living in Ceylon, Kubrick began with the modest-sounding goal of making “The proverbial ‘really good’ science-fiction movie.” Kubrick wanted his film to explore “The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life,” and what it would mean if we discovered it.
Kubrick had seen a Canadian educational film titled “Universe,” which rendered outer space by suspending inks and paints in vats of paint thinner and filming them with bright lighting at high frame rates.
Kubrick had seen exhibits at the 1964 World’s Fair, and pored over a magazine article titled “Home of the Future.” The lead production designer on the film, Tony Masters, noticed that the world of “2001” eventually became a distinct time and place, with the kind of coherent aesthetic that would merit a sweeping historical label, like “Georgian” or “Victorian.” “We designed a way to live,” he recalled, “Down to the last knife and fork.” By rendering a not-too-distant future, Kubrick set himself up for a test: thirty-three years later, his audiences would still be around to grade his predictions.
Olivier Mourgue’s red upholstered Djinn chairs, used on the “2001” set, became a design icon, and the high-end lofts and hotel lobbies of the year 2001 bent distinctly toward the aesthetic of Kubrick’s imagined space station.
The reason given for the films’ failures suggested the terms of their redemption: Kubrick was incapable of not making Kubrick films.
Inside these disparate but meticulously constructed worlds, Kubrick’s slightly malicious intelligence determined the outcomes of every apparently free choice his protagonists made.

The orginal article.