WTF happens at the end of 2001’s…

…1965 Original Script — Revised Draft? ; )

NARRATOR (con’t)

But despite their God-like powers,
they still watched over the
experiments their ancestors
had started so many generations

The companion of Saturn knew
nothing of this, as it orbited
in its no man’s land between Mimas
and the outer edge of rings.

It had only to remember and wait,
and to look forever Sunward with
its strange senses.

For many weeks, it had watched
the approaching ship. Its long-
dead makers had prepared it for
many things and this was one of
them. And it recognised what
was climbing starward from the

If it had been alive, it would have
felt excitement, but such an
emotion was irrelevant to its
great powers.

Even if the ship had passed it by,
it would not have known the
slightest trace of disappointment.

It had waited four million years;
it was prepared to wait for

Presently, it felt the gentle touch
of radiations, trying to probe its

Now, the ship was in orbit and it
began to speak, with prime
numbers from one to eleven,
over and over again.

Soon, these gave way to more
complex signals at many frequen-
cies, ultra-violet, infra-red,

The machine made no reply. It
had nothing to say.

Then it saw the first robot
probe, which descended and
hovered above the chasm.
Then, it dropped into darkness.

The great machine knew that this
tiny scout was reporting back to
its parent; but it was too simple,
too primative a device to detect
the forces that were gathering
round it now.

Then the pod came, carrying
life. The great machine searched
its memories.

The logic circuits made their
decision when the pod had fallen
beyond the last faint glow of the
reflected Saturnian light.

In a moment of time, too short to
be measured, space turned and
twisted upon itself.

Full script here.

That last sentence is where I’m confused.  As you may know, I love 2001 and the title was clearly clickbait.  Prior the passage above, the opening passage of evolution-through-violence is expanded upon, but largely follows the same story-arch with one very important exception: the monolith. in this case, it’s a cube, and at one point, randomly, it displays an image from the future of the hunters sleeping peacefully, and overweight, in a cave having eaten yet another incredible meal. there is focus on the spears and weaponry. then the cube ends.

everyone hasn’t developed (long-term) memory yet, so no one even remembers it happened.  but they dream about it, and fast-forward a year, and “Moonwatcher” (Moon, being key here), is the leader of a pack of early-humans that basically control everything. and yeah, in the film they are more apelike but in the script everything feels very human, even if it is said they are apelike.the rest of the movie is moreorless the same, until the ending.

the movie truly has a better flow, but there is some nice elaboration into just about everyone and everything. but the ending is basically different in that after bowman recovers order to the ship, we immediately cut to a normal-ship with a mission control transmission. we are now in a room with bowman and his superior, who shares with him a videotape, along with the knowledge of the mission; that hal was programmed, for the mission, to disobey his actual programming (which caused hal to both develop and suffer from neurotic fits, including the fear of being disconnected for the first time in his 10 year service history).

the ending of the script is a monologue that is overlain with the real-time passage of the discovery ship flying over to saturn, where another monolith is floating amongst the rings, a mile long, and as the ship approaches, the monologue gets crazy crazy deep. in a nutshell some form of not-human intelligent life existed millions of years ago and studied the universe as much as they could. they passed over all the gas planets, mars and made base camp on the moon. they studied and observed for a long time, then decided to tweak some evolutionary traits in all of the species so that the chance of a “MIND” would be created. i.e. they were coming along to help out as many species as possible evolve as fast as possible.

the mission, as explained by the videotape, was based around the discovery of life. it’s discovered that the buried monolith was sunlight-activated, and then the transmission eventually ends with a replay of bowman discovering the monolith (this time rectangular) on the moon, and it emitting shrieking noises. these noises are detectable on radar, by several earth-satellites in space, where it’s revealed they are directed to saturn.

as revealed by the opening monologue, the narrative is somewhat pessimistic / ‘scientific’, because as we saw, the early-humans were not experimented on. they were shown a vision of themselves in the future. this is important because it suggests that there might be some sort of loop, in which kubrick suggests we show ourselves our own future, a la interstellar. the only reason i say this is because the last line in the script is about time twisting and turning upon itself, just as the ship nears the monolith on saturn.

however, the monologue describes a very literal evolution of a not-human into something very intelligent, that invents a machine that ends up becoming more intelligent. after thousands of years of blissed-out machine-human harmony, humans accept the fact that they’ve been replaced, and feel good about their creation. then the machines end up doing the same thing, as they, themselves, realize a way to store information in quantum space; to float through anything at any level of scale, or speed off in any directly along particles of light. the deeper side of that, is that kubrick is literally proposing that the world around us could be filled with a very literal intelligence that we perceive to be “spiritual”.

regardless, this is explained, and then the monologue focuses back on the monolith on saturn, and how even though those early machines that existed during machine-only times (but not transcendental-only times), were only so involved. so when they were at earth and saturn, their technology was incredibly advanced, but not anywhere near the level to which they had advanced. but they still liked to watch over their forefather’s creations/experiments, out of genuine scientific pursuit.

so at the very end we have the ship approaching the somewhat-outdated monolith, floating amongst saturn’s rings. as it gets near, it blasts our radio waves in all forms to no affect. then there is a robotic probe sent down to investigate, which fails. it is only when the pod containing the mind and life of human (bowman), in which the monolith actually responds. think about this: earlier, the monolith only responded to sunlight (which was why it had been buried). in a similar sense, it needs some sort of power to active its million-year-dormancy — it’s bowman’s presence of mind that does the trick. the machine of the monolithic rectangle scans bowman’s memory.

or so it seems, because then bowman’s like ‘”im out”, and drives off once there is nothing else left to do, because it seems like the discovery couldn’t discover anything — and gave up (via:

The logic circuits made their
decision when the pod had fallen
beyond the last faint glow of the
reflected Saturnian light.)

So the pod, not the ship, but the pod is disappearing off… far off into the distance. then, and only then, has the somewhat-outdated monolith made its decision. and what is that decision??  what is the mystery behind the void?

In a moment of time, too short to
be measured, space turned and
twisted upon itself.

it could just be an ending statement, as if to say the entire events of the story unfold in such an infinitesimal space of time, compared to the script (and movie’s) theme of large passages of time and small, isolated moments of influence that spark evolution. it might just be saying that these events caused a self-awareness and stir amongst the stars, even if only briefly.

but what do you think happens at the end?

the hope in me, deep down, is that it has something to do with time loops and maybe even towards “you going back in time to help your own future” [a la interstellar], in which in this case, the monolith activates some sort of emergency protocol in which sets in motion the events of the beginning.

but i followed everything that happened in this script. it put things that weren’t so obvious into a proper context. the only time i felt a little confused was during the ending — an ending which obviously wasn’t used — but im still curious exactly what happened.

normally im very precise on my blog about my writing, but im letting go a bit for this one and just opening it up to y’all. this is my first and only draft — im sure there are errors — but i really wanna know what you think about this, because it’s all ive been thinking about since i read it.

Scorsese’s Inferno

ImageI’ve been on a scary movie binge, but this is one of the most terrifying films I’ve seen. There are clues throughout the film the same way there are deaths throughout a horror movie.  As things progress, we’re made aware who is really innocent.  In retrospect, how obvious everything is; how plainly it’s presented — it will chill you to the core.

The socialite society is a metaphor for how any power system functions.  There are leaders; there are black sheep; there are those whom are respected without being admired — and every single person believes themselves to be on their own path, isolated from the rest of the system.  Yet, it’s so obvious where everyone fits and how easily everyone can be placed into a niche.

Newland feels guilt for the entire film and the viewer is led to believe he’s malicious, when in-fact, his desire is the most innocent of all.  May is revealed to be the devil incarnate: never missing the bullseye; maliciously gossiping of others; being distant with her husband; passive-aggressively telling Newland (moreorless), “Oh, do say hi to Ellen for me.”  These are all signs placed within the film, advising both Newland and the viewer just what’s what.

There’s nothing hidden in this world more than how others perceive you, and it’s so easy to manipulate that which is oblivious.  May represents evil as a force; their society, the hellish glamor they are all bound to.  The “scarlet” room is red for a reason; the manors are isolated fortresses; it always seems to be winter — Newland has no escape.  The wedlock scene plays like Newland becoming aware he’s gravely ill: the room spins as all potential life rushes by; he is merely swept along.

The most violent Scorsese film, indeed.

Lyrical Analysis: “Bizness” by Tune-Yards

The lyrics are found here.  Here is the official music video:

“Don’t take my life away / Don’t take my life away”

The manner in which she sings this, rapidly and frantic, suggests that this song may work best if you take the lyrics on a literal level before analyzing interpretatively.  In the main chorus of the song, it sounds as if Garbus is describing a mugging.  From the opening line (“What’s the business?“) asking just what the hell is happening, to the realization that the mugger is moving closer (“From a distance“) finally to the attempt to try to empathize with her perpetrator (“I’m a victim!” / “I’m addicted!“) It all paints a very visual picture.  The intensity of this image obvious increases with every repeated plea (“Don’t take my life away!“).

WhoKill as an album seems to deal with similar subject matter upon the surface, and then on a deeper level one can interpret these things to act as metaphors for more intimate personal issues and insecurities expressed in song.  If you look at the opening verse in this same “Mugger” mindset, you can see how well it fits with just about every line.  The opening, in particular, makes much more sense on a surface level when analyzed from this perspective:

“If I represent the one that did this to you / Then can away the part that represents the thing that scarred you”

It seems to be an extended plea intended to be said to the mugger, only to be mentally pondered.  Muggers obviously don’t personalize or discriminate in terms of the individual; though if they are robbing you chances are you have a look of wealth or content.  She rationalizes, “If you are mugging me because I look like everything you aren’t and desire to be (in terms of wealth), then you need to get over whatever it is that personally traumatized you.”  Such a powerful, opening line.  Obviously, we are starting to see the deeper intentions of the song.

Immediately after this declaration of “Fix yourself before you hurt me”, she declares (“Get up / Stand up / Get on it!“) both the listener and herself to defend against the situation as to change the outcome (“I am no longer who you thought this one would be“).  A victim can be mugged, but a victim in self-defense is not such an easy target.

After this confidence boosting declaration, it’s revealed that she (as a victim) still ends up running into this mugger once more (“We end up around the mountain that I climb to lose you“) and despite how bold she was just moments before, meeting this mugger causes her to enter a state of shock (“Ask me, Tell me / but all my wisdom departed“).  Finally we enter in the main chorus, the confrontation, where all she can ask is “What the hell is going on / How did I get here / Don’t take my life away / I’m just like you!”

This entire time we have seen how simply the song reads in a literal manner, but it’s during the third verse where we start to realize that the song works much more beautifully on a symbolic level.  Regardless, finishing up the mugger theme, the victim in the song tries one final plea.  She states how “I’ll bleed if you ask me”, and we see how the mugger’s response is a simple “No” (“That’s when he said no“) before we enter back into the confrontational chorus once more.  I’d like to point out that the song ends asking the question “What’s the business?” repeatedly, as if Garbus is restating her disbelief of the entire situation.

Obviously, you can replace the whole Mugger / Victim theme with many concepts and interpretations, but what will remain consistent is the general narrative between the two parties.  If you go for the relationship-route, the song becomes a symbolic tale of frustration between two would-be lovers.  I see it as someone meeting someone who has been hurt in a prior relationship, so badly, that they see all of that heartbreak in every new person they meet, including the protagonist of the song.

This is very similar in subject matter to the song “Abducted” by Cults (I analyzed this here), the major difference is that Garbus is attempting a solution to the problem, whereas Cults focused on the sad cyclical nature of the whole thing.  The first verse then declares the protagonist of the song to be their own individual and not connected to any horrific past relationships.  The second verse reveals how the protagonist of the song does NOT enter into the relationship (“The mountain that I climb to lose you“), but ends up meeting this person again in life anyways (“We end up around the mountain“), this time demanding why things can’t work out (“Answer me this!“).  At the same time, there is a realization that no one wants to throw their time away with someone who is just going to hurt them (“Don’t take my life away“), so the protagonist is repeatedly asking in the chorus “What’s the business” — what hurt you before/are you ready for this/I don’t want to be hurt — before finally revealing she does fall in love (“I’m addicted yeah!“).

Writing this, I see a plethora of abstract and less direct ways (ex- an internal dialogue) of looking at this song from several perspectives, but the two general interpretations I’ve provided do indicate that the song is a song about frustration stemming from misunderstanding and miscommunication.  The protagonist attempts to overcome this (in whatever the medium is which the frustration is occurring, depending on personal interpretation), and in the end she finds herself addicted.  The real question, is to what?  To heartbreak?  To falling in love with those who are scarred?  The song’s brilliance lies in how many windows it can be seen through, and I hope my interpretation has provided some insight into whatever your personal interpretation of the song happens to be.

Lyrical Analysis: “Abducted” by Cults

The lyrics are found here.  Here is the official music video:

The music video for this song features a woman being abducted by a man, and then the man driving down a very long and winding road — constantly looking out the window the entire time.  The whole while, the woman is tied and trapped in the trunk of the car.  At the end of the video, he gets out the car, lets her out of the trunk, and allows himself to be tied up by her and eventually locked in the trunk.

The lyrics to this song focus upon a relationship where the woman is completely infatuated with the man upon first sight.  She realizes that this man is the best man she has ever been in a relationship with (“I knew right then no one was above him”).  The first three lines seem to infer to “I knew right then” as the moment/day/night she first met this man, but in the last line, “I knew right then that he would be breaking my heart“, she seems to be speaking from a later point in the relationship where she realizes that he is not in love with her like she is to him.

Unfortunately, she wants to stay with him regardless, because even though the love is not mutual, to her, he represents the closest thing to love she has ever felt (“He tore me apart because I really loved him“).  I love the next lines, “He took my heart(/it all) away and left me to bleed out, bleed out“, as it infers how she put her entire self transparently into the relationship, giving her heart to him, and the love was not returned in the manner she thought the situation would have indicated.

Then the song shifts to his perspective, this time again, the man does not seem to be speaking from the moment which they first met (“I knew right then that I’d never love her”).  He cannot control how in love someone is with him, he simply is not in love with her (“the reasons”) — and this likely became apparent when it was revealed to him how much she actually loved him.  He wishes her the best, realizing that the whole experience likely will cause her to never give herself that way to anyone ever again (“I hope the dream hasn’t left her scarred”).

This is where the video really comes full circle.  The vulnerability and emotion shown by the woman in the video really contrasts how stern and detached the male kidnapper comes across as.  That is, until the end, where the very thing the male voice in the song alludes to comes true — she becomes the cold and detached kidnapper, and now she will likely “kidnap” another’s heart in the same manner she was.  The cycle perpetuates, and we now can empathize with the male kidnapper, for it’s implied he was turned cold after opening himself to another, but then being rejected.  This song captures the emotion of the entire situation, and the video acts as a perfect visual allegory for the male and female characters within the song’s lyrics.