The film 2001: A Space Odyssey is divided into three sections:
1) The Dawn of Man
2) Jupiter Mission
3) Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.
That is it. Just Three sections. Yet many people mistakenly write that it is in FOUR sections, with the second section not named. This from the prestigious WikiPedia:
“The film consists of four major sections, all of which, except the second, are introduced by superimposed titles.”
Wrong. Totally wrong.
There IS a title introducing the “second” section, but that section is not what they assume it is. The second section is clearly labeled Jupiter Mission. The lack of a title before the moon travel sections INDICATES that this is NOT a new section. Despite the machinery and space ships, this is STILL the Dawn of Man. This is why Kubrick makes his stunning leap ahead in time from the apes right to the modern humans. Do you see it? It is crystal clear. So, why do so many people make the false assumption that there is a second section immediately after the Dawn of Man but before the Jupiter Mission? Why do they insist it is an unnamed section AFTER the Dawn of Man? Does it offend them to think that even here in the 21st Century mankind is still primitive? Still in our dawn?
About that flight to the moon let me say it loud and clear: THAT IS NOT A SECOND SECTION. IT IS STILL THE DAWN OF MAN. Kubrick even WRITES IT OUT for people and they still miss it. The section with the apes and the scenes showing the human on his trip to the moon ARE BOTH HAPPENING IN THE DAWN OF MAN. The whole point of the jump-cut from the ape-men to the space shots is that WE ARE IN THE SAME PLACE. We are STILL the same creatures… The time between the two ages means nothing. It is the most brilliant cut in cinema history (so important that I won’t use the word “movie.” You can’t get more important than that.) Shots in the moon section confirm this, because they so richly echo the ape scenes – including the scene of the two rival “tribes” (American, Russian) in conflict over the watering hole as they drink. Can it be any more clear? We are still the same apes, despite the veneer. Look at the moon flight part again and you will see several echoes of the ape scenes. Many are quite funny!
Want further proof? Look at the world around you today. Can you see why Clarke and Kubrick say despite our feelings of modernity and superiority that we are STILL in the Dawn of Man even though it is the 21st Century? Do we seem all that civilized to you? Can you see why the writers/filmmaker show that the Dawn of Man covers a period of millennia?
It is simply a baseless assumption to say the film unfolds in 4 parts, with the second unnamed.
Folks, we are STILL living in the Dawn of Man.
And we will be judged harshly for it by history, should there even BE a future for humans.
Check out my books at MOJO BROS PUBLISHING for more on life and civilization. You will found many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore… I especially recommend my new book/CD on reading the Tarot!