I was very gratified to come across a fine essay by Jay Weidner on Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 remains one of my favorite films of all time, and Weidner offers some interesting insights into the meaning of Kubrick's work.
Like all great works of art, 2001 can be appreciated on many levels. On the surface, it's an interesting science fiction tale. Visually, it's a feast, with extraordinary images, meticulously composed scenes, and interesting effects. It has a glorious soundtrack. Delve beneath the surface, and the film becomes an exploration of human history, the effects of technology on society, and most interestingly to me, human evolution and transformation. It is this last aspect of the film, its portrayal of humanity's leap to the next phase in its evolution (as symbolized by the Starchild), that Weidner writes about from an alchemical perspective. One doesn't have to agree with Weidner's conclusions in order to come away from his analysis with a greater appreciation for Kubrick's genius.