Evolution & the Space Cadet!
2001 starts at the dawn of time, where we follow a tribe of pre-human apes who have a tough time getting food, between the tapers and the other gangs of apes wandering around, scaring them out of their waterhole, etc. Reminds me of high school.
Ah but with the touch of the mysterious Monolith, they gain the knowledge to kill, to use tools and beat up on the apes who want their watering hole. And with a toss of a bone, we segue to..... a Pan-American shuttle, bound for the Hilton Space Station and the Moon.
Clever innuendos and interesting items of what the future (as seen from 1968) will bring, such as freeze-dried food, zero gravity toilets and sure-grip shoes. And Pac Bell will charge your calls to Earth on your credit card.
Dr. Hayward Ford is bound for the Moon to brief the crew there about the necessity of a cover story to disguise what has been found there: a Monolith that was buried deep for four million years. I suppose when Man's technology was high enough to detect the magnetic radiation, he would be ready for his next step in evolution.
It is funny how the astronauts gather around the Monolith for a photo, before the Monolith makes clear it does NOT like to get its picture taken~
The rest of the film revolves around the HAL 9000 computer and its Frankenstein-like ways. Starring Keir Dullea as Dave Bowman (our future Star Child) and Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood, also known for his earlier Star Trek appearance).
The last 20 minutes of the film involve the Monolith: the journey Dave takes through a trippy color scheme, odd purple-colored landscapes and oddest of all -- a white living-room, dazzling white, as he sees himself evolve, and get progressively older and older and then the climax, pretty heady stuff.
The awesome Strauss music is great to behold; the mysterious choir that seems to follow the Monolith around everywhere, and of course Stan Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke create a bit of cinematic magic -- and without explosions or CGI (which wasn't invented yet, but I digress).