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Chosen One of the Day: The giant space fetus at the end of 2001

Contributed by
Nov 17, 2017

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely considered a work of cinematic genius, and for good reason. It's a gorgeous movie with a great soundtrack that has stood the test of time, at least so far, in order to find itself in the canon of science fiction.

It's also full of metaphor and symbolism about creation, evolution, and the human condition. The monolith! HAL 9000! The … giant space baby?

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Seriously. If you haven't watched this movie (and I really don't blame you) then you might not be aware of how it ends, but … that is how it ends. With a wide, sweeping shot of outer space and a giant space fetus in a bubble, floating through the void and looking down on Earth.

Is it weird? Yes. Kinda terrifying? Hell yes. Is there a larger purpose to the metaphor of a giant space fetus floating through the ether waiting to be birthed onto the universe? Arguably, but after nearly three hours slogging through this portentous -- and, let's be honest, often pretentious -- movie I'm not entirely positive any human brain is capable of caring anymore. After all, it was probably at least 80% the result of a bad drug trip and everyone involved in the movie was just too afraid of Kubrick to say anything. This is, after all, a movie where the most ominous figure is a  giant black wall that haunts your nightmares, makes chimps murder each other and shows up when you're on your deathbed to … stare at you? This movie is weird, guys.

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It does, however, bring up a whole slew of questions that I cannot help but ask myself on a surprisingly frequent basis. How did it get there? Where are its parents? Will it hatch? Will it grow up to consume all existence in its giant, drooling space baby maw? Is the universe actually just the inside of a massive, pregnant space lady and the Earth actually just a kidney or something? ARE WE BACTERIA?

I'm sorry, I think I just had an existential crisis.