I thought I was being particularly insightful when I told my husband a quarter of the way through 2001: A Space Odyssey that I noticed Kubrick seemed to be focusing on the eyes. However, it quickly became clear about mid-way through the movie that the focus on the eyes wasn’t a ‘hidden’ message, yet an overt theme and it didn’t take a film critic to notice. I first noticed the theme of eyes in the beginning of the movie, when the leopard attacked the apes and his eyes shone in the darkness, casting an eerie feeling. Then we see the orbital shape of an eyeball in the space craft that carries Heywood Floyd. The door that the aircraft attendant walks through when bringing the pilots lunch looks like a blinking eye. Then of course, we have the ‘eye’ of HAL, ominous and red. There is a focus on David’s eyes as orbits through space, clear and blue. Then we see a close up of the eye as he travels through time, changing from red and blue to green, then purple, blue, yellow and then back to David’s eye. David’s eye allows us to know it is him, even though he is now old and gray. Then again, we know it’s him as a fetus because of the shining eyes from within the womb. So what does all this use of the eyes and color tell us? I think there can be many interpretations, but I viewed the eye as symbolism for evolution. We start the movie seeing the apes and their evolutionary discovery of using tools and weapons and eventually standing upright. The movie then moves into the evolution of man, as we discover space travel and are able to create new, sophisticated technological tools that enable us to go places we’ve never dreamed of. However, the creation of this technology is also our downfall, as the technology we created outsmarts us and begins to override our programming and think on its own. The evolution comes full circle with the rebirth of man into space to lead to the next step of evolution. The eyes, being the window to the soul, show the commonality between each stage of evolution and ground us. Eyes represent the gateway into our soul, intelligence and morality…what better symbolism to represent the characters that link us all. Let’s also discuss the color symbolism…red symbolizes power and aggression and blue symbolize peace and tranquility. We see the eye change from red to blue and at times hold both red and blue at the same time, which I interpret to mean the range of emotions David feels as he is traveling through space. We see him start with a ‘red’ eye, as he is still full of anger at HAL killing Frank. Then we see blue seep in, showing either his depression as he processes this loss. The eye color then changes to green, which represents renewal, as he accepts the loss and decides to move on. The eye color is then purple, which represents transformation….his journey is transformative. At this point in his journey, he’s probably been traveling for years…giving him time to process these feelings and move on to this next stage. The color then changes again to blue…. then yellow…Yellow symbolizes joy and happiness. This is the last color prior to the eye changing back to his actual eye, then seeing his reflection as an old man. Just as life has gone through an evolution from ape to man to technology, David has gone through the evolution of grief…the loss of his friend, his life, his youth…What did you think? Do you have an alternate view of the meaning of the eyes and color?