The start of the film shows black apes, all played by actors, and their 'daily life' in the semi-desert. The scenes were done very well and it seemed as though the apes were real with the aggression that actors showed. But the fates of the apes changed, and so did their daily life, when a big, black cuboid - monolith - appeared, influencing an ape to use its intelligence and pick up a bone, thus creating the first tool.
The scenery changes once the ape throws the bone into the air, portraying the development of human intelligence, and technology reaching space.
The introduction of space was done very slowly, using Johann's Strauss' waltz “Blue Danube": an elegant but dramatic, paced out piece. For a lot of the viewers, scenes like these, fulfilled with music, were too long and boring. However, Robert Ebert shows a different aspect: "We are asked in the scene to contemplate the process, to stand in space and watch. We know the music. It proceeds as it must. And so, through a peculiar logic, the space hardware moves slowly because it's keeping the tempo of the waltz. At the same time, there is an exaltation in the music that helps us feel the majesty of the process." So, the opinions of the stretched-out scenes, that could take up more than 15 minutes of the film, are very diverse. While the scenes were being stretched out, the ship designs and details were shown, giving the viewer a lot of time to see the amazing work that the designing team did. On the base, where the character Dr Floyd was introduced, both the exterior and interior was designed really well, showing what the future would've looked like with a very modern interpretation.
One thing that the film was lacking was the good quality acting skills from a lot of the actors. On the base, the dialogues that Dr Floyd (played by William Sylvester) had were very awkward, and at first, it was acceptable because the people Dr Floyd was talking to - were strangers. Later, in a meeting that Floyd had attended, the awkwardness was even worse and the atmosphere felt empty, giving off a cringy feeling and vibe. As the film progressed, showing different characters (astronauts Frank Pooles, David Bowman and HAL 9000 - a special computer that accompanied them on their mission), the dialogue only really came from HAL 9000 and since it was a computer, it didn't sound very awkward since robotic pauses sound a lot better on a machine. One of the least awkward acting scenes, compared to all the others, was when Poole's parents (acted by Alan Gifford and Ann Gillis) sent him a video recording of them congratulating him on his birthday. The chemistry that they showed, plus the smaller pauses between phrases, was a lot better than how most actors acted in this film.
The main antagonist of film was HAL 9000. The way that the viewers found out about HAL being the antagonist was when Bowman and Pooles slowly started to distrust HAL 9000, doubting the functions of what it was programmed to do. They then created a scheme to shut down HAL, but the computer found out, and did something unspeakable to one of the crew members.
The distrust between humans and computers, and especially the actions that HAL 9000 did after it realised the mistrust Bowman and Pooles conveyed, shows how two sided the human race can be. It can create shockingly stupendous technology causing revolutions, and yet, also be the cause of catastrophic things with small miss calculations, that lead to bigger problems and losses.
Or, instead of just looking at the losses, we can interpret this as an endless cycle of realising mistakes and constantly making them better. Death isn't necessarily scary, it's the aftermath that is scarier. Humans would probably do anything to create a better society. The Star Child portrays the reincarnation of problems that humans face with their development. The phrase "You win some, you lose some" is actually a great example of what happens in life. Terrible accidents happen because of the miscalculations and mistakes of humans, they learn from their mistakes and try to never do those specific things again, only trying them with a different approach. Then, another problem comes along, something happens, humans learn from it, propose another idea, try it out and the cycle continues. Whether the cycle each time is the exact same or not is hard to tell, because we can't see the future of our lives. But Pooles did, with very smooth scene switches that made the viewer feel as though Pooles was in a loophole, that, the way the camera showed him age, he was in a cycle – a perpetual one.