AFI Top 100: No. 15 2001: A Space Odyssey


The end of this film… WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?!

Alright so I truly enjoyed the first three “acts” of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The adaptation of knowledge in the ape scene is fascinating to watch. Kubrick did a nice job showing how the implementation of one object, such as a bone as a weapon, can completely transform a fearful yet peaceful society into a bloodthirsty yet no longer starving one. Technology can be both beneficial and detrimental to society and the apes were the perfect metaphor for this. One of the professor’s for the think tank I work for actually used this scene in a presentation to prove this point.

Tense foreign relations, government conspiracies and work/home balance are touched upon in the second segment. Of all the acts, this seemed the most relatable to today (minus the whole space travel). Foreign relations are, and will likely always be, tense. There will forever be conspiracy theories and government cover-ups over stuff they don’t want you to know. And finally the work/balance is one of those side-effects of technology… Beneficial because you can communicate, detrimental because it forces you to rarely leave work.

And then we get to Hal, the epitome of technology gone wrong. Showing more emotion than any of the humans, in a fit of despair and jealousy Hal managed to kill four people in an attempt to save his own skin… err bytes. More so than the bone and the apes, this demonstrated the threat of relying too much on technology. I guess I better be more careful with Siri and Google Maps.

The last segment I couldn’t tell you what to make of it, other than I was reminded of that freaky boat tour on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

I would be remise if I talked about this movie without mentioning the music. The score was lovely and helped promote the movie as a work of art.

It is obvious that 2001: A Space Odyssey significantly influenced sci-fi classics and today’s technology. Many of the structures and devices in Star Wars resemble ones shown in this film. They even had an iPad… and Siri even replies similarly to Hal.

That being said, I’m not sure if I fully enjoyed this movie. There were times it was a bit dull and the scenes just took long. I get that it’s supposed highlight the mundane life of space travel but the movie could have easily been 40 minutes shorter… But I do not believe that Kubrick’s intention for the audience is to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. Rather, he wants the audience to finish his movies and think long and hard about its meaning. One cannot undermine the influence his movies have on our culture and he is in many ways well beyond his time. My longest posts tend to be about his movies because regardless of whether or not I enjoyed the film, I find myself thinking about them long after the fact…

Next Up: No. 14 Psycho (another Hitchcock, YES!)


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