Artists pay tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey at the half-century mark


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It feels so odd that it’s 50 years. I watched it for the first time only a few years ago and it still felt like a recent thing.


Ignoring the date, some parts are dated – but surprisingly little. I suspect having Arthur Clarke advising for at least the earlier stages of the planning had something to do with that. Some science fiction gets deeply involved with the toys, and other just deal with the people and the art. 2001 falls into the second category.


It had a slow opening, no massive number of theatres for opening weekend. I have the date somewhere for when it opened in Montreal. I have a scrapbook of space related stories, and there are things about 2001 in there. Not because I couldn’t tell fact from fiction, but because at the time the movie just seemed like an extension of what was happening in space. If nothing else, all those “artist’s renditions” of where NASA hoped to go blurred the lines.

I probably saw it as soon as it appeared here. There was a handbill or whatever that was handed out to the audience, though since I glued it into the scrapbook, I’ve lost the backside. It was a very anticipated movie, certainly for this eight year old. I did the math, and that future was well in the future, I’d be “old”, 41, and now 2001 is 17 years in the past.
It was a great film, all that music and just getting to the moon. It was an awful movie, I never understood the starchild stuff, and to me at the time none of that was as interesting as the technology shown. So when I watch it now, I go from the point where the ape throws the bone into the air, turning into a satellite, till the Discovery One expedition falls apart out near Jupiter. My mother paraphrased it, after leaving the movie dazed about the ending, she pointed to a nearby theatre and said “we should have gone to that”, a rerelease of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.

I guess I will watch it all for the fiftieth anniversary, and since I have 2010 on DVD too, I’ll watch them together.

It was a time when SF films were rare, so we all wanted to see them. But they were a different breed. Nine years later there were more SF releases, but not so many to skip some, so we waited for a film I knew nothing about, and of course it changed SF movies from being ideas to action films. They are a lot more popular, but not the same thing.


My father took me to see it in the theater when I was much too young. The light show at the end terrified me to the tune of a few weeks of bad dreams.


I saw it on opening day at the Summit Theater in Detroit in Cinerama no less. It was, and is, amazing.


And the only thing people remember about “2010” is the Apple IIc.


Adding “please” would have been nice. Even sentient, heuristically programmed algorithmic computers have feelings.


Yep. And per WIKI: Advisors included Marshall Spaceflight Center engineer Frederick I. Ordway III, who worked on the film for two years and I. J. Good, whom Kubrick consulted on supercomputers because of Good’s authorship of treatises such as “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine” and “Logic of Man and Machine”. Dr. Marvin Minsky, of MIT, was the main artificial intelligence adviser for the film.


I don’t see how an almost violently realized, mind and soul-bending depiction of a solitary frightened astronaut jarringly thrust inter-dimensionally across infinite distances and immeasurable time could possibly frighten a little kid.

I really don’t.


This is one of the few sci-fi films that have aged well, both with the story, scenery, and effects (which, IIRC, were ground breaking at the time as well.)


I’m one of those who argues that you should not watch 2001: A Space Odyssey anywhere other than in the cinema. I don’t care how big you think your home tv (or even projector) is; it’s not a cinema screen. It’s hard to explain to folk how much of the impact is lost.
These days, it’s notable how many films are made with the understanding that more people will see them at home - or even on their phone! - than will ever see them projected, but there are still some that defy that and aim for the experience that 2001 gives.


… So, an 83" projected screen that takes up 2/3rds of the wall that it’s on with a decent stereo system isn’t good enough? (granted, I do need to track down a native 1080P projector once the 720P one I have burns out, but still…)


A lot of people can say a lot about Kubrick’s 2001. And have. It is this ongoing churn that is possibly the most intriguing part of it. Kubrick’s challenge to the world was it was unexplainable in general and only meaningful individually…a position he vocalized after the fact.

Many go straight to Clarke’s 2001 for answers. It fills in technical detail, but if it wasn’t the eclipsed fraternal twin of the film it would be another typical book from the author, unfamiliar to most.

Meta analysis starts early with Jerome Agel’s Making of 2001 (1970) …erp, no wait, meta analysis started on opening night 1968 with people emoting “WTF did I just see” on their way out of the theatre …that said, the next stop is Clarke’s own Lost World’s of 2001 (1972) — because even Mr. Clarke himself felt the need to explain 2001, and further moving him to write Rendezvous with Rama (1973) which explores the topic again: the cosmology and pecking order of life and contact in the universe. 2001 was just a variation on a key theme in Clarke’s work, notably Childhood’s End (1953), but even more so his short story opus (Jupiter Five (1953), Encounter at Dawn (1953), The Shining Ones (1962), The Trouble with the Natives (1951), Rescue Party (1946) , etc., etc., etc. …okay, and yes The Sentinal (1948) too). In fact once you read enough of Clarke’s early work you see a lot of it embedded in 2001. Deeper meta still, you find Clarke is channelling his acknowledged influence Olaf Stapeldon with his novels Last and First Men (1930) and Star Maker (1937).

Go the same meta route with Kubrick starting with the “about” books cited above and a slew of notable tomes written since…and Nietzche’s Zarathustra influence, and Homer’s Odysseus influence, and Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and the monolith shaped like the movie screen, and the talent poured into production by the aerospace, computing and appliance industries … and auteur polymath chess master lens-geek Kubrick fucking around with film trying to push it into another dimension …

TLDR; suffice it to say one returns to the film as the source of all this mystery. It’s meaningful and unexplained as art should be and anyone who pursues it by choice ultimately is on their own journey of which the film has become part of, and people who aren’t — which is most people — are on their own journey they’d like to talk about.

Me? Yes, in fact I will go well out of my way to see the remastered print shown in 70mm widescreen. Also, it should be illegal, or at least morally looked down upon, to view 2001 on screen small enough that you don’t have to move your head to see the entire image.


Yes. It was also one of the few (perhaps the only one) of the sci-fi films (at least of that era) that (in this case through Kubrick) made it a point of destroying all 2001 plans, documents, costumes, and props, and so that they couldn’t be used in other productions (as was the money-saving trend then). What slayed me though was how much better the sets in 2001 appeared than the ones in 2010 (with it’s clearly crumby graphics).


I absolutely love that they simulated watching the news on flat tablets sitting on the tables as they ate, and now we actually have those very devices.


I think 2010 is a pretty good movie! It’s just no 2001.

What irks me is they changed the Chinese to the Russians to make it more topical and now it’s only made it more dated when you watch.




I was three when I saw it with my parents. The scene where Dave is floating through Hal’s core, pulling out modules frightened me the most. I had a palpable feeling of how alone he was at that point.