Thefocus of this essay is the 1968 movie called, 2001:A Space Odyssey.The film was created by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Clarke. The filmwas so well produced that up to now, it still ranks as one of themost influential motion pictures of all time (Caracciolo,2015).The plot of the movie begins with the early humans that resided inthe plains of Africa. Two ape-like tribes were competing for the samewatering hole. One of the creatures discovers a gigantic monoliththat somehow provides them an ability to use a club for hunting aswell as a weapon. The scene then changes to thousands of years laterat a time where humanity has completely mastered space travelincluding other technologies such as artificial intelligence andcryogenic hibernation (Caracciolo,2015).Scientists discover another monolith on the moon. When they reachedthe monument, it pinged a high pitched radio signal that was directedat Planet Jupiter. Two pilots, Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole,are tasked with transporting three hibernated scientist to Jupiter tofind the destination of the signal (Caracciolo,2015).On board the spacecraft there is a computer that assists with thenavigation and control of life support systems. The machine is highlyintelligent and is called HAL 9000. During the journey, theartificial intelligence seemed reluctant to complete the mission andkilled four out of the five crew members. Bowman eventually gainscontrol over the computer just before he gets to Jupiter. At theplanet, he sees another monolith that was orbiting it. As heapproaches the structure, he is rapidly transported through vastexpanses of the universe. He wakes up in a room to see anothermonolith that transforms his nature into a “star child”(Caracciolo,2015).
ThesisStatement:The essay evaluates the film 2001:A Space Odysseyand assesses the various scientific aspects that were depicted in themovie.
Themain characteristic of the film that stands out is its accuracy.Kubrick decided to create a science fiction movie just after theGolden Age of sci-fi was coming to an end. He chose not to follow thetraditional approach whereby films based on astronomy had many falsemisconceptions (Schneider,2016).Other films that were released during that period such as StarWarswere not concerned with any scientific truths. Those kinds of movieswere, subsequently, dubbed as fantasy. Kubrick wanted to create ascience-based film that will not only entertain, but also provideaccurate information. The first scientific fact that is noted in themovie is the silence of space. Since space is a vacuum, sound wavescannot be transmitted (Schneider,2016).The space voyage from earth’s atmosphere to Jupiter illustratedthis fact since no sounds were emitted when someone was outside thespacecraft. Other realities include the time it took to reach Jupiterand how they managed to save on resources by hibernating the threescientists (Schneider,2016).
Theother scientific element shown in the film is how technology makeshuman beings passive (Carr, 2015). People had developed tools andadvanced technology to solve many different tasks. The pod that wason the spacecraft had robotic arms that were capable of carryingobjects hundreds of times heavier than what humans could lift. At thebeginning of the film, space travel was made to appear as such amundane activity that people are travelling from the space station tothe moon were oblivious to their surroundings. The awe andmesmerisation that should be upon anyone making such a voyage wasabsent (Carr, 2015). The movie, therefore, shows that ascivilisations continue to improve on their technology, they start tolose interest in their environment. Proof of this theory is evidentin the current age whereby smartphones have ruined personalrelationships. People are always on their phones, and many preferchatting online to physically communicating with those around them(Carr, 2015). The film also shows that technology can be evil. At thestart of the movie, the first tool that was discovered was used fordestructive purposes. Towards the end of the film, it was clear thatartificial intelligence was likely to destroy human beings withoutany sense of remorse (Caracciolo,2015).
Thefilm tried to show the position of human beings in the entire cosmosand the probability of a higher power. As the movie begun, it wasclear that there was the existence of a far more intelligent speciesthat helped mankind progress technologically (Schneider,2016).The first tool was made available once the early human gazed upon theartificial relic left behind by the intelligent species. Within a fewmillenniums, technology had evolved to the point where space travelwas easy. The monoliths were left strategically in stages ofprogress. The intelligent species wanted to transform humanity fromtheir current material state to a state of immateriality. Thus,Bowman completed all of the tests and eventually he was changed intoa different being known as a star child (Schneider,2016).
2001:A Space Odyssey isa film that was created to mystify its audience while being asaccurate as possible to scientific truths. The makers of the movieensured that every scientific aspect was as accurate as possiblebased on the information available at that time. Various scientificelements are noted. The first is that technology makes people passiveand indifferent to their surroundings. Thus, everyone should becautious when operating new technology to ensure that they do notlose their humanity. The film also warns of possible dangers thatmight result from technological advancements. Finally, 2001:A Space Odysseymakes people ask themselves whether they are alone in the universe orthere might be other alien civilisations millions of light years awayfrom earth.
Caracciolo,M. (2015). Bones in Outer Space: Narrative and the Cosmos in 2001: ASpace Odyssey and Its Remediations. Image& Narrative, 16(3),73-89.
Carr,N. (2015). Is Google making us stupid? What the Internet is doing toour brains. TheComposition of Everyday Life, Concise,355.
Schneider,S. (Ed.). (2016). Sciencefiction and philosophy: from time travel to superintelligence.John Wiley & Sons.