2001: Space Art

I just watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, mostly with the goal of better understanding nerd cultural references. I hadn’t realized until I looked at the DVD jacket that it was released way back in 1968, shortly before the first real-life moon landing in 1969.

I assume (and skim from wikipedia) that 2001 is legendary for its pioneering special effects (such as simulated zero-gravity environments and spaceship fly-bys) and the philosophical and scientific questions it raises. I’m not going to try to dispute its status as a work of genius. I remember enjoying the book version when I read it many years ago.

But of course, by this point in history, artificial intelligence has been thoroughly discussed, and the astronomical cost of space travel makes the lavish and enormous spacecraft in the movie seem absurd (for example, the jupiter-bound ship is way bigger than necessary for supporting a mere six crew members).

And it seemed to me that the parts of the film which actually moved the plot forward could have been condensed down to about 15 minutes. The rest is better interpreted as space art, to be enjoyed at leisure in a gallery while pondering the nature of humanity.

All of this is to say that I found the movie to be extraordinarily boring.

But at least I’m one step closer to understanding what the heck my co-workers are talking about…

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