2001: A Space Odyssey

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Director: Stanley Kubrick

Year: 1968

Length: 2h 41m

Genre: Sci-Fi

I was unable to go to the CAAM Fest due to illness, so instead I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is amazing and has completely blown my mind. The special effects really shock me. I didn’t realize that the technology from 1968 had the capacity to create such realistic images that are also stylized and unique. Dave’s trip through the wormhole/stargate is beautiful and so unlike any recent or old sci-fi film I have seen. The space scenes are also very well crafted. I’m not sure if there were greenscreens yet in 1968, but whatever they used to create these images was extremely successful. The use of sound is what really impresses me, though. For the first 40 minutes of the film, there is no dialogue. The first few times that anyone travels through space, there is only non-diegetic sound. When Dave is outside of the spaceship and in the little pod, the only thing we hear is his breathing. These choices on Kubrick’s part are what really make the film stunning (at least for me).

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Although 2001: A Space Odyssey is an amazing movie, there is almost no diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, or class. Everyone who has a speaking role is a white, wealthy man, except for the HAL 9000, the robot that accompanies Dave and the others on their trip to Jupiter. Even though HAL is a robot, the crew members still address them with male pronouns. One scene in which this is really prominent is when the interview of the crew members and HAL is being broadcasted. The interviewers from back on Earth ask HAL some questions about the mission, then ask the crew members about HAL and other details of the mission. The interviewers and crew members refer to HAL with he/him/himself pronouns. This is most likely because HAL’s voice is deep, and the era in which this film was shot and produced was very sexist. Even so, I find it bizarre, and I have been noticing this trend of gendering robots in multiple places. I am currently taking a class called Science Fiction and the Politics of Imagination, and one of our units is about AIs and The Singularity. Some of the robots in the texts/films we have explored have clear genders, while others do not; despite certain robots not having a gender, they are gendered anyways, and usually with male pronouns. It’s just really strange to live in a society in which everything must have a (binary) gender, even things like robots or rocks which definitely do not understand the social construct that is gender.

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My art:

2001 space odyssey art

mediums: colored pencil, ink, & watercolor pen

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