2001: A Space Odyssey

A few million years ago, in Africa's Olduvai Gorge, our ancestors were starving, defenseless prey to predators, and on the verge of extinction. An advanced civilization from the stars (never shown) spots our potential and gives our brains a boost by means of a monolith. (Symbolic dimensions 1x4x9 --the squares of 1, 2 and 3) In 2001 a monolith is found buried on the moon. When sunlight hits it, it sends a radio message to a Jupiter monolith-relay, telling the aliens that we have arrived. A space craft is sent to Jupiter on a secret mission to check it out. One member of the crew is HAL -- a sentient, self-aware computer. Unfortunately HAL has been instructed to lie -- something contrary to his very nature. This drives him to desperate measures.

Revealing mistake: When we see the space station from the cockpit of the approaching shuttle, the station does not appear to rotate because the shuttle is rotating at the same speed. OK...except that the station IS still rotating with respect to the sun, which means that the light source and shadows on the station should be moving.

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Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

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Trivia: The leopard lying on a dead zebra was actually lying on a dead horse painted to look like a zebra. The cat wasn't too happy with that scene.

Larry Koehn
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Question: What was the ultimate destination of the Jupiter mission? The giant planet is made of gas, it has no solid surface to land on. Theoretically a spacecraft could land on one of Jupiter's moons, but they lie within the lethal radiation belt.

Answer: The ultimate goal was to orbit Jupiter to study the Monolith also in orbit around it.

Grumpy Scot

Answer: The objective of the Discovery (Jupiter) mission was to locate the recipient of the powerful radio signal that was transmitted from the Moon earlier in the movie. Interestingly, the destination of the Discovery mission changed between Jupiter to Saturn and back to Jupiter during the production of the film. The Jupiter visual effects had already been shot ("in the can" as it were) when Stanley Kubrick decided to change to Saturn. It was the protest of the visual effects team, who had already spent much time and money on the Jupiter effects, that convinced Kubrick to stay with Jupiter. In the meantime, author Arthur C. Clarke went ahead and changed the destination to Saturn in his written treatment of the movie.

Charles Austin Miller
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