2001: A Space Odyssey
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One of the most important – and beloved – science-fiction films ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s epic ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, from a screenplay by Kubrick and sci-fi heavyweight Arthur C. Clarke, covers a wide range of the genre’s themes: space travel, the baseness of humanity, the failings of a utopian future, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life, the space-time continuum, time travel and the effects of relativity.
A large black monolith, millions of years old and clearly the product of non-human craftsmanship, is discovered buried on the surface of the Moon. To investigate the signal the monolith is sending out into space, the Discovery One spaceship is dispatched to Jupiter, its crew in hypersleep and the ship’s functions controlled by the HAL 9000 computer. When HAL begins to malfunction, the crew find themselves in peril and so begins a mind-bending journey through space and time.
The various spacecraft of ‘2001’ in many ways defined all cinematic spaceships that came after them. The hyper-modern service on board the space shuttle; the pristine white spaces of the international space station (branded by Hilton and featuring picturephone technology by Bell); the exterior construction of the Discovery One and its banks of beeping and flashing electronics: all of these elements are echoed in countless space travel films released since Kubrick’s 1968 tour de force.