Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Caution: Robots Can Read Lips and Plot Against Your

I have seen the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" once before in my biology class and was in cinematic shock within the first few minutes. "2001: A Space Odyssey" follows the migration of these large, evolution-enhancing monoliths and how they effect human life. The film begins with a view of an Australopithecus looking tribe who encounter one of the monoliths, and after one ape-man touches the monolith, a discovery is made. The thought of using bones as tools, rather as war instruments, was put to use and eventualy created a violent split between the ape colony. The movie then moves the viewer millions of years into the future showing meraculoius depictions of satelites over earth, the moon landing, and documentation of goverment knoledge of alien life forms.
Fast Forward to 1991 were a group of astronauts plan to venture to the moon to find a 4,000,000,000 year old mololith code named "TMA-1". They believe that the piece of alien technology is still buried on the moon and they plan to unearth (I suppose I should say unmoon) it for it's technilogical potential. At this point of the movie I was both baffled about the lack of awesome technology we had in 1991 and impressed by the quality of the video phone call the Dr. makes to his daughter. For goodness sake it's 2011 and Skype still needs to get their act together. If a video call can occur without the audio or video mising in this movie during 1991, why can I not get through a 10 minute conversation on Skype without both of these things happening?

The voyage seems both succesful and breathtaking until HAL is installed. HAL is this super computer that has the capability to alter everything on the ship. Some of the crew becomes suspicious of the all-knowing robot and plot to decomision it. HAL silently desposes of some of the crew and Dr. David Bowman is forced to remove almost all oh HAL's memory. All of this really puts a stop to the search for the all powerfull giant dominoe until Bowman gets a strong radio emmision coming from Jupiter.
I will not proceed to tell you about the events happening after Dr. Bowman comes in contact with the TMA-1 (because witnessing the last 15 minutes of the movie could potentialy change your life), but I will say he becomes enlightened and reborn. A truly amazing depiction of space travel and human advancement, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a film that will having you questioning other forms of life, whether it be human, alien, or machine. So many things have either incorperated, inspired, or made fun of this movie. I believe many of science fiction movies drew a lot of inspiration from this film because it was ahead of it's time (the film being released in 1968). "The Simpsons" also did a hilarious "Tree House of Horror" parody where the family purchases a mechanized house maintenance system that has interchangeable voice options (though I would rather listen to a creepy mono tone robot than a Pierce Brosnan robot) and an insatiable lust for Marge. I also believe that the robot GLaDOS in the game "Portal" was devised after HAL, but that's just me. Anyway, take some time out of your high paced to day watch this landmark in film and don't forget to wear your moon boots.


  1. You managed to write a completely accurate summary of this movie! Bravo! It kind of amazes me that you got so much out of watching it. I must say, I do agree with your views on Skype versus the video calling in the movie. However, I must point out that the call in the movie costed whereas Skype is free! (Poor college student, what can I say?) Good job!

  2. Why thank you Kelly! And I guess I was taking Skype for granted a little bit. I can barely fund my laundry, let alone countless video calls. Thanks for the feedback :-)