Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The most profound, most prophetic moment in “2001: A Space Odyssey"

By Lars Trodson
There is just one scene in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" that truly, profoundly prophesied how technology would impact human behavior in the 21st century.
It comes during the “Jupiter Mission: 18 Months Later” sequence: 
Two men, sitting two feet from each other, simultaneously watch the same BBC broadcast, on two different screens.

Astronauts Poole and Bowman are engrossed in the same tasks — watching the news and eating dinner — but it is no way a communal moment. They are not sharing the experience. They don’t talk to each other. They are the only two people awake in a vast ocean pf space, but they might as well be in different galaxies.
Jump cut to 2018 and picture the same scene: two people, seated at the same table, eating their dinner in silence, scrolling through the SM feeds on their handhelds, probably looking at images of themselves — just as Poole and Bowman are doing: looking at themselves.
There is nothing else in "2001" that Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke got so profoundly correct. Looking at it today, it's a devastating moment.

Almost nothing else in Kubrick's film has come to pass in the 50 years since its release, but that's not for the lack of trying. It's an observation that has no impact on the value of the film.
Kubrick and Clarke were so scrupulous and meticulous in their research that reading the history of the making of “2001” sometimes reads like a huge, secret government project rather than the background for a movie.
But that audaciousness, and craftmanship, also render “2001” the least dated of all science-fiction films. Even fifty years after its release — almost to the day — the images and symbols found within Kubrick's film still feel fresh; its two-plus hours continue to thrum with riddles, enigmas, and exciting possibilities.