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"My god, it's full of garbage."

The other night I happened to catch 2001: A Space Odyssey on
late-night cable. I first saw the movie when it came out at the movie
theaters in 1968, when somebody at my school thought that it would
be a good thing for our 7th grade class to go see it. And like most
people back then we were pretty much all blown away by it — even if
the ending did leave us scratching our heads. It wasn't until I read
Clarke's book version a while later that the meaning of the Starchild
and all of that finally sank in.

I didn't see the movie again for a while, not until sometime in the
70s. And I think I appreciated it more at that point. After that I
didn't see it across many years — I guess there's only so many times
I can watch even a classic movie.

So not seeing it since the 70s I was amazed at some of the things that
stood out to me now in 2009, things I had never noticed before. And of
course it was natural to make comparisons and contrasts — 1968 to
2001, 2001 to 2009.

So I thought that for this post I would just make a quick list of some
things that occurred to me the other night.

  • The first thing that occurred to me was how contemporary the
    computer graphics looked on the monitors. Perhaps too evolved for
    2001, but certainly not for 2009.
  • In terms of the shuttle, space station, and Jupiter craft Discovery
    we're not even close to anything like that in 2009. The space station
    we have now looks like a rat's cage compared to the one in the movie;
    and our shuttle program is virtually on it's last breath unless they
    can infuse some serious money into it. I have to say that it is
    depressing for me to look at all that and think that maybe we could
    have been there if we would have just had our shit together a little
    more.
  • It took the most recent viewing for me to finally realize just what
    an asshole Dr. Floyd is.
  • They did score with the idea of the notebook computer — you can
    see one of the scientists at Clavius base holding one at the excavation
    site. But there is a total absence of cell phones. For me at least,
    that was the biggest miss of the entire movie. The lack of cell phones
    just stood out like a big sore thumb.
  • As far as "hot stewardesses" goes, these days they are called flight
    attendants and are just as likely to be male as female.
  • There is no longer a Soviet Union. Something that in 1968 would
    have seemed inconceivable. As far as any of the rest of it, though, the
    movie still portrays politics as usual. Which is kind of interesting if
    you stop to think about it — technology evolves quickly, human nature
    doesn't seem to evolve at all. A concept that the ancient Greek historians
    would have appreciated.
  • When Bowman goes out in the Pod to fix the telemetry unit, he parks
    the Pod like half a mile from the antennae. Perhaps that's to keep the
    Pod from even possibly running into the antennae. But it seems that even
    in space it's hard to find a place to park. I think he could have parked
    closer even at my local Artfest.
  • The proportions of the monolith were the first three integers squared,
    1:4:9. These days it's more like 16:9 and as thin as possible. Every time
    I saw the monolith this time around I kept thinking of plasma televisions.

But I think the thing that struck me the most during the movie was simply
that it had been 41 years since I first saw it, 41 years of my life. And that
has been a strange journey in itself — no monolith required.



Pretty in pink: A Pan Am stewardess.


Hmmm. Must be Ikea.


What the hell is that thing?


"Of course I know what's happening on Clavius.
But you can go screw yourself."


It's still hard to get quality time away from
the kids.


Ah yes, those annoying hardware problems.


And we're still trying to figure things out.

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