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2001: A Space Odyssey

Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Dale Minor, TLC
Director n/a
VHS, color, 51 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Film Studies, Literature, Science Fiction

Reviewed by Brad Eden, Ph.D., Head, Web and Digitization Services, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   

This video, narrated by William Shatner, examines the making of the 1968 feature film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and provides interesting research and information on the extensive collaboration between Arthur C. Clarke, the writer of the book, and Stanley Kubrick, the director of the film, in making the movie. Since this video was produced in 2001, it is an attempt to also examine the predictions that Clarke and Kubrick thought would or might happen in that year, and how close they both came to understanding where space travel would be by then.

The video is full of fascinating information on the relationship that Clarke and Kubrick had in making the movie. For instance, Clarke actually wrote the book while the film was being made, and Kubrick had an immense influence on Clarke's writing in the book. Clarke is interviewed in the video, and he states what a perfectionist and micromanager Kubrick was, and how difficult it was to write the book with Kubrick constantly trying to change vocabulary and meaning as the book progressed, while at the same time directing the film version. Various Clarke, Kubrick, and science fiction authorities are interviewed throughout the video, providing interesting commentary on their favorite scenes in the movie, as well as insights into the specific personalities of the creators of the film and the book.

There is some examination of current progress towards artificial intelligence, similar to the Hal 9000 machine in the movie: the Kizmat robot at MIT, as well as other robotic initiatives. The International Space Station effort is also discussed by experts, in a rather negative fashion in relation to the movie. Those interviewed in the video feel that the U.S. space program is no longer searching for adventure, and that the space station is basically a space hotel for rich people to visit. 2001: A Space Odyssey is highly recommended, especially for a whole new generation of young people who have probably never viewed the original 1968 movie in its entirety.