2001: A Space Odyssey (Film)

Influence

Influence on film

"Stanley Kubrick made the ultimate science fiction movie, and it is going to be very hard for someone to come along and make a better movie, as far as I'm concerned. On a technical level, it can be compared, but personally I think that '2001' is far superior."

—George Lucas, 1977[121]

The influence of 2001 on subsequent film-makers is considerable. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and others, including many special effects technicians, discuss the impact the film has had on them in a featurette entitled Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001, included in the 2007 DVD release of the film. Spielberg calls it his film generation's "big bang", while Lucas says it was "hugely inspirational", labeling Kubrick as "the filmmaker's filmmaker". Sydney Pollack refers to it as "groundbreaking", and William Friedkin states 2001 is "the grandfather of all such films". At the 2007 Venice film festival, director Ridley Scott stated he believed 2001 was the unbeatable film that in a sense killed the science fiction genre.[153] Similarly, film critic Michel Ciment in his essay "Odyssey of Stanley Kubrick" stated, "Kubrick has conceived a film which in one stroke has made the whole science fiction cinema obsolete."[154] Others, however, credit 2001 with opening up a market for films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, Blade Runner, and Contact; proving that big-budget "serious" science-fiction films can be commercially successful, and establishing the "sci-fi blockbuster" as a Hollywood staple.[155] Science magazine Discover‍ '​s blogger Stephen Cass, discussing the considerable impact of the film on subsequent science-fiction, writes that "the balletic spacecraft scenes set to sweeping classical music, the tarantula-soft tones of HAL 9000, and the ultimate alien artifact, the Monolith, have all become enduring cultural icons in their own right."[156] Video game director Hideo Kojima has also cited 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the chief influences for his Metal Gear series; Solid Snake and Otacon were inspired by Dave and Hal.[157]

Influence on media

One commentator has suggested that the image of the Star Child and Earth has contributed to the rise of the "whole earth" icon as a symbol of the unity of humanity. Writing in The Asia Pacific Journal Robert Jacobs traces the history of this icon from early cartoons and drawings of Earth to photographs of Earth from early space missions, to its historic appearance on the cover of The Whole Earth Catalog. Noting that images of the entire planet recur several times in A Space Odyssey, Jacobs writes

the most dramatic use of the icon was in the film's conclusion. In this scene ... Bowman is reborn as the Star Child ... depicted as a fetus floating in space in an amniotic sac. The Star Child turns to consider the Whole Earth floating in front of it, both glowing a bright blue-white. The two appear as newborn versions of Man and Earth, face-to-face, ready to be born into a future of unthinkable possibilities.[158]

Influence on technology and law

In August 2011, in response to Apple Inc.'s patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, the latter argued that Apple's iPad was effectively modeled on the visual tablets that appear aboard spaceship Discovery in the Space Odyssey film, which legally constitute "prior art". Legally, prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public in any form about an invention before a given date that might be relevant to the patent's claim of originality.[159]

"Siri", Apple's natural language voice control system for the iPhone 4S, features a reference to the film: it responds "I'm sorry I can't do that" when asked to "open the pod bay doors".[160]

Inspired by Clarke's visual tablet device, in 1994 a European Commission-funded R&D project code named "NewsPAD" developed and pilot tested a portable 'multimedia viewer' aiming for the realisation of an electronic multimedia 'newspaper' pointing the way to a future fully interactive and highly personalised information source. Involved partners were Acorn RISC Technologies UK, Archimedes GR, Carat FR, Ediciones Primera Plana ES, Instut Catala de Tecnologia ES, and TechMAPP UK.[161]


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