Sunday, October 4, 2015

2001: A Cultural Odyssey

     2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie that has stood as a cultural expeiance for 40 years. It's wonderful cinematography and groundbreaking effects made it somthing that everyone should expeiance at least once, for better or worse, but it's not just this that makes it an incredible movie. Despite being twice as old as myself it has some very good physics. This coupled with its other amazing aspects made it a movie that I certainly enjoyed.

     Admittedly the movie does have some very hard to comprehend plot devices, such as screeching music, psychedelic landscapes and giant space babies. However, the artistic value of these is part of what makes the movie what it is. It's certainly not a movie for everyone, but the precedent it set for the sci-if genre is clear. After watching the movie you can see the myriad of pop culture references that are made about the movie and where many cultural works draw their inspiration. 

     2001 is unique in the sci-fi realm in that it's physics are actually quite good. For example, the space station, and their spaceship, create artificial gravity by rotating. This may sound silly at first glance, but the rotation creates a centripetal force that allows the astronauts to walk along the outer shell of the craft with ease. This force grows stronger as you move towards the interior of the rotation, hence why they float as the move through the central tube and stand and walk on the floor that lines the wall of the craft. Certainly this is an example how the movie gets its physics right.
      While 2001 does get a lot right in regard to physics, it certainly does get some things wrong. First off they walk around rather normally while they are on the moon while they are observing the not so moral monolith. The far lower gravity of the moon would allow them to walk around, however they would have had to bounce around like the Apollo Astronaughts. Secondly, pod bay would not have the same artificial gravity due to its position on the ship, upset they walked around normally despite this. While this could be the work of the mighty grip shoes, it's hard to tell as a space suit is also hanging in the background as though it is being acted on my gravity. 

     Overall I would give 2001: A Space Odyssey a 9/10. I loved the movie, but I think we can all agree the shear amount of off color vistas was painful to watch.