|Movie still from Static Mass Emporium|
|Movie still from The Final Take|
|Popular Mechanics stills (above and right) from Retronaut|
More unrealistic still is the film’s depiction of the US’s outpost on the moon, called Clavius Base. At the moment, and despite NASA’s rhetoric about one day having one, the notion of any permanent base on the moon, never mind terraforming, seems ever more remote. Where the film is especially implausible, though, is the notion that by 2001 we would be able to send manned spaceships to Jupiter, suspending human life in cryogenics part of the way. Again, while NASA has mentioned vague plans one day of sending a manned mission to Mars, it seems pretty clear that it won’t be for a good while yet, what with the American Government unable to send a manned probe even back to the Moon, never mind any other planet in our solar system. And even with any planned trip to Mars, huge logistical quandaries in getting human life to the Red Planet – from mental through to physical issues (arising from long-term weightlessness), as well as radiation – would need to be overcome.
Indeed, looking back on the film now, it’s reminiscent of some of those amusing Popular Mechanics magazine articles (pictured above and right) from the 1950s, imagining the future as way more advanced than it’s actually turned out to be, from flying cars – which have been pretty much a staple of any film set in the future - to Buckminster Fuller’s floating communities, and onwards. That’s not to deny that sheer wonderment of the film, though, which brilliantly realises Arthur C. Clarke’s vision in the novel of the evolutionary progress of man as having been initiated by the alien’s ubiquitous, perfectly designed Monoliths (all famously with that precise ratio of 1:4:9).
|Movie still from Movie Photographs|
Blade Runner, released in 1982 but based on the book written by Philip K. Dick (as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) in the same year that 2001 was released in the cinema (1968), envisions some form of terraforming taking place on other planets (which we never see), but dispenses with any notions of extra-terrestrials (though keeps interesting metaphysical notions with its idea that androids could be ‘just as human’ as humans). Instead, BR remains extraordinary in its visionary film noir realization of Dick’s dystopian vision of Los Angeles in 2019, where the city has become a fire-breathing vision of Hades (below).
|Movie still from The Blog of Big Ideas|