UAL – 2001: A Space Odyssey

Task 1: As you watch the film, note down how you would describe HAL

I noted HAL as being quite worried and protecting. He is worried because his mission orders and programming conflict with each other. This can be seen when he attempts to question Dave and Frank about their thoughts on the mission. When it comes to protecting, he is very concerned about protecting the mission, he kills the crew because he sees them as a threat and says to Dave that ‘The mission is too important to allow him to jeapordise it’

Task 2: What films does it remind me of and why

Terminator series, the red eyes of the robots are reminiscent of Hal’s red eye. The ship models used in the film contain a similar style and detailing as the ones seen in Star Wars. The various parodies of HAL seen in media, such as AUTO from WALL.E, SAL 3000 from Recess, Pierce Brosnan house from Simpsons Tree-house of Horror.

Task 3: Take screen grabs of the film and describe the themes present


This image is what I attribute to helping shape the idea of a ‘Space Opera’ in modern media. The dance between the shuttle and station helped to make Space Exploration seem relaxing, calming while also making it feel somewhat isolated.


This image helps show the ‘Man vs Machine’ aspect of the movie. with Dave’s face reflected in HAL’s glass eye. While the actual setting of this scene is not confrontational, but rather Dave showing HAL his art, it is still a sinister scene and helps tell the audience that things are about to go wrong.

Task 4: Place the following suggestions of the films main theme in order of importance

  1. A Visual Experience – (1)
  2. An attempt to predict what life will be like in the year 2001 – (5)
  3. The influence of extra-terrestrials on Human Evolution – (3)
  4. What could happen if Machines are given too much power – (4)
  5. A journey of Mankind towards self knowledge – (2)

Todorov Theory:

Todorov theory suggests that conventional narratives are structured in five stages;

  1. A State of Equilibrium at the outset
  2. A disruption of the equilibrium by some action
  3. A recognition that there has been a disruption
  4. An attempt to repair the disruption
  5. A reinstatement of the equilibrium

Try to plot the narrative of 2001: A Space Odyssey using Todorov’s theory:

2001 is an interesting film as it doesn’t really fit into Todorov’s theory, there are parts of it that do, like the segment with Dave and HAL on the Discovery, however aside from that part, the rest doesn’t really fit as the mystery behind the Monoliths is never really solved and you could argue that at the end of the film, the movie has disrupted the equilibrium even more than earlier with the HAL issue.


UAL – 2001: A Space Odyssey

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