2001: Mythic Movie

HAL 9000

DATELINE: A Space Odyssey

A documentary made in 2001 is about 2001: A Space Odyssey. According to narrator James Cameron, no slouch as director of Titanic, he thinks Kubrick’s film remained the greatest sci-fi ever made.

It is now over 50 years later. Kubrick died shortly before MMI. However, a few others were still able to give interviews: notably author Arthur C. Clarke and star Keir Dullea.

Others gave insights into their small parts in the film and how some special effects were accomplished before CGI. It also discussed the villainous computer, HAL, who was neurotic and became homicidal during the film. Today 20 years later, we know AI is bordering on powerful. His voice belonged to actor Douglas Rain who died in 2018.

HAL eschewed usual robotic cliches. He was only a giant red eye, staring at us with his epicene human voice. It was chilling.

When this film was made, Arthur C. Clarke noted 2001 was already in the mainstream of literary and scientific study. He had never seen such a set as the Moon where the Monolith was buried. That, he said, was meant to be the end of the film.

Instead, it turned out to be the start: Kubrick wanted to film for another year, but ran out of money. And, philosophically, he became intrigued with the idea of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Keir Dullea spoke about his relationship with HAL and how it was a film that gave him chills until the day he was interviewed. He also discussed his scenes as an old man—thinking 30 years later, how old he had become.

The film allegedly was a box office failure at first, but word-of-mouth made it spark to life. We recall seeing it originally in Cinerama in 1968 to a packed audience enthralled. We were not on LSD, but were dumb-founded by the sights.

Never before had there been anything quite like it.

The beauty, the music, the gentle pace, and the shocking future, made us think we could hardly wait for it to arrive. How wrong we were.

Ancient Aliens Bring Captain Kirk Aboard

DATELINE: Von Daniken Beamed UP 13.14

shat Shat Upon Sagan!

It was inevitable. As 2019 starts a new special, Ancient Aliens Season 13, episode 14, brings in the most ancient astronaut of TV fame: there is William Shatner giving advice to Giorgio and the crew.

You have to love it. This is a special edition for sure. Cross-pollination is one of History Channel’s favorite Venerable Bede compliments. There is no one from outer space more ancient than Shatner. Where has he been for a 100 other episodes?

The reason for his appearance is to honor Erich Von Daniken. In 1976 Shatner made a movie called Mysteries of the Gods, which adapted more or less from one of Daniken’s books. Hence, the honor from History Channel. Clips of young Shatner appear, but no mention comes of Leonard Nimoy’s series In Search of…, which History is also remaking with the new Spock, Zachary Quinto.

The two-hour special is meant to be homage to Von Daniken’s amazing career since the 1960s when he burst onto the scene with his outlandish theories. We read Chariots of the Gods in 1968, before most the guests on this special were born.

We recall being surprised and more than a little confused as to why no one else had seen what the author revealed. It was mind-boggling, but then again so was 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Now, he has more credibility than Carl Sagan. Indeed, the special has a clip of Sagan looking pathetic, attacking the notion of Ancient Aliens. Today, if the astronomer were still alive, he’d be ripe to serve as Trump’s Acting Ambassador to Mars.

The show manages to catalogue all the movies, TV shows, and other documentaries that had direct influence from Von Daniken: they also admit that Arthur Clarke and Stanley Kubrick slightly preceded him.

Von Daniken reveals his Jesuit education that influenced him, and he also discusses how his background in hotel management ruined him with academics and their Ph.D.-union card prejudice.

As one with a doctorate, we feel as do some NASA people and Dr. Travis Taylor, that lack of degree means nothing when it comes to creative minds.

This latest entry seems a premature obit for Erich Von Daniken, or eulogy in anticipation. It does not detract from his remarkable veracity.