Next: Act 4: Jupiter, and Beyond the Infinite Up: An Artistic Analysis of 2001: A Space Odyssey Previous: Act 2: From the Earth to the Moon

Act 3: Jupiter Mission

The third act shows a mission by two astronauts to the planet Jupiter. It opens with shots of their spacecraft, Discovery (fig. 17, 18). Discovery is shaped like an arrow, it has two pieces, the engines and the crew compartment, which are separated by a long connecting beam. Artisticly it is a well balanced, symmetrical, ship with the engines balancing the crew compartment. The front of Discovery's crew compartment looks like a human face.

Discovery also uses lines to make it comforting, its long slender shape is made mostly of one horizontal line, Discovery is graceful and serene compared to the thrusting verticals and diagonals of the monolith.

The astronauts spend most of their time in the ships centrifuge (fig. 19, 20), in another famous and amazing (even today) special effect the astronauts are seen walking and running around the inner surface of the huge ring shaped room. The centrifuge uses lines to draw emphasis to its circular shape, and it is lit in medium light, which makes life on Discovery seem routine, or even boring for the astronauts. Which it is, they spend their time exercising, playing games with HAL, the computer, and drawing sketches of their world in the ship.

HAL, the on board computer eventually becomes the villain of this act. He is the on board computer of Discovery, and is intelligent and sentient. He acts as an additional crew member and is in charge of the day to day operation of the ship. HAL's console (fig 21) contrasts with the boring environment of the astronauts. The screens are colorful and always animated. The angular keyboards and monitors contrast with the round home of the astronauts, the implication is that HAL is always busy and occupied, while the astronauts have nothing to do. HAL's eyes (fig. 22), of which there are many around the ship are round, red, and unblinking. HAL eyes are symbolic of himself, he sees everything, and he thinks only logically. The red in his eye may be symbolic of the evil plan he is forming to kill the crew.

HAL eventually goes crazy and tries to kill the crew. At the end of the act, Dave, the surviving astronaut, has to go into HAL's logic center and disconnect him (fig. 23). The logic center, is red, like his eye, which might symbolize his anger towards the crew, but it probably is also used to symbolize that Dave is now inside of HAL. The crystals that are HAL's memory units and processors are clear crystals that glow a brilliant white, which reminds the viewer of the cold logic of HAL's mind, and at the same time that he is powerless to stop Dave while he is in the one place where HAL has no influence.

After deactivating HAL, Dave finds out that the purpose of the mission was to investigate yet another monolith in orbit around Jupiter, which the monolith on the moon had sent its transmission to.

Next: Act 4: Jupiter, and Beyond the Infinite Up: An Artistic Analysis of 2001: A Space Odyssey Previous: Act 2: From the Earth to the Moon
Mike Akers 2000-11-10

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