Film genres typically promise familiarity, comfort, a guarantee to meet the audience’s expectations. A comedy implies jokes and romance hints at a loving relationship. Yet, some of the greatest films are those that are able to acknowledge conventional forms that adhere to these classifications, then deconstruct and rebuild them under a new guise.
Sci-fi Genre and 2001: A Space Odyssey
Not many filmmakers are capable of reinventing an entire genre, a structure that by its very definition depends on following a style or form. However, Stanley Kubrick has remained one of the greatest filmmakers of all time for his ability to do just this. Throughout his filmography, Kubrick reinvented countless genres. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most notable examples of this, as an epic sci-fi.
The genre is defined by the portrayal of science-based phenomena that are not conventionally recognised within mainstream science, such as time travel, cyborgs, or aliens. Films of this genre were mainly restricted to B-movies until 2001 made science-fiction blockbuster material. This film follows millions of years of evolution, culminating in a voyage to Jupiter with artificial intelligence HAL 9000 – a sentient computer – after the discovery of extra-terrestrial life.
2001: A Space Odyssey is pioneering in many senses of the word. For one, Kubrick began filming 2001 without a definitive script or established plot-line. Instead, the production team relied on extensive research, which ultimately produced a shockingly accurate depiction of the future of space technology. This was no small feat considering the rapidly advancing space race, which would render 2001 outdated or anachronistic if its predictions were misplaced.
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