On a young planet called Earth, an alien intelligence – in the form of a large black monolith – tests the intelligence of a primitive race of primates. It also influences their development into a more ambitious and potentially more dangerous species. The monolith vanishes, having completed its task.
Millennia later, a primitive race of primates living on the planet Earth has developed the technology necessary to make short range space travel commonplace, and has discovered another monolith buried under the surface of Earth’s moon. Faced with the first solid evidence of extraterrestrial life, humankind launches a mission to Jupiter, the planet toward which the newly discovered monolith transmitted a brief signal. Astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole pilot the spaceship Discovery, carrying a cargo of three trained scientists in cryogenically-induced hibernation, though Bowman and Poole – along with most of the rest of the human race – have not been told about the monolith on the moon, and their fellow travelers were frozen prior to the mission to avoid that information leaking out. The Discovery’s onboard computer, the artificially intelligent HAL 9000, begins to show signs of unreliable decision-making, and when Bowman and Poole take steps to shut HAL down, it kills Poole during a spacewalk and tries to shut Bowman out of the ship when he goes to retrieve his fallen comrade. HAL also deactivates the three frozen scientists’ life support units, killing them as well. Bowman manages to get back aboard Discovery and shuts down HAL’s higher logic centers. But when Discovery finally reaches Jupiter as planned – with only one surviving crewmember – no amount of astronaut training, nor even the sum total of human experience, has prepared David Bowman for what he will find there, for the monolith has returned.
Cast: Keir Dullea (David Bowman), Gary Lockwood (Frank Poole), William Sylvester (Heywood Floyd), Douglas Rain (HAL 9000), Daniel Richter (Moon-Watcher), Leonard Rossiter (Dr. Andrei Smyslov), Margaret Tyzack (Elena), Robert Beatty (Dr. Ralph Halvorsen), Sean Sullivan (Dr. Bill Michaels), Frank Miller (Mission Controller), Bill Weston (Astronaut), Edward Bishop (Aries-1B Lunar Shuttle Captain), Glenn Beck (Astronaut), Alan Gifford (Poole’s Father), Ann Gillis (Poole’s Mother), Edwina Carroll (Aries-1B Stewardess), Penny Brahms (Aries-1B Stewardess), Heather Downham (Aries-1B Stewardess), Mike Lovell (Astronaut), John Ashley (Ape), Peter Delmar (Ape), David Hines (Ape), Darryl Faes (Ape), Timmy Bell (Ape), Terry Duggan (Ape), Tony Jackson (Ape), Joe Refalo (Ape), David Charkham (Ape), David Fleetwood (Ape), John Jordan (Ape), Andy Wallace (Ape), Simon Davis (Ape), Danny Grover (Ape), Scott Mackee (Ape), Bob Wilyman (Ape), Jonathan Daw (Ape), Brian Hawley (Ape), Laurence Marchant (Ape), Richard Wood (Ape), Kenneth Kendall (BBC Newsreader)
Notes: Actor Ed Bishop lent his voice to many genre animated series, including Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and an episode of the animated Star Trek series. He later appeared in the flesh in Anderson’s cult classic ’70s live-action series UFO as Commander Ed Straker, and appeared in the Big Finish Doctor Who Unbound audio story Full Fathom Five. Kenneth Kendall was a BBC newsreader in real life – the first person to do so on camera in the BBC’s history, in 1955. He parlayed that unique historical footnote into appearances – more or less as himself in his familiar job – on The Morecambe & Wise Show, Adam Adamant Lives! and numerous British-made B-movies. The only actors to appear in both this movie and its 1984 sequel are Keir Dullea and Douglas Rain. Director Stanley Kubrick had the elaborate sets built for 2001 destroyed immediately after production to make sure that they wouldn’t be reused in later films (such reuse being a common practice that he felt would cheapen 2001).
LogBook entry and review by Earl Green […]