Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

2001 and Dialogue

Happened to catch a few minutes of “2001: A Space Odyssey” on tv. Every time I watch it I notice things that have not registered on me previously. This time it was dialogue related and was when the team with Dr Floyd as they first approach TMA-1 on the moon. That entire scene has no dialogue but only music and yet it very clear as to their feelings on seeing it, moving around, Dr Floyd first touching it (exactly like Moonwatcher did) and then the camera man asking them to gather around for a (what would be a very historic) picture. I checked on IMDB and the entire 2 hour and 19 minutes movie has less than 40 minutes of dialogue. That so much of the mood and intent is conveyed by the music, story, set and acting is another example of how good of a film maker Kubrick and the cast were as well as Arthur C. Clarke’s writing ability. Every scene of this movie deserves pausing and discussing it regarding the original story and how the scene was filmed.

I also noticed this time when Hal realized he was about to caught in his deception. Dr Bowman asked if he was writing up his crew psychology report. Hal replied, with the slightest of a pause, “of course I am”. Later when he (Hal) suggested returning the unit I suspect that he had already formulated his plan. This area of the story is a fascinating study of human intellect and our attempts to automate it. I suspect that when true artificial intelligence has its first success we will have our own variations on this story.

On dialogue, it would be interesting to check and see what films had the smallest ratio of dialogue to film time. I’ll get back to you on that.

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