HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey is possibly the most famous computer in cinema history and one of the most cryptic fictional characters of all time. This seemingly kind computer, full of authentic human emotions — who later turns out to be capable of cold, dispassionate murder — made an entire generation of filmgoers suspicious against helpful machines. Because of HAL, now whenever we’re watching a sci-fi movie like Interstellar, Moon, or even Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a robot assistant is introduced, we prepare for the moment it will inevitably start murdering its human companions, even though nowadays this seldom occurs.
That being said, Stanley Kubrick’s films have a reputation for two things: being great and making absolutely no sense on the first watch. And in both of these respects, relative to his other films, 2001: A Space Odyssey is on a completely different level. In order to finally satisfy our curiosity about what the heck is going on with HAL, we rewatched the film, dug through old interviews, and even read through Arthur C. Clarke’s original novel. Along the way, we not only found answers to most of our questions, but we also discovered all sorts of interesting behind-the-scenes stories about HAL came to be.
So, click the link up top and follow into the story of HAL. And, as I did, follow the whole post through the next article on “Confusing Movie Endings”. I’m a lifetime movie geek and have seen the majority of films in question. Love the discussion this started in my own brain. Hope it works as well for you.