A hand-drawn meets computer-animation tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey…


Yes, I’ve promised you a gander at an animated tribute to 2001 and on this promise I WILL deliver. But first a confession.

I have this weird love love LOVE hate love relationship with the film 2001.

I know, I know. I’m well aware that it’s positively un-geeky of me to admit to even the lowercase letter “hate” part of that relationship despite its being couched in a whole lot of love. But hey, it’s the truth and I’m nothing if not brutally honest.

Images from the film are seared into my consciousness. In fact, everything that I’m exposed to that’s sci-fi, futuristic, or even robotic gets passed through my internal 2001 filter. It all gets contrasted, compared, and measured against it. (And trust me that’s a whole heck of a lot of STUFF.)

So…yeah…I’d have to say the movie has had a great influence on me. But my relationship with it’s not a static one. It has changed quite a bit over the years.

There’s always been an appreciation for the beautiful imagery and the artistry of Stanley Kubrick’s film making itself. A certain love for the lingering nature of so many of the shots that make it feel like looking at a live painting at times. A fondness for the mystery of the monolith. A geeked-out excitement over the future tech that’s so casually presented….which is even more fabulous for its lack of flash and pew-pew laser gun action. And of course there’s an all-consuming love for HAL 9000 himself who, for me at least, has always been and will always be the hands-down star of the film.

But I must admit I had less affection for the overall story in the beginning. The past with the awakening of violent “humanity” in the apes. The “why” of the space travel was kind of a yawning nothingness for me. Don’t even get me started on the acid trip scene. And the rococo-furnitured disco-floored future kind of made me itch.

So there was always that over-riding feeling that somehow it’s status as the BEST sci-fi film EVER made was perhaps not 100% accurate. (Hey *duck* no throwing shoes at me here on my own blog!)

However, those less affection moments have mutated over time into more and more affection moments along the way. For example, I’m now genuinely excited to see the ape bone-smashing scene and while I’m still more than a bit puzzled by the rococo meets disco aesthetic of our future I do mostly look forward to seeing the bed-ridden old man pointing finger scene.

The bottom line is like a moth to a flame I’m drawn to anything 2001 related. And so was the case with the sweet little animated tribute by Chicago designer and animator Joe Donaldson. He hand picked some of the most iconic scenes from the film creating both hand-drawn organic feeling moments and more geometric computer-animated ones.  The result is an eyeball-pleasing 43-second tribute that I think you’ll enjoy.

Donaldson kept a process blog here if you want to see what went into the making of the short.