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The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest Sci-Fi film ever.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/3/2012 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,196 times Debate No: 24976
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (2)




I am 100% completely new to this site, so please excuse me for any mistakes I might make. I believe that Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is perhaps the greatest Science Fiction movie of all time. My opponent, which will be whoever accepts, will argue for the opinion that 2001 is not the greatest Sci-Fi film of all time. Great, defined as: 3. remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness
5. a : eminent, distinguished
9. markedly superior in character or quality; especially : noble

Round 1: Acceptance

Round 2: Opening Statements

Round 3: Rebuttals

Round 4: Closing Statements


I want to thank my opponent for instigating this debate.

I accept.

I accept my opponent's definitions.

I urge all voters to vote Con.

May the best arguments win!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting, and this should be fun.

Stanley Kubrick's 1968 epic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever for a variety of reasons. It has had a major influence in pop culture from Star Wars to The Simpson's and from Steven Spielberg to Kanye West and it's a beautiful work of art.

1. Major Influence
There is no doubt that 2001 has had a major influence on pop culture. Directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Ridley Scott have recognized how the film has influenced their own films, and how without 2001 there would be no market for films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, or A.I. (Which was actually an unfinished Kubrick project). It has had a major influence on Matt Groening, who has invented the Simpson's and Futurama. 2001's influence can be seen in Futurama in episodes like: Love & Rocket, The Sting, and Future Stock, and in Simpson's episodes like Deep Space Homer. Kanye West has also stated that 2001 has been an influence on some of his music videos.

2. Art
2001 is not a traditional film in many ways. It throws out the idea of a traditional narrative with the cinematography and music carrying the film. It's beautiful imagery, cryptic theme, and it's ambiguous and somewhat surreal ending has inspired countless essays and debates by guys on websites.

Hey I'm kinda busy, so sorry for its short length.


I thank my opponent for submitting his first argument.

First, I urge voters to judge the film on its own merits not on the fact that Stanley Kubrick was the director.

A. My opponent’s arguments:

1. Major influence.

The fact that the movie was a stepping stone to other, much better movies, is not, by itself enough reason to vote for 2001: ASO as “the greatest sci-fi film of all time." Just because a brick is a stepping stone to making a building doesn’t mean that a brick is a greater accomplishment than Notre Dame or the Coliseum. Yes I guess you need 2001: ASO to make Blade Runner, but Blade Runner is still a better film. (BTW: I hardly think inspiring Kanye West is much to brag about…).

2. Art.

Art is a hard to define concept, but as Pro has not defined "art", I shall supply a definition: Art: “noun 1 [mass noun] the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power . . .”[1]

2001: ASO may have a lot of beauty, but its slow pace detracts severely from its emotional power. It’s one of those movies that you can watch without your heart ever beginning to race or your emotions ever becoming that invested at all. It’s too brainy a film. One of the problems with 2001: ASO is that it gets lost in its own “artsyness”. There is only so much staring at stuff floating in space one can take before you need to hit the fast forward button.

The weak points of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Despite the heaps of praise given to this movie, it suffers from many major flaws.

1. Style over substance.

This is a movie where “things looking cool” is more important than anything actually happening. This is a movie where the vast majority of time -nothing is happening-, nothing is being said, and nothing is being done. It’s, for the most part, a movie about nothing. You could fast forward through most of the movie without missing much. When parts of the plot are actually happening, they do so at a snail’s pace. Which leads to my next point.

Slow pace.

This is how the movie starts: First, the ridiculous landscape shots opening that takes forever. Landscapes, landscapes, landscapes, 1:45 seconds of landscapes… Then, Monkeys! Monkeys doing nothing… for a very long time, and then enter the monolith! And you would think “ok now this is it, now the movie is going to start!” But what do you get? Stuff floating in space… a space station in space, a spaceship in space, 4 minutes of stuff in space. As noted earlier, even beautiful scenes stop being interesting when they last forever. There is only so much time a person can devote to staring at the sunrise.

Lack of coherent plot for 1/3rd of the movie.

10 minutes into the film, the film plot hasn’t started yet. The actual plot starts 22 minutes and 42 seconds into the film when the guy explains that he’s headed for Clavius. Not a single line of dialogue in all that time. Then, after that, you’d think “ok 22 minutes into the film, the plot is definitely starting now…” but what do you get? More stuff floating in space! 7 more minutes of stuff floating in space… That little bit of plot development on the station? That was just a teaser!

The whole plot is one character going from one place to another place. How much travel footage do you actually need to see? What movie or director today would get away with a 22 minute travel scene with no dialogue?

40 minutes of stuff floating in space later you finally find out about the cover-up on Clavius. 40 minutes! A third of the movie has basically gone by with no plot development at all. The vast majority of this movie is composed of unnecessary fat that would have been cut out of any other movie, but because it’s a Kubrick film, it’s a masterpiece.

The movie is extremely boring and sleep inducing.

How could the greatest Sci-Fi movie of all time be so incapable of inspiring even the slightest amount of interest for most of the film? The slow pacing, the snail’s pace of the plot and the constant views of stuff floating in space make for a very slow movie. The music in the background is perfect, for going to sleep as you are hypnotized by a spinning space station or the 20 minute psychedelic trip into the monolith.

The movie fails to show what the world became and has aged poorly.

It’s 2012… very little of the world of today actually resembles the world of 2001 ASO. It’s more of a quaint “look at how they thought the world would be like” piece. This is a movie that you couldn’t show a younger generation and expect most of them to actually remain interested in it past the first few minutes of landscapes and things floating in space.

The movie lacks a compelling message.

What is the message of 2001: ASO? That humanity is still in its infancy in the future world of 2001? That’s a message, but it’s not quite a very deep observation.

Other films more deserving of the designation “the greatest Sci-Fi film ever.”

The following movies are more entertaining, written better and deliver their messages in a more coherent manner than 2001: A Space Odyssey. They are greater as defined by Pro.

Metropolis (1927).

Metropolis is a much older Sci-Fi film than 2001: ASO and yet it manages to have a tighter pace, better plot and to touch just as many important themes of the time, such as division of labor, government and the dangers of technology. In terms of influence, without movies like Metropolis, there would be no 2001: A Space Odyssey. And here at least, is a brick with some substance that is actually capable of entertaining its audience.

Blade Runner.

A dark movie touching on many of the major topics in science fiction, from environmental collapse, to overpopulation, to artificial intelligences running amok, to genetic engineering. This movie with Harrison Ford at the helm is extremely entertaining and considerably more engaging than 2001: ASO.


A fast paced, action packed movie with a hard hitting message disguised by millions of dollars of special effects. This is a movie that teaches as much as it entertains. It shows the harms of one culture imposing its will on another and of appreciating the simpler things in life. This is a film with enormous mass appeal and is executed brilliantly and it will probably outlast 2001: ASO in terms of what future generations will think of it. It will likely have greater impact.

Star Wars Original Trilogy.

The original SW trilogy is fun, exciting and a much better example of how to effectively use style over substance. Certainly greater in terms of the impact it has had on a generation of the world when compared to 2001: ASO.

Thanks for reading my argument, and I urge voters to vote Con.

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank my opponent for submitting his argument.

I will now post my rebuttals towards my opponents rebuttals against my arguments, and against his arguments.

A. My Arguments:

1. Major Influence

To imply that the Science Fiction genre is like the Coliseum or the Notre Dame, and 2001 is just one measly brick is ludicrous. Transformers: Dark of the Moon would be a brick. 2001 is more like a column in the Temple of Apollo, and without it the Temple would be vastly different. Also I just put in Kanye West to show how far this movie's influence has extended.

2. Art

I accept your definition of "art". While I agree that the film does not have the pace of say Crank, I think that the beautiful sets, the massive spaceships, the beautiful interiors, the detailed portrayal of an idealistic future where mankind is not bound by the limitations of this Earth make up for it's slow pace.

B. The Weak Points of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

I will now rebut my opponent's arguments.

1. Style Over Substance

"This is a movie where "things looking cool" is more important than anything actually happening. This is a movie where the vast majority of time -nothing is happening-, nothing is being said, and nothing is being done."

While I do agree that 2001 relies more on special-effects and lavish sets than dialogue, it actually has some symbolism, some sort of meaning to it. There have been plenty of movies like Transformers, Avatar, and Star Wars which rely more on special effects than actual plot. Does anybody honestly remember anything about Transformers other than Megatron = Evil, Optimus = Good, and Explosions = Cool, or Avatar other than the Blue people were angry?

2. Slow Pace

"This is how the movie starts: First, the ridiculous landscape shots opening that takes forever."

Okay, yes this movie does have a slow pace, but every thing has some some sort of meaning. You have to look deeper at it. The imagery in this movie is symbolic. Compare the monkey's at the monolith to the astronauts at the monolith at the moon. I will admit this movie is a bit dated. The beautiful long shots were amazing when they were the newest thing in 1968 maybe, but it just seems too long in our modern times. But what does that say about our society?

3. Lack of coherent plot for 1/3rd of the movie

I feel that if you really look at it that the beginning of the film actually ties in to the rest. The monkeys discovering the monolith and gaining intelligence and basically using technology. That bone, their first usage of technology, match cuts into a beautiful satellite. Now the astronauts have discovered a new monolith on the moon. It's cryptic.

The movie is a bit dated, but remember the times. There had never been such a dazzling movie like 2001 before. It's a masterpiece not because it's a Stanley Kubrick film, (if so Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut would be considered masterpieces) it's considered a masterpiece for it's innovative special effects, alluring imagery, and for it's usage of fantastic classical music in place of traditional narrative.

A quote from Benjamin Ross: "Kubrick argued that film has not progressed at a formal level since the first pioneers discovered its basic syntax of composition, montage and mise en scene...From "2001" onwards his narratives have been the most experimental in the mainstream. They have somehow contrived to become both more visceral and more abstract--inviting and repelling interpretation with equal measure...enigmas which contain rather than yield up their complexity, demanding to be felt and experienced before they are analysed. Kubrick likes to invert the half-baked sentimentalities of conventional film narrative so that something more substantial can emerge. And this "something" turns out to be moments, images, or whole narratives of stunning emotional primacy, so self-contained as to be perfectly mysterious and dreamlike."

4. The Movie is Extremely Boring and Sleep Inducing

I feel this is more of a problem with today's society, and how the internet and TV has made us impatient for anything we can't get in the shortest amount of time. Why read books when you can get a synopsis off Wikipedia? Why go see some long movie when we can watch these 23 minutes of Family Guy? This is why Once Upon a Time in America failed, and this is a major problem in our society.

5. The Movie Fails to Show What the World Became and has Aged Poorly

Are you really going to list a reason for this film not being the greatest is because reality failed to go along this pace of space exploration? That's like me faulting Star Wars for no presence of an advanced society that flourished long ago in a galaxy far, far away. You can show a child The Godfather, Seven Samurai, Gladiator, or even Blade Runner and they will find those movies boring, but they would be quick to call Fred: the Movie or Lion King one of the greatest. You can't say that a movie isn't great based on its track record with children.

6. The Movie Lacks a Compelling Message

I think this is relative to the viewer. You didn't get anything from the movie, but I got that it was an allegory to Nietzsche's Thus Sprach Zarathustra. Others might find Illuminati theories. Someone might even say the film's message is about how LSD and Space Camp don't go to well together.

C. Other Films More Deserving

Metropolis (1927)

I'll just let H.G. Wells answer this one.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner has more action than 2001 and has a traditional narrative. There are so many different versions of this film which one are you talking about?


This point has been brought up every time someone mentions Avatar, but there is no denying that Avatar is Dances with Wolves in Space. James Cameron pulled a Lucas. He took an already existing film or serial, put it in space, and made billions from it.

Star Wars Original Trilogy

The same thing with Avatar except he used The Flash Gordon serials and Star Wars is just another rehashing of the monomyth. George Lucas has never been great at dialogue and it shows. Plus Return of the Jedi.

Thank you for reading my argument, and I wait for my opponent's response. Pros before Cons.


I thank my opponent for posting his round. This is turning out to be an interesting debate.

The difficulty of debating against highly acclaimed movies.

Now, the problem with taking on a work of art that is generally considered a masterpiece is that there is a societal pressure to conform to the judgment that this work “cannot” be criticized, that it “cannot” be disliked. If such a work is disliked by someone, it is the most common argument that it is because the person “doesn’t get the deeper meanings of the work.” It’s a move that shuts down conversation and closes all possible avenues of debate.

However, if one looks at a film or a work of art objectively, it should be able to stand on its own merits, and not on this pressure to conform to the idea that the work is a great work of art. When one goes to other “greatest” works of art, one is not left wondering whether the work is the greatest, one is hit over the head completely with the very strong impression that such a work is a truly great work.

Despite some of the technical achievements of 2001: ASO, Pro must concede that there is much to criticize about the film. In fact Pro concedes several points about the datedness of the film and the fact that the film has an extremely slow pace. For example, if one were to look at the Sistine Chapel, or the David, or Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia one can clearly see these works are at the apex of their respective fields. No one would fall asleep a few minutes after arriving at the Sistine Chapel… yet when watching 2001: ASO it is quite literally possible that a large percentage of watchers may actually physically fall asleep in their chairs. If other great works of art can be enjoyed why are people falling asleep why can’t 2001: ASO be enjoyed in the same way.

On the meaning and message of 2001: ASO.

Pro attempts to gloss over the shortcomings of the film by arguing for deeper meanings and symbolism… and true there are highly symbolic moments in the film. But there are also a tremendous number of scenes in this film that do not have any symbolic meaning at all. There are gratuitous special effects scenes lasting 20 minutes or more where no real deeper meaning is being explored. It’s just Kubrick showing off his amazing space station visuals, floating shuttles or psychedelic effects. What is the symbolism behind the spinning station? It must be really deep, because the viewer just wasted 20 minutes of his life looking at it.

Just because allusions to Nietzsche are thrown around doesn’t mean 2001: ASO is the greatest sci-fi film of all time when it fails so much on the visceral end (plus the whole socialist theory of the superman is junk philosophy at best, especially now that every fascist and communist government has either failed, fallen or become full blown capitalist in all but name). The whole cathedral of long winded, nonsense, unsupported, far right and far left theories that dominated the pre-war and cold war eras is completely outdated by now, and should have been painfully dated by the time of 2001: ASO.

2001: A Space Odyssey is the Finnegan’s Wake (James Joyce) of Sci-Fi films.

It’s a work of art yes, it’s probably something your teacher would assign out of spite, and it’s probably the one you’d put down and just go with the synopsis. It’s long, complex and hard to get through. It’s the kind of work that mostly appeals to hard-core art critics and philosophy graduate students.

Consider the medium being used.

Pro talks about the modern audience being incapable of enjoying the slow pace of the film, and compares the film to a book. Now putting aside the fact that there are still quite a large number of books sold and read every year in this country, the comparison to a book goes right to the heart of what is wrong with 2001: ASO. Let’s say the first 1/3 of a the Fellowship of the Ring book by JRR Tolkien was done in the same way as the first 1/3 of A Space Odyssey. By that I mean that you had really awesome descriptions of Frodo travelling from one place to another… without dialogue… for 192 pages. Just trees, forests, lakes, mountains, all described in painful detail, for 192 pages.

Would you feel like you were reading the greatest work in its genre? No… you would probably quit around page 40 at most and put the book away, forever. Even if it had some really cool symbolic stuff going on in middle of the book. It’s one thing to ask for patience from your audience but it’s an entirely different thing to ask them to just stand by for plot development for a third of the work. Even the gigantic John Galt Speech that lasts 70 pages from Atlas Shrugged isn’t as hard to get through as that first third of 2001: ASO.

Is 2001: ASO the greatest Sci-Fi film of all time?

There are many ways in which this argument could fail, as all that needs to happen is for one film to edge out 2001: ASO as best for the argument to become invalid. This is the problem with absolute statements; they are very hard to prove absolutely.

Let’s look at more movie options for those who were unconvinced from round 2:


Just an amazing piece of work that makes you want to watch it over and over again just to figure out what the heck is going on. This is a film with symbolism that doesn’t get bogged down in its own artsyness. It succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually, something that 2001: ASO fails to do.

District 9.

District 9, is a pretty freaking awesome movie that touches on some difficult racial themes punctuated by highly awesome special effects on par with any other sci-fi movie. Also, one of my personal favorites.

The Matrix (the first one…).

A great reality twisting film, with visuals just as amazing for their time as those of 2001: ASO.


An incredibly dark film about the potential horrors of space. Really fun to watch. Highly influential on subsequent works.

Ghost in the Shell.


The Watchmen.

The Watchmen film also has plenty of allusions to Nietzsche to appease Pro since that seems to be the major redeeming quality of 2001: ASO for him. But it manages to have them without getting bogged down in long drawn out scenes of nothing.

Some other Pro points from round 2…


Alright HG Wells didn’t like it, but he also thought it was plagiarized from his work.[1] The majority of film critics are quite positive; with a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (2001: ASO only managed a 96% rating). Ebert on metropolis "[g]enerally considered the first great science-fiction film, ``Metropolis' (1926) fixed for the rest of the century the image of a futuristic city as a hell of scientific progress and human despair."[2] It’s kind of shocking that a silent film could be more engaging than a 1960s film with full color and sound, but there you have it.

Blade Runner.

Pro asked which version of Blade Runner I meant… I meant the 1982 Ridley Scott/Harrison Ford version… I’m not sure which other versions Pro thought I meant. This is a great film that strongly contends for the top spot against 2001: ASO.


Avatar has very strong, over the top, special effects, but they are there to convey a strong message of tolerance and understanding. It’s a film that preaches a counter-cultural message to a mass audience that is camouflaged with visual effects.

One final note, on Transformers. Pro does an excellent job arguing against Transformers, a film which I did not raise in my round and which I did not propose was better than 2001: ASO. Is it truly that great an achievement that 2001: ASO is better than Transformers? This argument by Pro is straw man at best (though the Transformers films are still easier to sit through than 2001: ASO…).


Just one of these films being better than Space Odyssey is all it would take for Pro to lose the argument. I urge voters to consider these movies well before making their vote.

Please vote Con!

Debate Round No. 3


Final Round. Response to Rebuttal and Closing Statements.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my opponent for his response, and I am surprised how interesting my first debate would be.

The Difficulty of Debating Against Highly Acclaimed Movies

My opponent brings up the common argument of "you just don't get it". While I never actually said that phrase or a variation of it, I did say that it is relative to the viewer because I believe that most art is subjective, but I feel there is no denying that art such as The Creation of Adam or The Odyssey are masterpieces.

The medium of art is not EXACTLY the same as cinema, but you can't deny that there have been plenty of people who yawned at the site of Renaissance paintings. And I think this goes back to my argument of our society becoming spoiled by television and the internet.

On the Meaning and Message of 2001: ASO

YOU JUST DON'T GET IT! I joke when I make that statement, but it just goes back to relativity. I feel that the bone turning into a space station shows how much humanity has advanced due to this monolith. What does the monolith represent? Again it's meaning is relative.

I never said that 2001 is the greatest sci-fi film because I felt that it's an allegory for Zarathustra, I said that just because you didn't find a message in the movie doesn't mean that there is no message at all. I stated what I felt the message was, but that doesn't mean that no one else can find a different message. Just because I felt the movie was an allegory for his book doesn't mean that I support his theories. I see you're pulling a strawman yourself.

2001: A Space Odyssey is the Finnegan's Wake of Sci-Fi Films

Wow my opponent has made a surprising comparison. Finnegan's Wake is, simply, James Joyce trolling the literary society. The book was literally made to piss people off. Now I don't think Stanley Kubrick had the intentions of trolling the cinematic world when he created 2001. I feel as if he wanted to create something that cinema hadn't seen.

Consider the Medium Being Used

While yes there are a large number of books being sold and read every year, what kind of books are they? Can you compare Twilight to say the Divine Comedy? I was once in an AP Lit Club, and when I suggested the Divine Comedy everyone said no because they felt that the book was too long, and not that exciting. Does this mean that the Divine Comedy is not one of the greatest literary works of all time? I literally put Atlas Shrugged down when I reached that part.

Is 2001: ASO the Greatest Sci-Fi Film of All Time?

Let's Look at More Movie Options


I actually feel that Inception's only redeeming quality was the end, where we don't know if the top ever stopped spinning. The film is pretentious, and that's how I feel.

District 9

District 9 is basically what if South Africans were superpowered aliens. There is also a huge plot hole in the film. If the aliens had such advanced weaponry, then how come they didn't fight back against the slumlords and the PMC in the first place?

The Matrix (the first one...)

The Matrix has amazing visuals, but that's it.


Aliens did have an exciting theme, but can it really compare with the cryptic ones of 2001?

Ghost in the Shell

I would consider anime to be its own genre.

The Watchmen

All I said was that I found allusions to Nietzsche in the film, not that it is the greatest of all time based simply on the fact that it had allusions to Nietzsche. I also wouldn't consider Watchmen to be a Sci-Fi film.

Some Other Points From Round 2

My opponent has chosen to ignore my arguments against Star Wars for some reason.


Ebert also said this about 2001: ASO: "This is the work of an artist so sublimely confident that he doesn't include a single shot simply to keep our attention. He reduces each scene to its essence... t does not cater to us, but wants to inspire us, enlarge us. Nearly 30 years after it was made, it has not dated in any important detail, and although special effects have become more versatile in the computer age, Trumbull's work remains completely convincing -- more convincing, perhaps, than more sophisticated effects in later films, because it looks more plausible, more like documentary footage than like elements in a story.

Blade Runner

There are multiple version of the 1982 film. One's with no voiceover, no dream sequence, and where it is clear or not if Deckard is a replicant.


Con has chosen to ignore my arguments of Avatar as well.

One Final Note
While it is true that Con never brought up the film Transformers, he continuously brought up the fact that modern Sci-Fi films that rely on special effects are better, so I brought up a movie that relys heavily on special effects.


2001: A Space Odyssey is still one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever. I feel as if my opponent has not found a film that can topple the greatness and influence of 2001.

I urge everyone to vote Pro! Pros before Cons! May the best debater win.


I want to thank my opponent for a wonderful debate. It was a lot of fun.

Star Wars.

As my opponent noted, I did not mention Star Wars in my last round. The Star Wars movies have inspired multiple generations. They are the reason most of us watch science fiction, with a fully realized sense of escapism, wonder and adventure not present in almost any other film, especially at the time. Particular mention has to go to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which is the best and most intense of the original series. Note the dramatic contrast between the sincere emotional acting, particularly between Han and Leia, and the wooden, emotionless acting of the astronauts on 2001: ASO. Even when threatened by HAL with complete destruction they barely react to what is going on. Empire also has a highly dramatic conclusion in which the dark side wins, Luke loses his hand and Han is frozen in carbonite, leaving the viewer on an amazing cliffhanger wondering how the protagonists will get out of the situation. This is a film that manages to connect in every way with its audience, in a way that 2001: A Space Odyssey fails to do.


On the matter of Inception, my opponent states “The film is pretentious, and that's how I feel.” Now the exact same criticism could be applied to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a pretentious movie that is chosen as the best Sci-Fi film ever by pretentious art critics and graduate students. Inception turns dreams and the freudian subconscious into visual reality, it's a great film.

Ghost in the Shell

While my opponent might consider “anime to be its own genre.” The definition of science fiction according to the World English Dictionary (2009) is “A literary genre that makes imaginative use of scientific knowledge or conjecture.” By this definition Ghost in the Shell is science fiction and my opponent cannot just dismiss the film.

Ghost in the Shell is thrilling, compelling, visually splendid and moving, it isn't just classic anime, it's a great film.

Blade Runner

Alright to settle this “controversy” over which version of Blade Runner I meant, I choose the Blade Runner Final Cut version, which is the version that most closely resembles what the director actually intended and doesn’t include the annoying voice-over which neither Harrison Ford on Scott wanted. This I a film that holds up to scrutiny over the years, and is expertly crafted with massive attention to detail. You can watch the film over and over always finding something new to like. The dystopian future presented in the film, a mixture of some of the worst aspects of western and eastern culture has inspired countless films, video games, and TV series after it.

Glenn Kenny of MSN writes “[t]he theme of what it "really" means to be "human" is of course a favorite one in sci-fi, and this film, adapted from, yes, a work by author Philip K. Dick, explores that question intelligently and without making a pretentiously big deal of it: The movie works beautifully on the surface level of an action-packed sci-fi thriller.”[1] This is the main contrast between Blade Runner and 2001: ASO. Blade Runner manages to touch upon its themes without drowning itself in its own visuals and pacing. It works on many more levels than 2001: ASO.

Comparison to other works of art.

My opponent states “you can't deny that there have been plenty of people who yawned at the site of Renaissance paintings” now while that may be true, there is an enormous difference between having your audience yawn and putting your audience to sleep in the way that 2001: A Space Odyssey does.

I urge voters to consider this scenario:

It’s 7pm on a Sunday night, you have nothing to do. You turn on your computer, navigate over to Netflix and on your screen you see that Netflix is offering every science fiction movie ever made. Particularly including the 11 Best Sci-Fi Movie Ever contenders I have proposed (and Transformers). Think about all the possibilities (A.I., I Robot, Clockwork Orange, the Star Trek movies (particularly The Wrath of Kahn)).

Now would you rather spend the last few hours of your weekend watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, or would you rather watch any other Sci-Fi movie? (Even ones that you have already seen).

I personally wouldn’t watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, particularly because I’ve already seen it, I’ve climbed that “mandatory” step on the pop culture ladder. I would probably watch Blade Runner. And I believe the vast majority of people would not choose to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey either.[2]

In fact, is there any reason to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey more than once? For most people, the answer is likely no.

If this is the greatest Sci-Fi film of all time, why is it so unwatchable? Why is it that it’s so hard to emotionally connect with this film for most people? And why oh why is it so boring?

Pro states that he feels “…as if my opponent has not found a film that can topple the greatness and influence of 2001.” It’s true, I have not found *a* film that can topple the greatness and influence of 2001, I have found *multiple* films that can topple the greatness and influence of 2001. Particularly Blade Runner.

Online rankings of the greatest Sci-Fi films of all time.

I’d like to take a moment to go over some of the online lists for greatest Sci Fi films of all time. Going over the lists on (choosing Blade Runner)[3], (choosing Star Wars Ep. V)[4], (choosing Blade Runner)[5], (choosing Blade Runner)[6], (2001: A Space Odyssey doesn’t even crack their top ten)[7], (choosing Blade Runner)[8], (choosing Avatar)[9], (choosing Blade Runner)[10], (choosing Blade Runner).[11]

The internet is in agreement, 2001: A Space Odyssey is NOT the greatest Sci-Fi film of all time.[12] In fact the consensus amongst the internet critics seems to be that Blade Runner is the greatest Sci-Fi film ever.

My opponent’s apparent concession of the debate.

Pro states in his closing statement that “2001: A Space Odyssey is still one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever.” But the debate here centers on whether “2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest Sci-Fi film ever.” Being “one of” the greatest is not the same as being “the” greatest. It appears as if Pro, not surprisingly, has developed some doubt as to whether 2001: ASO is the greatest Sci-Fi film ever, and has now partly conceded the debate. If so I thank Pro for coming over to the light side, it’s never too late. ;-)


Despite its technical achievements and symbolic themes, 2001: A Space Odyssey is done in by its own slow pacing, wooden acting, over use of technical effects. It is a technical stepping stone to far better films that are actually capable of connecting with their audience. But it is not, the greatest Sci-Fi film ever.

Vote Con!

[2] This is particularly true among the internet crowd as you’ll note from the section below on what the internet’s opinion on the question is.

[12] Digitaldreamdoor did have 2001: ASO at #1, but I’ve never heard of them so they don’t count. The only other site to choose 2001: ASO was Popular Mechanics, but that pretty much leaves the vote 8 vs 2 against ASO, so it is not the greatest sci fi film ever.

Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kckettler 4 years ago
If I may, The Day the Earth Stood Still probably ranks as one of, if not the best sci-fi film of all time.
(the original)It was just as well a great socio-political commentary, as most great movies are.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Alright well I'm Puerto Rican, I'm trying my best here lol. I kind of second guessed whether using that expression was a good move but it didn't really hit me until I had clicked submit. I don't think it's a huge mistake though. Anyway, please read all of my rounds before you make up your mind on the debate. And thanks for your comment.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
No. A pictured is helmed by the director. Basically all popular movie literature uses the word this way.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
By "at the helm" I meant "starring". The lead actor is also at the helm wouldn't you say?
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
I was hoping someone would mention Blade Runner. That would have been my pick.
Posted by tarkovsky 4 years ago
Harrison Ford didn't helm Blade Runner. Ridley Scott was at the helm of that picture.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Heh, I thought this would be quite tricky to carry over into four rounds at first.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
I'm going to watch this movie again just to see if it really was that good.
Posted by WMdebate 4 years ago
Perhaps I should have staggered my debates a little... but whatever. I'm new too, so good luck.
Posted by angrymen 4 years ago
I would debate this but I have to leave. Its to long and the scenes are dragged out. All the characters except for hal are boring and uninteresting. There are about 3 different stories put into one movie that are loosely related.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by mongeese 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: While 2001 was interesting, Pro accurately pointed out that it was just plain boring at many parts. All told, I think Inception is the best, and Con defended that notion sufficiently (Pro was only able to call it "pretentious"), and Blade Runner also beats 2001, not to mention various others on the list.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con gave better arguments for why Star-Wars and Avatar are the better films then 2001.