Alien vs 2001, a space odyssey

Which do you prefer between these two movies and why?

How are they similar and how are they different in your view?

I am particularly interested in the styles and moods of those movies, since they have been so influential.

I have additional questions but I would like to keep the OP focused on this particular question, lest following questions bias the answers.

They both take place in space, that would be the only similar thing about them that I have noticed.

I do not understand the attraction of 2001. It was pointless and boring, IMHO.

I have tried, really, but I just don’t get it.

Alien was a really good movie. 2001 was a classic for the ages. 2001 wins.

And kudos on the title of the poll.

2001 seems to have the main theme of what it means to be human (while also musing on how we might have gotten that way), while Alien is pretty much a straight-up horror flick in an unusual setting, and for me a lot closer in tone to The Thing from Another World than Kubrick’s film. I don’t really want to talk about preferring one over the other, since the main themes are really so different, but if you put a gun to my head, I’ll have to choose 2001 as the more significant achievement.

I suppose where they most closely coincide is in how they put across the notion of the vast emptiness, time scale and deep loneliness of long-distance space travel.
One could say as well that in very different ways they managed to propose truly alien extraterrestrial life forms, although of course we only actually see them in one of the two films. Kubrick and Clarke, in my view, made a positive virtue of not even attempting to show the aliens but in still having it make sense in terms of the plot, as the effects of the day almost certainly wouldn’t have been up to it.

I think the monoliths would win in a fight. Kinda hard to beat something that can build its own sun.

What I wanted to add without coloring the waters of the discussion: The Alien and 2001 wiki as well as this documentary ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TNjpb8O5LY ) say that Alien was based on 2001 and Dark Star (which itself as a spoof of 2001) in addition to Giger, Fross and Cobb’s aesthetics.
2001 seems to have been strongly inspired by the 1957 Soviet movie Roads to the stars ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXt30Ing3Kk ). I see that The Sentinel was published in 1951.

What else influenced 2001’s style? It succeeds in being both minimalistic and striking.

Was it influenced by a particular school of design/architecture/painting?

It was definitely influenced by the New Wave movement in science fiction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Wave_science_fiction

Alien is a classic horror movie in space. Very well done, with an esthetic that was at the time unusual for space movies, but most of the same result could have been (and in other films has been) achieved in a non-space setting, especially someplace similarly claustrophobic and limited, like a submarine, or a cave.

2001 is pretentious and rather long and boring in may spots, but it is also a thoughtful essay on a couple of topics that still bear thinking about, such as what makes us human, and unforeseen consequences of putting our lives in the hands of AI. It also had an esthetic that was unusual for its time in space movies; my impression on seeing it in 1968 was that they were trying to show real possibilities that could be extrapolated from the way things already were. It didn’t require FTL travel or sub-space radio or anything except a suspension of disbelief about the possibility of the obelisk and what it represented - a mystery which, I’m glad to say, the movie didn’t try to neatly resolve for us.

So 2001 is a more important movie, but not a more entertaining one. Minus a couple of points for the moronic light show at the end.

Isn’t this like comparing Beethoven to P Diddy?

I personally believe that 2001 is the best movie ever made…

And I’ve never seen Alien… I can’t! I’m just not strong enough to watch that movie!

BUT…I am a huge fan of Alien! I admire it in just about all the ways one can admire a movie without ever actually seeing it. I’ve got the art books, and the comic-book adaptation. (I can’t read the novelization, any more than I can see the book.) I consider it a masterpiece of the horror genre, and a good strong entry in the sci-fi genre.

(I buy all the crossover comic books, too, like Judge Dredd vs. Alien, etc. I’m a fan of the movie…I’ll just never actually watch it.)

Sorry, to me, they are apples and oranges. One is mystical speculative fiction, and the other is horror/action. They cannot be directly compared.

But if I had to, I would pick Alien, as I find it more effective at achieving its intended goal. Personally, I found *2001 *to be pretensions and overblown. But that’s just me, and I would not argue with someone who had the opposite view.

A huge fan of everything Alien-related but won’t watch the movie, eh?

May I suggest playing Alien: Isolation?
Here’s a relevant thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=733746

  1. If all copies of Alien were to be destroyed… well, too bad, but there are other horror movies out there that are just as good. If 2001 were to be destroyed then we’d lose something unique.

What would we lose? What is unique about it?

I love both but 2001 has music by Ligeti (and uses it very effectively). So, my vote goes to 2001.

My vote goes for Alien. Both are ground-breaking, but both suffer from really slow pacing. Alien is able to use this to build up tension.

2001, on the other hand, is exceptionally boring

I could certainly name a bunch of things: the memorable AI; the generally accurate depiction of space; the trippiness at the end; the fantastic cinematography–but honestly it would be missing the point. It’s a piece of art that’s more than the sum of its parts. There’s no other movie like it and for me that’s reason enough. I like Alien, but it’s replaceable. If I want horror I can get it elsewhere. If I want HR Giger I can get it elsewhere. As sci-fi it’s not that great.

2001 is a movie I want to like. A lot. But I just can’t make the leap.

Alien succeeds at being both visually unique and incredibly effective as entertainment. If Star Wars made space overtly a canvas for our collective dreams, Alien showed us space as a home for our nightmares. I just don’t think 2001 ever successfully tapped into popular consciousness as deeply. Alien wins.

I just looked in on the thread, and watched some of the video linked there. Impressive, to be sure… But I felt that even the game would be too intense for me. (Damn strange, eh, for a total horror-wimp to have such admiration for a horror movie?)

There are a handful of board games that deal with the Alien or Aliens. Pretty good, and, once it’s down to the boardgame level, the horror is muted.

(Also…I’m too clumsy, physically, to play video games!)

I have a couple of the Alien role-playing-game sets…but have never played any of them.

In the neologism, I’m a passifan!

Someone published a 2001 board game, which was vaguely amusing, but far too heavily “railroaded.” Too many events were forced to happen, denying the players the “free will” that makes gaming fun.