A visual exploration of the numerous analogies between the two classic science fiction movies.
Note: If you haven't seen one or both of these movies, many of these analogies may seem rather random to you.
In that case, go get comfortable and watch both movies in a row, starting with "2001".
I'm sure you'll begin to notice a pattern.
Then come back here!
It is no secret that John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon used Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece as inspiration (blueprint almost) for their version of a space odyssey just a few years later - so much so that you could almost describe it as a parody of "2001". In musical terms you would call it somewhat more appropiately a cover version. It certainly is telling a very similar story, although of course from a quite different point of view....
There are two scenes that stand out as being obvious references (and made me start looking for further examples) - the first is the one in "2001" (around the 45 min. mark) where on the moonbus one of the astronauts takes prepackaged sandwiches in a cooler box to the other two passengers, and they are checking out the different flavours available; Dr. Floyd picks a sandwich that turns out to be chicken while his colleague is asking if ham is available. Which it readily is, no problem. On "Dark Star" the corresponding scene (around the 49 min. mark) has three of the four crew members collecting their daily meal package from a food dispensing unit with Doolittle and Boiler discussing what flavour they will most likely be presented with today - chicken or ham. They end up getting ham.
The other really obvious reference is the scene where Dr. Poole in "2001" and Boiler in "Dark Star" are each enjoying a cosmetic tan - Poole lying on a proper tanning bed built and set up for that purpose, Boiler lying on a deck chair under a small lamp stuck on a hallway wall...
Every time now when I watch one or both of these beautiful films I find more little analogies or rather references on "Dark Star"'s side.
So for my own entertainment and edification, and hopefully yours too, I've collected some of the more obvious ones as stills on this page.
I could also write at length about the similarities and differences regarding the philosophical aspects of both films, but I don't even want to start with that here. For one, I am pretty useless when it comes to writing elaborate theoretical essays. Takes me forever. And also I simply do not have the time. I'd rather watch "Dark Star" again. Or "2001". Or both. In a row. Now there's an idea!