Christopher Nolan 2001: A Space Odyssey

When it comes to science fiction with adult tropes to show children, the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’ franchises quickly pop up, but director Christopher Nolan believes that ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘ should be at the top of the list! In fact, the man behind ‘Interstellar‘ and ‘Inception‘ feels that kids should see it right around the age of 7 even if they don’t fully understand what they’re seeing.

I mean to be fair, there is probably a lot of aspects of the film that would go over their heads at this age. This line of conversation came up when he was out plugging ‘Dunkirk’ to the press:

“I saw Star Wars when I was 7, and the movie changed everything for people my age. They re-released ‘2001’ on the basis of that success and I went to see it with a bunch of my friends. We [all said after watching it], “We don’t know what the hell that means, but it’s exciting.” We just wanted spaceships, we wanted space, we wanted that experience of leaving the Earth.”

The point Nolan was making is that it isn’t necessarily understanding everything that is seen in the movie but that what is seen can help to inspire young minds to think about these fantastic concepts. That, and as any parent can tell you, kids really do understand more than you would imagine.

“I think they’re able to absorb it on the most important level at a young age. That’s what happened to me. I saw it when I was 7 years old, and that’s the level I think it works the best — pure cinematic spectacle. I was extremely baffled by it, but excited by it.”

While not understanding some of the high concepts might be frustrating at a young age, trying to learn should be part of the excitement of youth and ‘2001’ is a movie that introduces quite a few concepts that will take years to appreciate. Also, it isn’t just understanding some movies but experiencing them that matters:

“When people talk about the age of people watching a film, part of what they’re asking is, “How does a 7-year-old parse the content?” And if you look at “2001” and you think about it, you can’t parse it anyway as an adult. The experience is the thing…That’s why fairy tales and movies like “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “2001” are not a million miles removed in terms of people’s elemental experiences of watching them when they’re young.”

I think we’ve all seen how some adults can act towards a movie or television show if they see it years after it was released or missed it during its prime. Sometimes having these experiences do make a difference.

Do you think experiencing a film like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ at a young age is enough to encourage kids to want to know more? Is the idea of something so deep helpful for learning minds or would easier entertainment be better for them? Share your thoughts below!