In this sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, a joint American- Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to discover what went wrong with the U.S.S. Discovery against a backdrop of growing global tensions. Among the mysteries the expedition must explain are the appearance of a huge black monolith in Jupiter's orbit and the fate of H.A.L., the Discovery's sentient computer. Based on a novel written by Arthur C. Clarke.Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I wondered that when the interior of the Leonov (CCCP ship) was so freegin' dim. Or maybe the Ruskies were trying to save power by keeping all of the lights off! That really piqued my curiosity... On the whole, 2010 is an above average, yet not superior movie. If any fans of AC Clarke's series have read the book "The Odyssey File", which chronicles the making of 2010 (the book is composed of e-mail correspondence between Clarke and director Peter Hyams. They were among the first users of e-mail technology - in 1984!) reveals the director's paranoia and even humility as he hopes his film will even come close as a worthy successor to the peerless original. That peerless original, of course, is 2001.
2010 is dated, somewhat forgotten, and does fall short of the power of Kubrick's vision (how many times have you heard THAT before?). But Stan the Man is a hard act to follow. While 2001 is timeless, 2010 reveals its easily dated personality on a couple of occasions. The Cold War theme is the most obvious. The computers, monitors, and graphics used throughout are instantly identifiable, dressed-up Commodore 64-era tech hardware. Roy Scheider's character, Dr. Floyd, instructs his crew to "listen to your cassettes" to receive updates on their mission. Okay, so that line of dialogue wouldn't fly past 1992, when CDs were on the verge of killing the audio cassette star (*). But 2010 is not without merit. It follows its predecessor's footsteps to a faithful degree, filling in the aftermath of the Bowman-HAL fiasco, and the slew of interesting and dangerous ramifications it created.
Peter Hyams obviously set out to create a cerebral, based-in-reality production, unlike the other sci-fi movies of his day, which gave 2010 a distinct image. Return of the Jedi came out the year before, 1983, and the moviegoing public was probably still hot on heels of the Star Wars depiction of space movies, which I assume hurt the box-office chances of 2010.
It is a dated, yet hidden gem, crafted together with solid intentions and performances. The supporting cast of Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, and Bob Balaban play off each other very well and supply some thought-provoking and entertaining moments. The scenes with Bowman and Floyd are gripping, as is the later dialogue between Bowman and HAL. There are no explosions or corny "director tools" used, and the special effects (well, excluding the interior computer sets of the Leonov) were not revolutionary but get the job done.
2010 hasn't enjoyed the staying power of its contemporary brethren (Blade Runner, 1982; the Star Wars trilogy, 1977-1983; Alien/Aliens, 1979, 1986) and is a circle-square comparison to 2001. But it holds its own in many respects and is worth a few repeated viewings.
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