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>
If you fail to hear the Russian word for "four" in the countdown spoken by Tanya Kirbuk (Helen Mirren), the reason is that the word was deleted in versions later than the theatrical release and the early VHS versions because of Mirren's mispronunciation of "chih-TEE-reh" as "chee-TYE-ree". See more »
It's definitely a division maker, a film that splits it's viewers down the middle. If you're a 2001 fan then you'll hate it - the sense of mystery and discovery is lost as events and motivations are layed-out and explained every step of the way. If you didn't like 2001, wondering aloud what the heck you just saw, I suggest you do see 2010 since you'll love the directness of the workmanlike treatment.
It's not a a put-down - it's just that the styles are so completely different that you have to consider the messenger as much as the message. 2001 was visionary in nearly every sense the word has -- it threw out the concept of the narrative (visual or otherwise) in an attempt to make you reach your own, personal conclusion of what happened. Rebirth? Ascension? Some Nietche-ish evolution to a "superman"? You tell me -- 2001 expects quite a lot from the viewer that 2010 would much rather even mention.
By comparison, 2010 is very much an old-fashioned Hollywood movie. It explains *everything*, step by step, and includes a Roy Scheider voice-over to help thread the small gaps in time between scenes together. The voice over is often beyond silly - it's in the lyric of a series of emails from Heywood to his wife who, it should be noted, is fearful for her husband's safety. Any spouse sitting through a reading of the atmosphere braking technique will probably not sleep for weeks. Any husband who could write that deserves a slap for scaring the beegeezus out of her.
2010 is not a strong film - frankly, it's quite derivative. It's visual sensibilities leech directly into "Alien" while inside the spacecraft (from the control buttons and displays on the Russian craft, to the lighting of the of EVA room as Baskin and Lithgow take their walk to Discovery, to the smoky "atmosphere" in the interiors when discussing the "troubles" at home). Outside, Hyams tries and is successful in the sense of scope and grandeur of space, and out pitiful size in relation to the course of the Universe. While he apes Kubrick, probably to establish a sense of continuity between the two films, he is at his best in the action scenes as the Leanov (sp?) enters Jupiter space. Either way, you watch this movie and get the feeling you've seen it all before.
To be fair, Scheider is very good in his role of Heywood Floyd, that is if you dismiss the style of the previous occupant of that role, William Sylvester, as only a Kubrick mannequin. Again, the camps are divided -- I believe I understand the tact Kubrick chose to take, the sense of human alienation and evolutionary boredom, and while 2010 puts "real people" in space and makes the voyage to the stars more human, this wasn't the goal of Kubrick. Kubrick wanted to show man at a spiritual, cultural and evolutionary dead-end, and so human reactions (like 2001's Bowman going after HAL) only escape from people as their vestiges of civilization fail them. Different approaches, different movies. So why compare them? Well, life's just not fair, now is it?
If you really don't need to compare the two, you can enjoy 2010. It's not a bad film, it just doesn't give much credit to the intelligence of the audience. That may not be a bad thing, so long as it's entertaining (insert Jim Carrey/Adam Sandler joke here) and 2010 can be entertaining at times. So long as you dismiss 2001 as a separate work of art.
If you have the time and the patience, see 2001 twice, giving yourself a week or two to let it all set in, and then remember that not everything in the Universe has added value by being strictly described.
Actually, whenever I watch 2010, I often wonder if Bob Balaban, hanging in HAL's memory center, is really as nauseous as he appears. And to the people who believe Kubrick was egotistical for destroying his sets, he did so because of what happened after Spartacus: Once production has ceased and the company left Italy, nearly every gladiator film of the '60 were shot on his old sets, some even coming out before Spartacus did.
Stanley Kubrick and Steve Reeves? Now THAT'S the ultimate trip...
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