Movie Review – “2010: The Year We Make Contact”

Here it is, article 2010. Enjoy.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Roy Scheider as Heywood Floyd

John Lithgow as Walter Curnow

Helen Mirren as Tanya Kirbuk

Keir Dullea as Dave Bowman

Douglas Rain as HAL 9000

Screenplay by Peter Hymans, based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel

Directed by Peter Hyams

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

This DVD release includes English and French audio, and English, French, and Spanish subtitles.

Premise

An international mission to uncover the fate of the Discovery has some unexpected results.

High Point

HAL’s last broadcast.

Low Point

Pens are weightless, but people aren’t?

Some Additional Words

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 was a film. This, on the other hand, is a movie. For my definition of the distinction, see the 2001 review linked earlier in this paragraph.

The Scores

This is a decent adaptation of a novel. It is, however, pretty cerebral for a period when Hollywood thought sci-fi should be flash and bang action. I give it 3 out of 6 for originality.

The effects are mixed. Several are good (the Europa shots, for example), while others (the weightless pens) are really lousy. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story in the novel is good, and this leaves it intact, politics and all. It also goes out of its way to reintroduce the human element that Kubrick so deliberately removed from his film. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is pretty good. Some of the Russians are unconvincing in their accents, which seem to take up most of their efforts. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. The human element this includes makes it far easier to identify with the characters, and to care about what happens to them. Add in some really neat scientific discoveries, and the scientist in me is hooked for the duraction. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is competant, but never truly exceptional. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good movie, whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not. Even those uncultured drones who don’t enjoy 2001 can find pleasure in this. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, 2010: The Year We Make Contact receives 31 out of 42.

9 replies on “Movie Review – “2010: The Year We Make Contact””

  1. Babbster says:

    My Reactions to Both Pictures
    I remember the first time I [almost] watched 2001. It was one of the first VHS tapes anyone in my family rented (along with Dirty Harry, as I recall). I fell asleep. To be fair, I was a little kid and there was just no hope of the film keeping my interest. When I saw 2010 (theater), I thought it was great and wondered why 2001 was so boring. The cold war was in space and Earth was on the brink of destruction. This was a conflict that spoke to my paranoid kid’s heart and, as a bonus, didn’t insult my intelligence.

    Of course, later on I realized what an amazing film 2001 was, but 2010 for quite a while held on to its place as my favorite of the two. I eventually got around to reading Clarke’s novels (including the pretty weak 2061) and appreciated 2001 that much more. I still think that Kubrick could have let more Clarke through in his film but I realize now that 2001 is really magical in a way that few science fiction films/movies are.

    My short recommendation is that both movies are well worth having in a collection – Kubrick’s 2001 for the art, Clarke’s (I know, he didn’t direct, but still) 2010 for the story.

  2. joe__gee says:

    Weightless pens …
    I had always assumed the crew were using magnetic shoes. In the background the view behind Floyd and what’s-her-name is not rotating. Only the crew area rotates to simulate gravity. In non-rotating areas the Soviet designers apparently felt there needed to be some sort of stabilization for the gravity-acclimated crew. :)

    I love this movie.

    My personal low point? Sound in space. 2001 did it so well — classical music — not a single puff, engine roar, or whoosh. Why did 2010 stoop to Star Trek/Wars convention and include sound in space? :(

    -Joe G.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Weightless pens …

      I had always assumed the crew were using magnetic shoes. In the background the view behind Floyd and what’s-her-name is not rotating. Only the crew area rotates to simulate gravity. In non-rotating areas the Soviet designers apparently felt there needed to be some sort of stabilization for the gravity-acclimated crew. :)

      Magnetic shoes only go so far. For example, they won’t help when you’re lying in a bunk writing in a journal, as Heywood did during turbulence with nothing to hold him down but an equally weightless cowering astronaut. The one scene with the weightless pens just seemed like it was there to say “yeah, we know these guys are weightless.”

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: Weightless pens …

        I had always assumed the crew were using magnetic shoes. In the background the view behind Floyd and what’s-her-name is not rotating. Only the crew area rotates to simulate gravity. In non-rotating areas the Soviet designers apparently felt there needed to be some sort of stabilization for the gravity-acclimated crew. :)

        Magnetic shoes only go so far. For example, they won’t help when you’re lying in a bunk writing in a journal, as Heywood did during turbulence with nothing to hold him down but an equally weightless cowering astronaut. The one scene with the weightless pens just seemed like it was there to say “yeah, we know these guys are weightless.”

        The crew area rotated though, and that’s where the bunks were located. Although … The rotation was stopped when they entered aerobraking, so Floyd and the lovely Soviet officer (depending on the direction the compartment was facing) would have been standing on the “foot” wall of the bunk compartment, or pressed against the “head” wall , since intense deceleration would have also created a force similar to gravity. As I recall, they were showered with pens and pictures, and they were hunched together against the “head” wall, so they had their backs facing the front of the ship.

        Immediately following aerobraking, before the crew compartment spun back up to one gee, they would have been weightless, and all the little pens and pictures that showered them would have been floating around them. This didn’t happen. There’s the error. :)

        -Joe

        • yodapez18 says:

          Re: Weightless pens …
          oh come on guys, its probably meant to be relative weight, if its only 1/8th normal weight, and there is any kind of airflow, would a pen weigh enough to stay on the ground, people ahve a lot more mass and weight, so decreasing grvity wouldn’t affect them as much

          • fiziko says:

            Re: Weightless pens …

            oh come on guys, its probably meant to be relative weight,
            if its only 1/8th normal weight, and there is any kind of
            airflow, would a pen weigh enough to stay on the ground,
            people ahve a lot more mass and weight, so decreasing
            grvity wouldn’t affect them as much

            The scene that inspired the low point wasn’t about pens
            leaving a surface, it was about Heywood leaving his pens
            floating beside him while working on something. Any
            non-zero gravity would have made that pen fall.

            • joe__gee says:

              Re: Weightless pens …

              The scene that inspired the low point wasn’t about pens
              leaving a surface, it was about Heywood leaving his pens
              floating beside him while working on something. Any
              non-zero gravity would have made that pen fall.

              I just rewatched it. The crew area, which doesn’t include the bridge (Jupiter and the monolith do not rotate in the “you have been drinking your whiskeyy from Kentuckyy” scene) or the Russian pod bay, is rotating constantly, inducing gee. The bridge and pod bay, which do not rotate, have zero gee. The pod bay scene also has a cosmonaut walking down one of the walls.

              I admit that the pen trick is a bit of a surprise, because motion on the bridge seems too fluid for magnetic shoes, but magnetic shoes are indeed the difference between the crew areas (Floyd laying on a bunk writing a journal/ snuggling with a female cosmonaut during aerobraking), and two pens floating on the bridge.

              Again, my low point was the addition of subtle sounds in space. I don’t think any sci fi film has ever handled vaccuum as elegantly as 2001, but everyone has an opinion, and your mileage may vary. :)

              -Joe G.

              • Babbster says:

                Re: Weightless pens …

                Again, my low point was the addition of subtle sounds in space. I don’t think any sci fi film has ever handled vaccuum as elegantly as 2001, but everyone has an opinion, and your mileage may vary. :)

                Well, Serenity is less than a year hence. I doubt that “elegant” will be an appropriate word for the movie overall, but based on the series it should meet your “no sound in space” criteria. :D

                • joe__gee says:

                  Re: Weightless pens …

                  Well, Serenity is less than a year hence. I doubt that “elegant” will be an appropriate word for the movie overall, but based on the series it should meet your “no sound in space” criteria. :D

                  How could I forget about Serenity? It’s been a wierd two weeks. Firefly did so MANY things right. :)

                  -Joe G.

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