With Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban, Keir Dullea, Douglas Rain (voice of HAL)
Written and Directed by Peter Hyams
Reviewed by JB

WARNING: This review contains spoilers about the film.

     A sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and based on Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: ODYSSEY 2, itself a sequel to the film and not the original novel, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT is an overlooked science fiction from the 80s.  1984 was the year such films as popular films such as THE TERMINATOR and STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK were released, adventure films with action and humor, perfect for the masses.  2010 lacks the  mass appeal of these films, but for fans of the original 2001, it is an intelligent, respectful and often suspenseful sequel to the groundbreaking original.

    Whether a sequel to one of history's most mysterious films was a good idea, I'll leave up to you.  Arthur C. Clarke wrote his book, and a good one it was.  Peter Hyams was so excited by it, he not only wrote the script but also produced and directed it.  The film follows Heywood Floyd (played by William Sylvester in the first film but by Roy Scheider here) on a Soviet-US joint mission to find out what went wrong with the spaceship Discovery.  The joint mission comes at a bad time, when on Earth, the U.S. and Russia are on the verge of possible nuclear war.  The film contains tense sequences of the Russian ship Leonov attempting a looks-good-on-paper maneuver to enter Jupiter's orbit, followed by two astronauts space walking to the Discovery, two scenes that contain more genuine suspense than can be found in the entirety of 2001.

    Although Roy Scheider looks nothing like William Sylvester, and even less like what Heywood Floyd would have looked like nine years after the events of 2001, he easily slips into the role and is infinitely more sympathetic than the intentionally dull and robotic Heywood Floyd of 2001. (Sylvester played that role to perfection, by the way).  What helps the film feel like a genuine continuation of 2001 is the casting of Keir Dullea as the now-corporeal David Bowman and Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL.  No amount of makeup can disguise the fact that Dullea was now fifteen years older in real life, but as in the climax of 2001, his appearance keeps changing anyway, helping to somewhat disguise the passage of time in real life.   31/2 - JB

Science Fiction  The Secret Vortex


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