Monday, April 22, 2013

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) Review

For 14 years, people wanted answers to what they saw in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, it wasn't until 1982 that Arthur C. Clarke(writer of the book 2001) decided to write a sequel(without any collaboration with Kubrick). It wasn't until 1984 that people got to see the sequel on screen. But here it is.

10 years after the first movie, Discovery One(still in the La Grange point between Jupiter and Io)'s orbit is beginning to decay. Taking their last chance to find answers to what happened to Bowman and HAL, a Russian-American expedition led by Dr. Heywood Floyd(William Sylvester's robotic role is replaced by the far more charismatic Roy Scheider) goes on the Russian spaceship Leonov to recover Discovery and possibly HAL himself. However, soon enough, TMA-2 contacts the crew...

If there was any movie that you could say "this was made in the 80's", this is it. Unlike the timeless 20012010 shows its age completely. Not only is there a military conflict between the Russians and the Americans in the 21st century, but people still don't have CDs or even normal TVs.
The gracefully white Kubrick-esque design of the Discoevry is barely seen(most of the ship is in fact unseen since the original sets were all destroyed.) and most of the action takes place on the Star Trek-ish Leonov. This isn't a problem, though. You can easily get used to the second ship(why is it so dark there???).

The movie is designed to be an 80's sci-fi movie, not a magnum opus like the first one was. And it is quite clear that the point of this movie is really to explain what happened in the first one and that it does. Despite that, the plot of this movie shines as well and I really, really, really liked the ending even if it was a bit too "and they all lived happily ever after".
The monoliths get the action that they deserve, we get a chilling comeback from Bowman(Keir Dullea) and HAL 9000(Douglas Rain). What more could you want?

Because many people haven't or don't want to watch the first movie, this one starts off with a brilliant introduction in the form of a mission report(the pictures are a bit out of place, but I can live with it) of the Discovery mission that should get newcomers right into the story.

The one thing I found that both 2001 and 2010 share in common is the disuse of actors. Other than Bowman, HAL, Floyd, Dr. Chandra(HAL's creator) and Curnow who are all conveniently not Russians, all of the characters are boring and really do nothing but push buttons, offer useless advice or just glare at the others.
The cuddle scene between that Russian woman(whose name I fail to recall) and Floyd was kinda nice, I suppose. I don't remember what it was supposed to signify in the Clarke novel, but here it just says "Russians and Americans can be together".

Ah, yes I forgot to mention that this movie was twisted into an anti-Cold War movie, due to being in the 80s.
That kinda annoys me since Dune(the movie) came out in the same year and I found nearly no anti-Cold War references there. So it certainly wasn't necessary or even understandable.

No comments:

Post a Comment