2012

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2010

2010 (1984 - PG)

In this Peter Hyams-directed sequel to Stanley Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey, ex-NASA chief Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) leads a joint American-Soviet mission of scientists (including John Lithgow and Helen Mirren) to Jupiter, in an attempt to rendezvous with the abandoned Discovery spacecraft and conduct a forensic investigation of its ill-fated mission. Once there the new crew encounters forces as enigmatic and potentially dangerous as those experienced by former astronaut David Bowman. A discovery is also made about the lethal malfunction of the infamous HAL-9000 computer.

This film could be compared to "Meteor." 2010 features action and FX. Roy Scheider (Sea Quest), is dynamic as the U.S. mission head. The Special Visual Effects are special indeed. Scheider's conversation with a long missing astronaut is one of the highlights of this movie.

The cast includes: Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban, and Keir Dullea.

Directed by Peter Hyams.

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SYNOPSIS...

Nine years after the original Discovery's disastrous mission in "2001", a joint Russian/American team is sent to Jupiter to check out Discovery and determine why HAL 9000, malfunctioned.

When they arrive at Jupiter, it's determined that something, perhaps a life form, is moving on Io, one of it's moons. On Earth, the U.S. and Russia approach war over a Central American issue.

Long missing astronaut, Dave Bowan, mysteriously appears on Earth, to his wife and dying mother. He also appears on the Discovery to Heywood Gould. Many mini-monoliths appear on Jupiter. Following a warning from Bowan, the Russian ship and the Discovery are lashed together and blast off, headed for Earth. The mini-monoliths turn Jupiter into a new sun.

REVIEW...

With 2010, a worthy successor to the enigmatic "2001", Director/Writer, Peter Hyams ("Outland", "Capricorn One"), has created a nearly perfect Sci-Fi/adventure movie.

Roy Scheider is Heywood Gould, the former chairman of the National Council of Astronauts. He organized the original Discovery mission to Jupiter in "2001," (William Sylvester played Gould in that movie), but hasn't been in space in years. He's content to run a ground based, space tracking facility. Then a Russian official (Dana Elcar, who was also in "The Sting"), makes him an offer he can't refuse: hitch a ride with the Russians to Jupiter, board the Discovery, and determine why HAL 9000 malfunctioned, and maybe unravel the mystery of the black monoliths as well.

Scheider ("Sea Quest"), gets together a team to go with him: the engineer who designed the Discovery, (John Lithgow of "Buckaroo Banzai"), and Dr. Chandra (Bob Balaban also in "Altered States"), who designed HAL In the meantime, things are heating up between the U.S. and Russia, concerning a conflict in Central America. The mysteries and wonders that they, and their Russian traveling companions, encounter near Jupiter, make this a space journey well worth taking.

Scheider, as directed by Peter Hyams, brings a great deal of credibility, and humanity, to his role. With his tanned, lined face, world weary eyes, and broken nose, he is an audience-friendly every man, taking the journey for us, so we can stay comfortably home on Earth.

To Hyams' credit, (he wrote the Screenplay, based on Arthur C. Clarke's fascinating novel), some matters from "2001" are resolved, some are expanded upon, and some are left to ponder about. We learn why HAL the computer went berserk: he was asked by his original programmers to lie, and it caused him to freak out. We see astronaut, Dave Bowman, (Keir Dullea), again. Last time we saw him, he was a star child, floating in space. This time, he appears as his old astronaut self, an old man, and the star child. The fact that Dullea has aged amazingly well since 1968 helps make the magic of his astronaut scenes work. Perhaps it's just great makeup.

As far as what the monoliths are all about, Scheider's Floyd speculates, at the end of the film, that they might be, "...an emissary for an intelligence beyond ours. A shape of some kind for something that has no shape." But, we don't really know for sure, and that's one of the joy's of "2010". While it does resolve some of the loose ends left by "2001", others are left to ponder and speculate about. That's the fun of cosmic mysteries; not knowing their answers allows plenty of room for pondering and wondering.

My favorite scene has Lithgow and a Russian (Vladimir Skomarovsky), space walking from the Russian ship to the abandoned "Discovery" space ship. As the non-space friendly Lithgow begins to panic, the Russian, in broken English, jokes with him and calms him down, helping Lithgow to safely make it through his harrowing space walk. As opposed to space epics that presume that all space travelers will have nerves of steel, "2010" puts a real human, with real fears into space, and shows him surviving, and adapting.

The Special Visual Effects are special indeed. Hyams, (who also served as Director of Photography), working with Visual Effects supervisor, Richard Edlund, has delivered some amazing visuals. Whether it's the Russian ship, heading toward Jupiter, the red dust coated, abandoned Discovery, spinning like a thrown baton in space, or the surfaces of Jupiter and its moons, Io and Europa, Hyams dishes out to the viewer some of the most beautiful space art ever captured on film!

The Original Music Score, by David Shire, is classy and moody. He obviously got jazzed with the visuals he was composing for. The results are as ear filling, as the space visuals are eye pleasing. It was wise for Hyams to go with an original Score for "2010", as opposed to the classical Music approach of "2001". What seemed fresh and original, in 1968, would have been old hat and ho hum, in 1984.

"2010" should be watchable for all Sci-Fi fans with a pulse. And you don't even have to have seen "2001," to enjoy "2010," as the earlier film's key story elements are recapped at the start of 2010. By the way, if you haven't seen "2001", shame on you, and you know who you are. Close the pod bay door, HAL!

If you liked 2010 you may enjoy 2001 and/or COUNTDOWN.