That goes without saying Stanley Kubrick‘S 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the best and most influential films of all time. It’s rare that a film that’s over five decades old can still garner the same level of discussion and analysis. The film broke barriers with its groundbreaking depiction of space travel and featured groundbreaking special effects that predated both the actual moon landing and the renewed popularity of space movies war of stars in 1977. Hal-9000 remains one of the scariest villains in film history.
One of the greatest things about 2001: A Space Odyssey is its ambiguity. The secrets of the Stargate, the fate of the characters, and what the monolith represents are shrouded in mystery, which is why film fans continue to analyze the text to this day. cubic and Arthur C Clarke was notoriously reticent when discussing the film in subsequent interviews; it’s up to viewers to interpret it for themselves.
The thought of a sequel 2001 seemed unthinkable. Not only is it nearly impossible to continue the legacy of the first film, but any sequel could shatter this beautiful mystery that was so meticulously orchestrated. Kubrick famously pleaded with MGM not to push a follow-up, only reluctantly accepting the reality when Peter Hyams was hired to direct. 1984, 2010: The year we make contact continued the chronology of the first film and picked up nine years after that discovery one ship disappeared.
Against all odds, Hyams managed to create a respectful sequel. It’s impossible to call 2010 worthy 2001but that’s a critique that could be launched virtually any Movie. 2010 doesn’t try to “solve” the first film, and the two are actually very different in what they’re trying to do. Instead of telling a grand epic about human evolution and the birth of consciousness, 2010 is a space adventure that presents a message of hope for peace beyond the stars. The 1968 prophetic account of space travel seemed optimistic in 1984; NASA was at a turning point in real life, and 2010 had a positive portrayal of astronauts and their mission.
2010 follows American scientist Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider), who is assigned to join a Soviet mission to find the discovery before crashing onto Jupiter’s moon. The United States space program is not exactly sure what went wrong on the first flight, but it is suspected that HAL-9000 either went rogue or failed in flight. Floyd is accompanied by the discovery‘s architect Walter Curnow (John Lithgow) and HAL’s designer Dr. Chandra (Bob Balaban), and they reluctantly agree to make peace with the Russians when it becomes clear that no American mission can reach them discovery punctual.
while searching for discovery uses the events of 2001 to start the story, the rest 2010 does not focus on bridging the gap or continuing many of the same events. New recordings from 2001‘s main character Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) in conversation with his widowed wife Betty Fernandez (Mary Jo Deschanel) serves a representational purpose more than anything, and it actually helps create an emotional connection with Bowman by establishing what his life on earth was like. 2001 is a masterpiece in almost every way, but not a particularly heartfelt film. 2010 really had empathy for the characters as they reflected on how their monumental choices will impact the future of space travel.
Instead of focusing on nostalgic teasing, 2010 deconstructs how each of these background players is affected 2001‘s events. Imagining HAL’s creator doesn’t explain his actions, since Chandra is just as confused about HAL’s intentions as everyone else. He asks an interesting question; What do you do when your creation has surpassed you? Balaban peels back the mind of an idiosyncratic developer who literally talks to computers all day without relying on idiosyncrasies. It’s a surprisingly compelling portrayal of the details of the programming, and early scenes of Chandra communicating with other missions show how distinct HAL was from its original vision.
The real centerpiece of the film is Scheider’s performance as Floyd. Floyd asks the same question Kubrick did when he heard about the sequel: Why tempt fate? Floyd is skeptical about the search discovery when it is clear that something bigger is at stake and he is skeptical of the Soviet Union’s intentions. However, he is far too curious and empathetic to finally give up the ship. Floyd is remarkably forthcoming in his interactions with the Russians; In 1984, the coexistence of the two competing space programs seemed unthinkable.
It was a unique time for 2001 to schedule its events. The amazing technological achievements in 2001 were unlike anything viewers had ever seen before in 1968, however 2010 is set in a chilling parallel to the Cold War era. 2001 didn’t have to flash back to events on Earth because it was all existential focused. The homebound scenes in 2010 Increase suspense by basing the story on events that the audience can recognize. While Floyd and his team continue to frantically search for clues discovery‘s Wearababout, the Soviet Union and the United States are nearing war.
This concept of space travel as a unifying force ties into Bowman’s role in the story. Bowman was discovered to have sent HAL a message promoting world peace prior to his disappearance, which is picked up by the crew. Again, this news isn’t specifically associated with HAL, but it does provide some insight into what Bowman may have done discovery Mission went as planned. The film, however, pays tribute to the first film’s ambiguous qualities in its final moments. A beautiful ending sequence, in which the monolight transforms Jupiter into a new star, maintains the existentialism of 2001and manages to provoke an interesting debate of its own.
Peter Hyams is an interesting filmmaker. It is best known for flaky genre dishes as well Capricorn One, Outland, Sudden Death, and time copbut 2010 is a slower film than his previous works. Hyams worked in an established genre, and his focus on world-building around tech helped 2010 some elegant visuals. The beautiful design of the film was still able to stand out from the plethora of science fiction films in the 1980s. He received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, and Best Makeup.
The 1980s were marked by the rise of the blockbuster era that had begun in the late 70s jaw and war of starsand the days of thought-provoking science fiction draw closer 2001 were a distant memory. 2010 brought back an art house quality that was sorely missed. There is no inherent reason to make a sequel 2001but this movie does does exist is worth another look for skeptics.
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