2010: The Year We Make Contact

2010: The Year We Make ContactDr. Heywood Floyd, the mission director of the Discovery mission, resigned after the ambiguous conclusion of that flight, a scapegoat for the U.S. government and the press to blame for the disastrous outcome. The Soviet Union offers Floyd a berth on a Jupiter-bound Soviet mission which will get to the derelict Discovery long before an American follow-up mission can be launched. Despite a precarious political standoff taking place between the two superpowers, Floyd talks the U.S. government into allowing him to go on the Soviet flight along with two other Americans – Walter Curnow, the Discovery’s original designer, and Dr. Chandra, the eccentric computer genius who created the HAL 9000 computer.

The Russian spacecraft Leonov arrives in Jupiter’s vicinity three years after leaving Earth, and Dr. Floyd is awakened from cryogenic hibernation prematurely by captain of the Leonov, Commander Kirblik. The Leonov’s instruments have detected unusual chemical reactions occuring on the icy Jovian moon of Europa, and a remote-controlled probe is launched to investigate. The probe is destroyed by an unknown force, but not before it detects chlorophyll, a necessary component of plant life. Upon reaching Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, Curnow and cosmonaut Bralovsky spacewalk from the Leonov to the Discovery, finding no trace of missing astronauts Bowman or Poole. Reactivating Discovery’s power systems, Curnow gets control of the older spacecraft and follows the Leonov away from the orbit of Io. Chandra manages to restore HAL, and the mission is now underway. The two ships reach the enormous monolith, and very strange things begin happening. Two important discoveries are made: the true motive behind HAL’s murderous behavior, and Earth’s solar system is about to change…forever.

Download this episodescreenplay by Peter Hyams
based on the novel 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke
directed by Peter Hyams
music by David Shire and Craig Huxley

Cast: Roy Scheider (Heywood Floyd), John Lithgow (Walter Curnow), Helen Mirren (Tanya Kirblik), Bob Balaban (R. Chandra), Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Douglas Rain (HAL 9000), Madolyn Smith (Caroline Floyd), Dana Elcar (Dimitri Moisevitch), Taliesin Jaffe (Christopher Floyd), James McEaching (Victor Milson), Mary Jo Deschanel (Betty Fernandez), Elva Baskin (Maxim Bralovsky), Savely Kramarov (Vladimir Rudenko), Oleg Rudnik (Vasili Orlov), Natasha Shneider (Irina Yakunina), Vladimir Skomarovsky (Yuri Svetlanov), Victor Steinbach (Mikolai Ternovsky), Jan Triska (Alexander Kiovalev), Larry Carroll (Anchorman), Herta Ware (Jessie Bowman), Cheryl Carter (Nurse), Ron Recasner (Hospital Neurosurgeon), Robert Lesser (Dr. Hirsch), Olga Mallsnerd (SAL 9000), Delana Michaels (Commercial Announcer), Gene McGarr (Commercial Announcer)

Oops: At no point in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 did Bowman ever say “My God, it’s full of stars” (though he does say it at the end of Clarke’s original novel). Also, 2010‘s more “modern” spacesuits made the replica of the 2001 spacesuit look streamlined and sleek – 2010‘s designs heavily reference the Apollo moon suits, but the 2001 suits seem much more advanced, if a bit less realistic. Also, check out Floyd’s amazing portable Apple IIc “luggable” computer – a 1984 model still in service in 2010 (not entirely impossible, since there’s still a working IIc used for Phosphor Dot Fossils reviews).

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green

2010: The Year We Make ContactReview: As flawed as this movie is – and I’m not even counting the very dated Cold War subplot as one of its flaws – it makes a nice counterpart to 2001. For all of the earlier movie’s clinical coldness, 2010 is full of tension, emotion and mystery – a somewhat more accessible mystery than the unexplained metaphysical phenomena that typified 2001. However, 2001 scores over 2010 in many areas, including its length; even at over two hours, 2001 barely seemed long enough, but 2010 needed more time to play out. The voice-over narratives are necessary, but even so, the story seems rushed. Roy Scheider and John Lithgow are two of my favorite American actors, hands down, and Scheider is largely responsible for the movie’s success. The Discovery sets are reproduced well – minus, you’ll note, the immense circular flight deck – even if the original movie’s subtle zero-gravity effects are not. Subtlety is not a strong point of 2010. Its predecessor relied on the audience to pick up on certain cues from the actors, but 2010‘s Cold War politics are relentlessly Reaganesque, and the all-too-literal “message” at the end of the movie hits the viewer with all the gentle grace of an airliner bursting through a piece of paper. And the music, though nice, seems oddly pedestrian next to the timeless classics with which Stanley Kubrick tracked 2001; 2010‘s music sadly comes across as all-too-typical “space adventure” music. Some Holst or Strauss would not have come amiss.

However, it could have been much, much worse. Arthur C. Clarke’s “2010” novel contains many of the elements of the same story, but replaces the out-of-date Cold War political tensions with a boring, if optimistic, sugary-sweet lack of any tension whatsoever between the American and Russian crews, and dwelled even longer than the film did on the damn-near-superfluous “Jupiter aerobraking” scene. Not that this was an unrealistic sequence – aerobraking being the method of delivery used to get the Mars Pathfinder to its target in 1997 – but in the movie, it took on the feeling of being Yet Another Terrible Peril for our heroes to face. Though it can never hope to eclipse 2001, 2010 gives its progenitor some much needed closure.