It’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey, only with more talking and everything is explained!
Screenplay By: Peter Hyams
Directed By: Peter Hyams
2001: A Space Odyssey took us to places we didn’t understand and it didn’t deem it necessary to explain to us what was going on. That film existed in the abstract, in what our minds decided to make out of the images and very few words being supplied to our visual and auditory senses. 2010 is the exact opposite, it is straight up sci-fi suspense, with the visuals and dialogue only serving to explain what is going on, not to excite our minds or create thought and debate. That’s not a bad thing, merely different. There’s nothing wrong with a movie that is made to build to tense situations and deal with minutiae. 2010 is a very different movie from its predecessor 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it is a good movie in its own way.
2010 works in both claustrophobic spaces and the wide open panorama that is outer space. 2010 is about the smaller picture, the lives of the inhabitants of the Alexei Leonov, and what really goes on with Hal. As long as we are following the exploits of the ships, the people and the computers, the narrative of 2010 is compelling. That is because of its adherence to the little things that make up our everyday existence. That is also why the ending is a bit of a letdown. Besides the dialogue hammering us over the head with the fact that something wonderful is going to happen, we are given something rather large and something that doesn’t affect the small characters on a level we can relate to. 2010 was a very small movie that tried to reach too far and become too large in its final moments and it loses its place as a result.
2010 is a worthy follow-up to 2001: A Space Odyssey, albeit not the same type of movie or in the same strata. To use an analogy, 2010 and 2001: A Space Odyssey live in the same apartment building, it just so happens that 2010 lives on the first floor while 2001: A Space Odyssey lives in the penthouse. There’s nothing wrong with living on the first floor, but it isn’t as good as the penthouse. 2010 shudders and shakes at moments, it is too heavy handed and wants to explain too much. However, it is suspenseful and we do care about what happens to the characters. It succeeds as a science fiction picture and it is a movie worth checking out.