Reviewed by: Kevin Burk
“2010” is the sequel to the much-acclaimed, ground-breaking science fiction film “2001”. While the sequel is a continuation of the original storyline, this film is much more of a traditional action, sci-fi film than its predecessor.
The plot of the film centers around the “monolith”, a strange, black rectangular object, believed to be of unknown, alien origin. In 2001, the United States sends the spaceship Discovery to investigate a monolith circling Jupiter. Along, the way, HAL, the ship’s on-board computer with a human-like personality, malfunctions and apparently kills the entire crew. Scheider plays Dr. Heywood Floyd, head of the U.S. space program. Floyd feels personal responsibility for the loss of the Discovery’s crew and is determined to return on the next Jupiter mission to investigate. In the year 2010, Floyd accepts an offer, along with two other U.S. crewmen, to accompany a Soviet expedition to Jupiter to investigate the monolith accepts. Upon arriving, the American-Soviet crew discovers some startling facts about the monolith and the reason for its presence around Jupiter. The American crew also reactivates the Discovery, and HAL, discovering HAL had malfunctioned on the previous mission due to conflicting orders in his programming, producing a kind of paranoia.
This film has much to recommend. The acting is excellent, especially the performances of the largely unknown Russian ensemble. The special effects are superb, remarkably conveying both the serene beauty and the coldness of outer space. There is no violence, yet lots of exciting action, with a small smattering of profanity throughout. However, the story is based on Arthur C. Clarke’s original novel. Clarke was and is a committed humanistic atheist and his naturalistic view of the universe is evident in the story. Yet, this film has a very hopeful and positive message concerning peace and brotherhood, in spite of its worldview.