Retro Review – 2010: The Year We Make Contact Retro Review – 2010: The Year We Make Contact
With the new and excellent facelift, I thought I should crack my Supernaughts cherry at long last. I’m not the greatest one for the... Retro Review – 2010: The Year We Make Contact

With the new and excellent facelift, I thought I should crack my Supernaughts cherry at long last. I’m not the greatest one for the discipline of writing things down, which is something I admire in all you writey prosemakers out there, but every now and again I have been known to do it. Forgive the rehash of something that was published back in the first weeks of Talkbacker in 2013. It’s still probably one of the best things I’ve ever written (lol), and Slate has kindly allowed me to republish here. So here goes, the Colonel’s praise of a sequel to a much beloved film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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My God, it’s full of stars!

Here’s the thing, I prefer 2010: The Year We Make Contact to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Is 2010 a better film than 2001? Probably not. Kubrick’s masterpiece is just that. A masterpiece. A groundbreaking study in effects, and minimal storytelling. It is a fascinating film, with some big fat ideas to chew on, but it is a cold movie. Not so much fun on the rewatch scale for me. I’ve seen 2001 a couple of times, but I own 2010 on DVD.

Released in 1984, 2010 is an excellent sequel, that picks up the 2001 story almost where it left off. It is the height of the Cold War, and USSR and US are at each others throats over a crisis currently going off in an unnamed Central American country. A strange signal is discovered coming from Jupiter, and both Superpowers want to check it out. Discovery, HAL’s original ship is still abandoned in orbit around Jupiter.The orbit had been stable, but now the ship seems to be drifting inextricably into Jupiter, and will be gone in a year. The USSR has a ship ready to go now, but the Americans are the only ones with the codes for Discovery, and if Russia just goes on their own, then they will have no way of making Discovery tell them what went on, and why HAL killed the original crew. Does it have something to do with the signal from Jupiter?

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So in an act of Détente, USSR agrees to take three Americans in a joint mission. Something that is show to be unprecidented in the current high tension environment that exists between the Cold War empires. The three Americans are Roy Schieder as the Mission Controller from the original Discovery mission (who is still haunted by the seemingly total failure of that mission), John Lithgow as the Chief Engineer of Discovery (the man who can get her going again), and Bob Balaban as the creator and designer of HAL (Bill Gates ultranerd). There is a crew of Russians, including a most foxy late 20’s/early 30’s Helen Mirren (who, fun fact readers, is the daughter of Russian immigrants, and speaks Russian).

After 7 months of hyper sleep, Scheider is woken up first. On the approach to Jupiter, the crew have discovered a strange signal coming from Europa. Also strange reading that hint of possible organic life. Closer investigation discovers a Monolith in orbit over Europa. But not the small, monkey worshiping variety, but a two kilometre monster.

Monnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

They radio back to Earth to discover the situation is at Def Con something bad back at home, and both nations hate the idea of cooperating. But there is still this strange signal from Europa. What to do, what to do?

There are some wonderful sci-fi ideas going on here. Although the FX are of the time, and even look a little Red Dwarf in places, it is not hard to buy into the wonder of the mission. There is a cool as fuck slowing down scene, where the Russian ship has to skim the atmosphere of Jupiter to slow itself down. A theoretic maneuver that has never been tried before. Schneider and a female Russian crew member have their own mini détente, as they cling the fuck to each other in a lifecraft sort of thing, as the ship decelerates thousands of MPH in only a few seconds.

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Another wonderful scene, is the Russian ship putting itself into synchronous orbit with the spinning Discovery, and a Russian, and a shit scared John Lithgow have to launch themselves across space to create a bridge between the two spacecraft. Even with 80’s effects, it is a beautiful scene, as either the ship or Jupiter spin around you. A shot I have seen recently used in the Gravity trailers.

Things progress. Shit gets worse at home, and both crews are ordered to stop working together. The Americans are ordered off the Russian ship back to Discovery, which is considered US territory. But there is still this signal on Europa. And now something strange has started happening on Jupiter too. Shit starts to get metaphysical, and Keir Dullea (Mr. My God, Its Full Of Stars) makes an appearance.

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It is directed with confidence by Peter Hyams. It uses sound design as spacely and cleverly as 2001, and is a strong companion piece, not a souless cash-in.

I shall leave it there, but to add one final thought. The film has one of my favourite lines of dialogue in it ever. A message is sent to Earth. One full of hope for the future.

2010

Now if someone will just make 2061, the next sequel please! I want to know what happens next, and unlike Dave Bowman, I ain’t getting any younger!

Over and frakking out!

2010-the-year-we-make-contact

Author Image

Col. Tigh-Fighter

  • Oh, hell yeas! Welcome, Col!

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    There’s our dude!

  • Abe

    Making a sequel to 2001 seems like an impossible task, but 2010 did pretty frakking good. And welcome Col! Hope you find some time to knock another article out soon.

  • I think Hyams is a greatly underrated director.

  • Capricorn One, Outland, 2010…those are some damn fine films

  • Tarmac492.1

    Nice article mang!! Write some more. This was a solid flick.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Ballsy move. Like Richard Franklin’s Pyscho 2.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Some good Van Dammers, too. I enjoyed The Relic and Stay Tuned, obviously.

  • Abe

    Written by your boy.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice. I too prefer 2010 to 2001, even though 2001 is a classic!

  • Yeah, TimeCop and Sudden Death were some of the best Van Damme-flicks, and the newest – Enemies Closer – was some solid guilty pleasure-material.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Dude is such a solid writer. It also had Meg Tilly, who I would always choose first over the Tilly sisters. Meg had that quiet crazy going on. Giddy-up!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    never saw the last one.Sudden Death and Time Cop were definitely well done.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Another great Cold War 80’s flick, which is also a sequel to a classic is Iron Eagle 2.

  • In enemies Closer, Van Damme plays a vegan, environmentalist drug dealer

  • ErnestRister

    He was playing Seagal?

  • Hah, Seagal has grown too big for these roles

  • Or a drug smuggler, rather

  • ErnestRister

  • Stalkeye

    “Here’s the thing, I prefer 2010: The Year We Make Contact to 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Blasphemy!!! 😛
    All kidding(?) aside, this was a good read Coltigh. I was put off from watching the sequel for over 30 Years because I stubbornly felt that a classic such as 2001, didn’t need a sequel. However, I may give this one a spin.

    I know you’re quite the busy fellow, but i would love to read a new write up from ya.
    Game review? (0;’

  • Stalkeye

    Underrated especially Outland. Where else have you seen “High Noon in Sppaaaaaacccce”?

  • Stalkeye
  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Master class in what? Fake fighting? He’s such an idiot and a fake

  • Stalkeye

    Both literally and figuratively.

  • Stalkeye

    STAGED!! At this point, I could probably kick his Fat Ass.
    WTF happened “Stevie,” too many trips to Dunkin Donuts??
    Thank Buddha for Donnie yen who’s still kicking Ass.

  • Stalkeye
  • Tarmac492.1

    yikes!!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Seagal has the lightning speed of molasses getting bled from a tree.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Hey hey! Glad you liked my little foray into your turf. I shall try and write a bit more in future too.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Yeah, maybe a game review. I’ve been replaying th Tomb Raiders in anticipation for the new TR game.

  • Stalkeye

    Love the TR reboot. Now that shit is on sale for $10 on Xbox one.

    LOL still trying to finish Bloodborne but that Game is for the real hardcore who have plenty of patience!! I’ll go back to Arkham Knight i guess. ):’

  • Stalkeye

    ROTMFF
    Great analogy, Bro!

  • Stalkeye

    True dat! But I liked the Under siege films, Glimmer Man and Marked for Death.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I like his older stuff, just don’t like him.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Wow, she has definitely changed………husband and kids do that to ya…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice job.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    His early movies were good, but his later ones were shit. End of Days, uggghhh…

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Good movie, but not a sequel to Kubrick’s film, despite what some may claim. 2001 was utterly singular and ambiguous, and can brook no sequel. If taken as such, this movie completely ruins the latter.

    This is a sequel to Clarke’s more literal novel, however, and a decent science-fiction movie in its own right.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    End of Days? Wow, how the mighty have fallen.*

    *I’ve got a weird soft spot for this one. It’s the only one where he actually dies in it. Loved Miriam Margolyes chucking a piano at him lol **

    **She recounts it as one of her least favourite filming experiences, and also really didnt like Arnie. Apparently he used to fart and laugh at her all the time LOL

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Not happy with the exclusive deal with X Box shit! 🙁 Im contemplating getting an XBox just for it when it come out. I;m also super jazzed for the Oculus Rift and I’ll need an XBox for that too, Grrr, bastards are always after my money! lol

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Any movie that features the outrageous concept of Arnie Vs. Satan, and then doesn’t climax with The Oak lighting a stogie, pausing, and then saying in a thick Austrian accent: “Hey, hornhead – GO TO HELL!!!!” – before blowing said Devil to smithereens with a bazooka – will always be considered a disappointment!

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    She’s half-Chinese. Also, her sister still looks great at fifty and has a tremendous rack.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Brilliant! I even saw that in my minds eye! lol

    Damn, we miss you first-time round action superstar Arnie 🙁

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    You can also include The Andromeda Strain and Silent Runnings to that too. There were some great sci-fi’s with an edge from back then.

  • KilliK

    he is not. he is a true Aikido master.

  • KilliK
  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    And a reincarnation of a Tibetan prophet, according to the Dalai Lama.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Yes, I would like to poke her.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I guess, they must just hand those out to those that can do all the moves in slow motion! He wouldn’t have made it in todays’ MMA world!

  • Never watched this before. Love 2001 and always assumed this was just a lame cash grab. Might check it out someday though thanks to this fine review.

  • Stalkeye

    LMAO You can blame Sony for starting those exclusive games since the PSX launch 20 years ago. LOL Hey, the main reason of why I purchased a Wii Five Years ago, was so that I can play Tatsunoko vs Capcom. And now I re-purchased a used Wiiu Console for Bayonetta 2. Grrr indeed, Friend.

  • Stalkeye

    Or stress.

  • Stalkeye

    same here.

  • Charlie Kelly, Rat Killer

    SUCK ON THAT ZISS, I AIN’T THE ONLY ONE WHO DIGS 2010!

  • Sagamanus

    Shut up Ronin before I slap you in front of everyone.

  • Sagamanus

    Pulls IAB to the side. Ahh Capricorn One you say!?

  • Charlie Kelly, Rat Killer

    No.

  • Sagamanus

    Alright. Carry on then.

  • Yes (makes wild defensive karate moves)
    What of it?

  • Sagamanus

    I wouldn’t call that film exactly brilliant. I mean the premise is interesting of course it’s what made me search it out in the first place. But it’s quite dated. The Omega Man is too yet I think that film is one of the few that can get away with it…ahh I think. Picks up a VHS copy of Capricorn one and tears one of the corners.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I had an encounter with Jennifer Tilly about 8 months ago. She got a little chunky but still beautiful and an absolute sweetheart. Really nice lady. Looks you in your eyes when she talks to you and seems genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yes they are. I would rank Outland as one of the great genre films of the 80’s. That film Does Not get the credit it deserves. And great score by Jerry Goldsmith. Capricorn One as well. They’re on a double album that I listen to all the time.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    What about Sound of Thunder? I mean, what the fuck was that?

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I had to google that, Never seen or heard of it. And that says it all really. Damn shame,

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It really is. My understanding is that they cut his budget after the film was already shot or something like that. Peter Hyams is one of those great directors that Hollywood seems to love to fuck over. There’s a reason why he’s one of James Cameron’s closest friends. The man trusts him and so do I.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Great article. This is a favorite of mine from the mid eighties. Saw it in the theater in 70mm. By no means do I think it’s as good as 2001. I would have to agree with Kubrick’s assessment of it that it ultimately doesn’t work because it attempts to explain everything from the first film. Now, having said that I’ll also say that there’s so much in this film that DOES work that it strangely doesn’t matter. The casting, the performances, the Richard Edlund special effects work, the cinematography and production design. My God, the production design!
    Literally the only thing about this that doesn’t work for me is the story. And even some of that works. Syd Mead’s design for the Leonov is awesome, inside and out. The first reveal of the Discovery covered in Io’s sulphur and spinning end over end is a terrific introduction to an iconic spacecraft. The space probe skimming the craggy, ice strewn surface of Europa is haunting. The sequence itself is fraught with tension and all over the discovery of chlorophyl!
    Peter Hyams was his own DP on this and he did a superb job. Look at the exterior lighting, all done with a harsh single source lighting reminding us that we are far away from Earth and the only source of illumination is the sun cutting through the cold dark of space. Then the bridge of the Leonov is lit ONLY by the illuminated panels and buttons of the work stations. That’s the sign of a cinematographer very confident in his craft. This film is just beautiful to look at.
    The performances are great. From Bob Balaban’s quiet, touching work to Roy Schieder’s crass but smart Heywood Floyd who is secretly racked with guilt over the original mission. The friendship that develops between Lithgow and his Russian counterpart is funny, moving and never feels forced. Helen Mirren is great as the mission leader who starts out as an ice queens but just can’t maintain it as she gets to know the Americans better and lets a natural warmth slowly seep into her character.
    The scenes themselves are well written and well paced.
    Shit, even the narration works and that’s not easy to pull off!
    The last shot on the surface of a transformed Europa is an awesome use of a practical set model and feels mysterious and very real. A great image to leave your audience with and really makes you want to see this same production team tackle 2061 which is all about the new Europa.
    The only thing really holding this movie back is the baggage it carries over from a film that was so, unique and so groundbreaking that it never needed a sequel. I think if this was an original science fiction film not connected to Kubrick’s masterpiece it would be seen as one of the greatest genre films ever made. A type of science fiction I wish would make it’s way to the screen more often.
    Okay, I’m going to shut up now.

  • TheTruthAsIKnowIt

    Interesing quote from Disqus moderator. If you support free speech help get this clown off Disqus

    Vuppesaurus Rex Mod to TheTruthAsIKnowIt

    Free speech doesn’t apply here.

  • relax

  • S_D_M_F

    Two words: Roy fucking Scheider.

  • Good stuff. It’s one of those forgotten sequels that finally get their deserved re-evaluation, like “Psycho 2”.

  • What do you think about “Cool Runnings”, the lesser sequel to “Silent Runnings”?

  • Bop

    Now that is a big surprise. An article by Col Tigh Fighter. Cool.

  • Bop

    Love Time Cop. Didn’t see Enemies Closer yet.

  • Bop

    You know, I don’t know what Seagal is eating, but I don’t want none of that.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I felt the robots weren’t designed as well/

  • Stalkeye

    XD

  • Welcome to the club, Col.

  • ErnestRister

    If it wasn’t a sequel to one of the greatest films ever made, it would be better regarded. Taken completely on its own terms, its one of the better science fiction films of the 80’s.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Psycho 2 is a great little film. I remember feeling sorry for Anthony Perkins after it.

  • Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Loved this mate. Glad you like it as much as I do. 🙂 The set design is really excellent, I agree. It’s cool to see how much they got right (almost). The “laptop” on the beach was some excellent future forecasting lol

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Oh damn. I forgot about that. How about the Prius that drives by while he’s jogging with his son?

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Nice article Colonel, my only quibble was with changes to the final transmission. In the book ; ” Use them together, use them in peace” was not a part of it. The movie added it and I think its very unsubtle. Makes the monolith aliens seem warm and friendly when they are mysterious.

  • Scopedog

    Give it a spin, Stalkeye. No, it isn’t the venerable 2001, but it is a very good SF film in its own right, and you should also know that Arthur C. Clarke liked the film very much (and even has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it! cameo). Also, the great Syd Mead worked on the design of the Leonov. Peter Hyams received Kubrick’s blessing for the film as well.

    Col. Tigh stuck the landing with this review–it’s a great one.

    (Oh, and just one more thing for bragging rights–I have a copy of the novel for 2010 signed by Clarke himself! It was a birthday present from my aunt who lived close to Clarke in Sri Lanka.)

  • Scopedog

    Seconded on that Grrr, Stalkeye. As much as I’m itching to play HALO 5, I do not have the funds to pick up an X-BoxOne.

    I did play the TR reboot and liked it very much. A helluva lot grittier than the original TR, but it was a great game.

  • Stalkeye

    Will do, Scopo. Hope all is good with ya. Any chance you’ll be at this Weekend’s NYCCC?

  • Scopedog

    Looking much better in terms of health, Stalkeye. And of course, getting a few commissions while job hunting (which is always a good thing). Won’t be able to make it to NYCCC this year, I’m afraid–I did hit a couple smaller cons this year after a spell and I may make it to MOCCA Fest next year. Perhaps next year I’ll also make it to NYCCC too.

    If you are going, have fun! Talk to some cosplay babes too! 🙂