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2010: The Year We Make Contact

Posted by Space Tycoon on Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Maybe this belongs in the sci-fi section, but there seems to be more action here.

Anyone else here dig this movie? All things considered it was a thoughtful, intellignet science fiction movie at a time when they were few and far between.

I loved the book. Took it to summer camp with me when I was 11, probably the fond memory I took away from that Gulag for kids.

Although we have nothing like the space tech portrayed in the film, it's interesting to note the paralells.

In the book version of 2010, US and Russia are still run by old-school "dinosaurs with brains in their tails" and are not at all comfortable with working together in space.

In the movie they are sparring off and near war--however, they need each other. The Americans have to rely on primitive--but functional--Russian spacecraft to reach their technologically superior, yet innacessible vehicle.

In today's world, the US and Russia are still largely run by their respective "old guard." the US has it's military-industrial-congressional complex, whereas Russia is ruled by an sinister elite of former KGB officers and oil plutarchs.

Both powers distrust each other, yet both need each other to accomplish certain goals in space. The US at various times has had to rely on the 1960's model Soyuz capsules to reach the ISS, the jewel in the crown of US spaceflight. The proud Russians put up with this relationship because their technology still lags behind the US. Not to mention the fact they have needed the cash.

I wonder sometimes, what are tensions like between the two nationalities whenever there is an international crisis such as the Georgia conflict of 2008? I'd like to think astronauts are beyond that kind of petty nationalism, but who knows.

Anyway, very good movie, great book, not at all prescient unfortunately, lol. I suggest checking it out and wondering at how the present day might have been, once.... if that makes any sense.

Space Tycoon
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Posts: 2464
Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Just an aside, I reeeeaaaaalllllyyy wish you could edit initial forum posts. I'm a bear for spelling and such.

mckracken
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

you can.. just use white out.

Patrick Sauriol
Location: Canada
Posts: 20119
Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

I saw 2010 on opening night back in December 1984. Here's a fun movie trivia question: David Lynch's DUNE and BEVERLY HILLS COP were the other two new releases opening that day. BHC was the one that went on to become a bona fide hit.

I originally felt pretty non-plussed by Peter Hyams' 2010. I didn't hate it but I also wasn't crazy for it because of the changes done to serve the film's budget. I felt that the removal of Dave Bowman's voyages through the cloud tops of Jupiter and the deep oceans of Europa and the excising of the doomed Chinese spaceship on Europa's surface really took out the hard sci-fi elements from the story.

Looking back now I have a better appreciation of 2010. I still think that it could have been a much more fantastic movie had the Jupiter/Europa sequences been included but I also understand that it was likely beyond the FX capabilities to pull it off back then, much less the prohibitive cost of including both of these sub-plots and the fact that they didn't make use of the film's bigger stars.

I don't think that I would include 2010 on my top ten list of hard sci-fi movies but having real science behind the Io Discovery rescue sequence is certainly underappreciated. I also think 2010 started off with a liability in the moviegoing public's perception because it wasn't one of Kubrick films.

P.S. to Space Tycoon: I'm gonna get the developers to fix the problem of not being able to edit original posts. I can and I'll go back and fix up yours.

No matter where you go, there you are.
Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Thanks, Patrick, appreciated.

You know, I feel the same way about the changes made from book to movie. I was quietly hoping for a revisiting of the story in some medium, in time for this year. Say, a 2- or 3- part miniseries, where you would have time to flesh out everything Clarke envisoned, including the Chinese, more about HAL and Dr. Chandra, Bowman's new heightened state of existence, the Europan/Jovian lifeforms, and some of Clarke's philosophical ideas.

It worked for Dune, could have made a nice re-invisioning for 2010.

I read 2061, I don't think it really needs to be made into a movie. Haven't read 3001, but I see it has it's collection of fans. I don't think the Odyssey series really lends itself to "franchised," in that way. One thing is sure, however--there's enough name recognition and nostalgia value that someone will probably eventually release some new film or tv entry based on either of the two later books, or perhaps some melange from all four.

Bill_the_Only
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

I enjoyed the book, but the movie was a bit of a letdown...even back then, Peter Hyams never really instilled a lot of faith in me as a filmmaker. Competent, but not visionary. That's pretty much the way I feel about the movie itself.

Visually, it doesn't hold a candle to 2001, and really, how can it? But if you even take that away from the equation, I think the effects in a lot of places were just...okay.

Great cast, though, for the most part.

Candice Bergen supplied the voice for SAL 9000. "I would like to ask a question. Will I dream?"
Bob Balaban's always been a favorite as well, even though Dr. Chandra was from India in the book.

Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

I disagree. The space effects looked--and continue to look-- as believable as anything else at the time, if not more so. Leonov is my idea of a spaceship.

The sequence over Io alone is excellent, both from a dramatic and technical point of view.

Patrick Sauriol
Location: Canada
Posts: 20119
Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

I think that the FX stills hold up pretty well, especially considering no one knew what Io's surface looked like just five years earlier.

Weird to think that Peter Hyams is the only director to make two movies that feature Io so prominently, and that were almost made back-to-back (OUTLAND in 1981, 2010 in 1984). If humans ever get to colonize Io it's a guarantee that someone will name a base or settlement after him.

No matter where you go, there you are.
Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

No doubt.

Imagine my heartbreak when I found out that the level of radiation in inner Jupiter space is beyond belief! Nothing could live there for long, without massive (and therefore expensive) shielding.

Now Saturn, and the other gas giants... different story.

CadderlySoaring
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Awesome discussion, Space. Sorry I'm not adding anything here but it's been a long day and pillow is calling. But I love reading these types of threads. Miss them so much from the Phenom days. Maybe tomorrow when my brain is working again.

Bill_the_Only
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Well, no disrespect is meant. I remember being very into this back in its day, had the poster by Syd Mead in my cubicle at work, had the laserdisc.... but over the years, it just didn't keep the same staying power with me. Yes, the Io space walk is very nice, and Hyams connection with Io in this movie and Outland is definitely a curious one (even though mining for titanium on Io seems strange at best, but Outland is another discussion). The movie IS filled with some lovely science fiction concepts, but for me, the ultimate experience here is and always will be 2001, and I find it difficult to include this as canon, simply because of the pedestal I've put 2001 upon personally, with its mystery, lyrical beauty and loneliness.

But something still does not sit right with me with the Jupiter effects. The cloud patterns and animation and color saturation just don't sit right with me. They aren't by any standards BAD..... just decent. Again, personal.

But like I said before, great cast.

Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Oh, don't get me wrong, nothing can take the place of 2001. But 2010 has never really gotten the respect it deserved, imo, (Outland, too) largely because of the long shadow cast by the former.

I think a faithful interpretation of the book would have been awesome.

Bill_the_Only
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

I think one thing, and it's just a detail, but it's one of those things that is definitely noticed, if only subconsciously..... The monitors and readouts. 2001's screens were flat, and rear-projected images. 2010 featured bulky CRT monitors with then "state of the art" "computer readouts" that even then, looked simple and hokey compared to the readouts in 2001. (Now we have true flat LCD screens, soon to be LED screens, that pretty much equate the technology as depicted in 2001)

But, in the 80's, computer graphics were always very simple looking and a bit on the overdone side....I'm a fine one to talk, my first computer was a Commodore Amiga with an expansion card that gave me an entire megabyte of RAM and the paint program I used, Deluxe Paint, to develop graphics for a software game.... well, in low res (320 x 200), I had a palette of 32 colors, with the tradeoff being that if I wanted to work in a higher resolution, I only had 16 colors.

I think the look of the Leonov evoked a lot of what we saw in the Nostromo in ALIEN, too...but these again are just little quibbles. Shoot, now I'm gonna have to pull out the DVD and play it. 8^p

Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 26 weeks ago

I guess you have to look at 2001 and 2010, now, as a kind of alternate reality story rather than a futuristic story. I can see an American approach to deep space travel, if it was happening in this decade, as incorporating state-of the art items such as flat screens and so forth.

I can also see the Soviets being a little behind in some ways, or looking to cut costs wherever possible. No luxuries. New tech where necessary, old tried-and-true hardware wherever possible, even re-used. That seems to be the Russian Way when it comes to the military or space. I mean, the Russian Army still use AK-47s from the 60's. Why? Because they are reliable and they work.

Just my opinion, not an expert in Russian aerospace. :D

Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

And yeah, the Nostromo was definitely channelled when they were designing the Leonov. But again, that's what I see when I think of plausible spacecraft. The Leonov is basically a submarine with a nuclear rocket. And to me, that works.

Thing that gets me is, the movie version of the Leonov has a rotating section to simulate gravity, like the Discovery. Fine. So how come we see crewmembers walking from section to section as if they were only on one level? Shouldn't there be some sense of moving along the perimeter of some radial mechanism, as in Kubrick's movie?

It's just a thing with me.

Clarke avoided the whole problem by making his Leonov a zero-gee ship. Which again makes sense from a Russian perspective. Gravity is an expensive luxury.

Bill_the_Only
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Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

That's a thing with me with ALL movies involving space travel, as if everything is on the same plane, and it takes me out of it every single time. Okay, I exaggerate there, but it's always on my mind. I just chalk it up to visual shorthand.

Yes, the Russians I see as much more utilitarian.

The Mid Century design in 2001 is something that I just love. The wheel space station, its interiors...those lounge chairs, I would love to have a set of those chairs. They are much smaller than they look, designed by someone named Djinn, and they were already in the MGM prop department and pulled for use in the movie. When you can find them on auction (or for sale or whatever) they are usually in major need of refurbishing, all the way down to the frame.

http://www.2001spacesuit.com/Djinn.html

I don't much care for the pink upholstery, either. In the movie they look more red.

I popped the movie in last night and there are things in the movie that are very admirable, and some less so...but overall, it's a sci-fi movie made with integrity and not out to pull a Lucas or Bay on you.

Lithgow annoys me, though, and if I remember correctly, in the novel, allusions were made to him having a relationship with the Russian character that he connected with...which also, if I am not mistaken, does NOT die in the book, like he does in the movie, something that really annoyed me.

Oh...Arthur C Clarke cameo in the movie, he's feeding birds while sitting on a park bench in front of the White House.

Also, Dr. Heywood Floyd had a little girl in 2001 (played by Vivian Kubrick, Stanley's daughter). no sign of her in this movie. As much as I love Roy Scheider, I would have preferred to see the actor that played Floyd in the first movie. But there's my prejudices leaning towards the first movie popping up again. ;^)

ANd the USS Discovery has got to be one of my top 2 or 3 favorite movie spaceships ever. It's HARD to find a good model of it, without finding some 10 thousand dollar garage kit.

Space Tycoon
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Posted: 9 years 26 weeks ago

All the more reason for there to be a re-envisioning of the whole thing... if viable.