2010: The Year We Made Contact (1984) 4.29/5 (3)


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Rating: The Good – 77
Genre: Science Fiction
Duration: 116 mins
Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Helen Mirren

Though on paper this counts as a sequel to Kubrick’s masterpiece, the film is better served if the audience treats it as a stand alone straight-shooting sci-fi. As the latter, this film stands up quite well compared to most space-based science-fiction. It tells a compelling story of a joint US-Soviet mission to Jupiter to investigate a strange mysterious monolith orbiting one of the planet’s moons that may or may not have caused a previous mission to fail and leave the derelict ship adrift. The fact that the new mission is taking place against a backdrop of political instability between the two super-powers strains diplomatic relations between the on-board astronauts and scientists resulting in a climate of distrust. Veteran sci-fi director Peter Hyams (he who gave us the excellent Outland) does a beautiful job with the look of the film (he also took on DP duties) and the special effects are striking even to this day. The acting is first rate with the always great Roy Scheider providing a strong lead and John Lithgow, Bob Balaban, and Helen Mirren all doing well in support. However, operating in the shadow of 2001: A Space Odyssey was never going to be easy and while Hyams is technically adept he (like everyone else) was never going to be able to match Kubrick in terms of his vision. His only real mistake was that he gave it a go and as a result we get a pretty ham-fisted message-laden ending which the film could’ve done without. Minus that ending, however, and this is an excellent film.

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