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2010: The Year We Make Contact
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2010: The Year We Make Contact (BD)
A new time, a new odyssey, a new chance to confront enigmas arising from the daring Jupiter mission of 2001. Crew members aboard the Leonov will rendezvous with the still-orbiting Discovery. And their fate will rest on the silicon shoulders of the computer they reawaken, HAL-9000. Based on Arthur C. Clarkes 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel, director Peter Hyams spellbinder nominated for 5 Academy Awards* stars Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Oscar winner** Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban and Keir Dullea.]]>
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1) Writer & director Peter Hyams' 2010 is a genuinely impressive film in terms of both exceedingly-realistic Cinematic-presentation of Space-travel to the moons of Jupiter (filled with intricate technical-details and believable scenes of 'life-in-Space' that still appear quite authentic), along with the intriguing scenario (included in Arthur C. Clarke's '2010' novel of course) setting-forth the vitally-critical joint American-Russian space-mission whose success (or failure) could very-well determine the future viability of 'humanity' itself!
2) Actors Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren, John Lithgow, Bob Balaban (and the cast of actual Russian émigré thespians) go above-and-beyond by giving incredibly authentic and often profoundly-moving performances = displaying conscientious scientists & astronauts forced thru desperate circumstance to Let-go of preexisting suspicions and learn to have faith + trust in their common 'humanity' (and shared interests of simple survival)! A scenario that seemed especially 'heartening' during the frigid depths of the Cold-War 1984......... and one that seems strangely relevant again in the present Day.........
There are a lot of reviews on Amazon for various editions. This review is for the Blu-Ray, not the DVD. Yes, the DVD was a cheap, non-anamorphic quickie release. But rest assured, the Blu-Ray is in anamorphic 1080p resolution and faithfully presents the 2.4:1 image of the original film.
This is a bare bones release, to be sure. The only extras are a 9 minute TV piece about the making of and a theatrical trailer, both in SD. We don't even get a commentary track. Pretty weak, all told.
The picture quality is good, not great. Certainly, it is light years ahead of the old DVD release. But it is nowhere near the level of "2001" on Blu-Ray. Blacks are generally very solid, and detail can be striking in some scenes. Color is also very rich, especially in the space scenes. However, there are three issues with this transfer: One, the additional resolution and color depth easily exposes the matte lines on the 1980's optical effects; Two, there is some color banding and posterization on the monolith itself, presumably this is in the source material, but it should have been fixed; Three, there are several effects shots, mostly space-scapes, which display a sort of horizontal "juddering" back and forth.
Either way, this is as good as the film has probably ever looked, and probably will ever look. It is clear that WB didn't pull out all the stops in cleaning up and restoring this film for Blu-Ray release (as they did for 2001). It probably represents a very faithful transfer of whatever film elements they have in their archive. It thus has strengths and weaknesses. It certainly does things which even a good DVD cannot do. It just doesn't shine the way the best Blu-Rays can (the Blu-Ray release of 2001 among them).
The audio is relatively uninspiring as well. Don't expect a roof-rattling sonic experience which tests all of your surround speakers. It is a very front-loaded soundtrack, but clear enough for what it is.
Many pooh-pooh 2010 as the red-headed stepchild of the "masterpiece" 2001. Well, I'll agree that 2001 has a certain austerity and mystery that make it live in the memory of the viewer. It is a classic. But 2010 is no slouch as an entertaining science fiction film.
In its 2 hours, we are given explanations to some of the mysteries of the earlier film, as well as a continuation of its plot. Also, we are treated to some vintage 1980's Cold War drama. Overall, it is a very tightly paced drama, with good characters and performances (especially Roy Scheider and Helen Mirren), and generally very good effects. It looks, sounds, and plays out like a movie which deserves to rank among the better sci-fi flicks of the past 40 years.
Really, my only beef with it is the production design of the computers. All those bulky CRT monitors really kind of threaten to take me out of the moment, especially when the earlier film maintained such a "timeless" look - but suspension of disbelief puts me back. It is very easy to feel charitable towards this film, given its faithfulness to the material, good acting, and crisp pacing.
At this price, if you're a sci-fi fan and you are purchasing 2001 on Blu-Ray, there's no reason not to get this as a logical companion piece. Seeing as how you can probably own both for under 30 bones, it's pretty much a no-brainer. This is an entertaining film, a fine if slightly problematic transfer (though probably the best we could have expected), and a good buy overall for fans of the original and genre fans in general. It's also a nice movie to have on hand if you introduce someone to the original and are met with frustrated bewilderment on your audience's part.
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