Film: 2010: The Year We Make Contact aka: Two Thousand Ten
My God, it's full of stars!
2010: The Year We Make Contact, directed by Peter Hyams and released in 1984, is the film adaption of 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke (published 1982). It is the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Following the continuity established by that movie rather than the original novel (for the most part, anyway), it is about the second manned mission to Jupiter, following up on the mysterious disappearance of David Bowman aboard the ill-fated Discovery mission nine years earlier.Dr. Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider), an astronomer who took the blame for the failure of the Discovery, is tapped to go on the mission along with two other U.S. scientists — engineer Dr. Walter Curnow (John Lithgow), who is tasked with boarding Discovery and restoring its systems; and computer scientist Dr. R. Chandra (Bob Balaban), who designed the H.A.L. 9000 and is seeking to answer the question of why it malfunctioned and tried to kill its crew.Their mission is complicated by the fact that they are traveling aboard a Soviet spaceship, the Alexei Leonov, whose crew is not at all friendly to their presence and may be operating under a completely different set of orders. In addition to exploring Jupiter and salvaging Discovery, they must also try to solve the mystery of the Monolith, an enormous alien artifact orbiting the planet that is apparently connected with Bowman's disappearance. And of course, the creators of the Monolith have an agenda all their own, one that might alter the future of humanity forever.The film 2010 was viewed by some as a Genre Shift due to the change of directors and tone. It's much more of an action film, concentrating on the conflicts between the Russian and American crews and the dangers they face in their exploration of Jupiter. It follows the plot of the novel 2010 fairly closely, although the Cold War-becoming-hot aspect is completely invented for the film and the time scale dramatically compressed.The novel has two more sequels in the Space Odyssey series: 2061: Odyssey Three and 3001: The Final Odyssey.
This novel and film provide examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: Depending on your point of view, the Cold War tension either makes the movie much more dramatic or is completely superfluous to the plot. The time scale of the events in the book is heavily compressed — it's more dramatic when you have two days to get away than two weeks. The Chinese spaceship Tsien and its subplot regarding the Europa landing is completely removed in the movie, replaced by the Leonov detecting life signs on Europa and sending an unmanned probe. Other less relevant subplots are removed entirely, such as Floyd's marriage break-up and the romantic relationships between the crew; while Max's death during an EVA to the Monolith was added for the film.
A Form You Are Comfortable With: When Bowman (as the Star Child) returns to give a warning to Floyd, he creates a projection of himself as a human to give Floyd something to talk to.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Deconstructed. The reasons for HAL's "malfunction" are thoroughly explored and it turns out he was acting in a way that, to him, was completely logical. Since his core function is to freely disseminate information with as much accuracy as possible, being ordered to conceal the existence of the Monolith caused a Logic Bomb in his program. To solve it, HAL concluded that if he killed the crew, there would be no-one left for him to lie to, thus allowing him to continue on with the mission by himself.
All There in the Manual: The novel contains a lot more story details than the film, of course, but these details fill in a number of Plot Holes, the largest of which is why Floyd is unable to provide evidence of Bowman's visitation and why HAL doesn't remember it (Bowman erased it from HAL's memory).
Not to mention "My God, it's full of stars!" Those who only saw the film 2001 were completely confused by this final message by Bowman that they couldn't recall him saying.
Apocalyptic Log: The last survivor of the Chinese expedition in the novel broadcasts what happened when they encountered life on Europa.
Arc Words: Compare Dr. Chandra's answers for the same question from SAL and HAL.
SAL: Will I dream? Dr. Chandra: Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why.
HAL: Dr. Chandra, will I dream? Dr. Chandra: I don't know.
Artificial Gravity: Averted in the novel and used somewhat schizophrenically in the movie: the rotating environment module of the Leonov was apparently made up by the art team so they could justify having the actors walking normally on the set, even though it doesn't make sense at all from a design standpoint. The novel states and some filmed scenes imply that the astronauts use Velcro-soled shoes to help them stay "upright".
Selective Gravity: On the bridge, Floyd uses two pens floating in microgravity to illustrate how the spaceships can escape from Jupiter. Only the pens are floating - everyone around the demonstration is standing on the floor.
You can try to explain the problem of gravity on the bridge by saying everyone's wearing magnet-soled shoes (as in the original movie - though magnetic shoes don't create gravity for the rest of the body), but you can't get around the scene where Floyd offers Kirbuk the squeezebottle of bourbon, because the liquid behaves like it's under gravity.
Although the depictions of Jupiter and Io were based on Voyager photos (see Shown Their Work), most people don't realize that Voyager's photos as they're usually published are in false color: the color saturation is heavily exaggerated, especially for reds, and this color scheme is carried through in the movie.
Author Appeal: Clarke's interest in alien aquatic life, such as on Europa, probably comes from his scuba-diving hobby. For 2001 he wrote a long passage about Bowman in his pod passing through an ocean on an alien world, which was cut out of that novel but included in The Lost Worlds of 2001.
Bigger on the Inside: The Leonov isn't so much bigger on the inside, like the Discovery was in 2001, but rather its interior sets are entirely the wrong shape to fit into its hull. The sets looked like they were all built on the same level to facilitate Walk and Talk shots.
Bollywood Nerd: Unbuilt Trope. Clarke, who lived in Sri Lanka, made Dr. Chandra an Indian computer scientist in the novel before it became a popular stereotype. This is made moot in the film, with Dr. Chandra portrayed by the Caucasian and Jewish Bob Balaban.
Call Back: Peter Hyams tried to make this movie as different from 2001 as possible, with a few exceptions —
American spacesuits are white; Soviet spacesuits are silver.
Computer Equals Monitor: Before discussing HAL's malfunction with the crew, Chandra tells HAL, "If you will excuse us, we wish to have a private conversation." He hits a few keys on the HAL console in Discovery's pod bay and the monitor turns off. However, the red light in HAL's camera lens is still on. And if you really wanted to be paranoid, there's still another HAL camera looking through the window of the pod bay control room.
Constantly Curious: Christopher Floyd, when he asks his father why he needs to go into hibernation.
Creator Cameo: Arthur C. Clarke appears as a man on a park bench in front of the White House.
Creator In-Joke: In one scene, the cover of Time magazine appears with portraits of Clarke and Kubrick as the U.S. president and Soviet premier, respectively.
Cut the Juice: Floyd and Curnow install a cutoff switch in HAL's wiring as a safeguard against a repeat of the 2001 incident. Subverted when Chandra reveals that he anticipated their ploy and removed the device.
Dawn of an Era: "The next day, the President of the United States looked out of the White House window, and the Premier of the Soviet Union looked out of the Kremlin window, and saw the new distant sun in the sky. They read the message, and perhaps they learned something, because they finally recalled their ships and their planes."
The Russian crew of the Leonov start out acting paranoid toward the Americans, but grow more friendly toward them as the space scenes advance. However, when events on Earth reach a flashpoint, the Americans are sequestered aboard Discovery.
The Alexei Leonov was originally supposed to be named the Gherman Titov, who was the second cosmonaut and the first man to spend a day in space. Apparently, Titov "fell out of favor". In Real Life, Titov died in 2000. Leonov was still alive in 2010.
Do Androids Dream?: HAL's poignant question, "Will I dream?" is never truly answered. Early in the film, another computer asks the same question, and Chandra says "Of course, all intelligent creatures dream, and nobody knows why." When HAL asks it when he knows he may be dying, Chandra decides on the honest answer: "I don't know." This honesty is what persuades HAL to make his Heroic Sacrifice. Dave is more reassuring, telling HAL that he will be wherever Dave is now.
Do-Anything Robot: The Monoliths. They can teach potentially intelligent lifeforms how to hunt with weapons, transmit a radio signal when exposed to light, serve as an interdimensional transportation system, reproduce themselves, compress Jupiter's mass to initiate fusion and destroy probes attempting to land on Europa. In the novel, Curnow explicitly compares them to Swiss Army Knives.
Duct Tape for Everything: Played for humor in the novel — when the astronauts are connecting Leonov to Discovery in order to use the latter as a booster, they use a lot of... tape. Very strong tape, but still.
HAL joins him at the end of the novel, and it's implied in the film he will as well.
Everybody Knew Already: Floyd has Curnow secretly install a cutoff switch in HAL's wiring trunk so he can disable him in the event that he goes rogue again. Immediately after the climactic confrontation with HAL, Chandra casually tosses Floyd the device, which he had anticipated and removed months ago.
Expositron 9000: HAL, reprising his role from the original film. The most outstanding example of this is HAL determining that the black spot on Jupiter is made of millions of self-replicating Monoliths, which is far more useful than he ever was in 2001.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the very first interior shot of the Leonov, the camera tilts down from a closeup of a computer monitor in the medical bay. Printed underneath the monitor is a paragraph of English text, beginning with "You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door...." This is actually step 4 of the Zero Gravity Toilet instructions from 2001. Not only do you have to freeze-frame it, you need to watch the movie on Blu-Ray in order to make out the text! Additionally, the image on the monitor is captioned "KIRBUK" in Cyrillic (see Mildly Military.
Friendly Playful Dolphins: They swim right into Floyd's living room. The novel explains that "The House of the Dolphins" was built in Hawaii with a tunnel connecting the pool in the living room to the ocean. The movie shows us a beach, but never the outside of the house.
Gender Flip: Katerina Rudenko, the Leonov's chief medical officer in the novel, becomes Vladimir Rudenko in the film.
Go Out with a Smile: Dave Bowman's mother is shown in a nursing home bed. Suddenly, she jerks up with a look of rapturous joy as a hairbrush rises and brushes her hair. She then settles back with a smile as her monitor flatlines.
Government Conspiracy: The order to reveal the Monolith's existence to HAL, but not Dave or Frank, came from the National Security Council. Also see Retcon.
The Great Politics Mess-Up: In the film, in 2010, the Cold War is still around, and on the verge of getting hot, although it's remarkably right about Honduras' current troubles. This plot is completely absent in the novel; although the USSR is still around, it seems to have successfully adopted glasnostnote Yes, the novel predates Gorbachev, but the same general idea as glasnost anyway and everyone on Earth pretty much gets along.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Soviet Union trying to break through a US blockade of a Latin American country's seaports is a ripoff of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hold Me: The ship's nutritionist, Irina Yakunina,note In the novel, the character's name was Xenia Marchenko, and Irina Yakunina was the crew member she replaced at the last minute goes to Floyd's quarters so that they can spend the harrowing aerobraking maneuver in each other's arms; when it's over, she kisses him on the cheek (though in the novel, she fell asleep).
Hyperventilation Bag: The equivalent to this when wearing a spacesuit is to add carbon dioxide to the air feed.
Idiot Ball: In-universe example in the film. Genre Savvy Floyd was against sending Max in a manned probe of the Monolith (It had already been proven that the Russians had unmanned probes - the one they used on Europa - and at least one more on hand), while the overconfident Russians essentially thought Floyd was superstitious. Unfortunately, Floyd was right.
Inferred Holocaust: invoked 2061 confirmed that yes, having a second sun in the sky on Earth completely fucked up many species and Earth-based astronomy.
Just a Machine: The attitude of several Leonov crew members towards HAL (but not Chandra).
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Chandra is able to make HAL selectively forget about his malfunction and murder of the Discovery's crew. In the novel, Bowman also erases all evidence of his presence from HAL's memory after delivering his message to Floyd. The omission of the latter from the movie creates an Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: why would it be so hard to convince HAL of the importance of leaving Jupiter early if Bowman relayed the message through him?
Living Gasbag: The indigenous lifeforms on Jupiter that Bowman observes in the novel.
Look Behind You: Used literally by Bowman/The Star Child when he reveals himself to Floyd.
Made In Country X: invoked Everything about the Leonov conveys a sense that Soviet technology is ungainly but tough: the exterior is ridiculously over-engineered, the interiors are mostly dimly lit and filled with haze, and the space pods are awkward and angular compared to the spherical Discovery pods. Ironically, as an Easter Egg, the model builders included a tiny decal to the lower right of the ЛЕОНОВ marking that says "СДЕЛАНО В США" — "Made in USA". It's barely visible on the Blu-ray in the shot where Walter and Max float out of the airlock.
Ironically, in real life, Russia has a bad reputation with sending probes outside Earth's orbit. Most of their Mars missions, most recently Phobos-Grunt in 2012, have failed. And "outside" is meant literally; they have a diametrically great record sending probes inside Earth's orbit to Venus.
Malaproper: Russian astronaut Max Brailovsky's attempts to use English similes are played for comic relief.
Mildly Military: In the novel, the Leonov's captain, Tanya Orlova, is married to her navigator, Vasili Orlov. In the movie, the captain's name is changed to Kirbuk, not only as a Shout-Out to Stanley Kubrick, but also to make the Soviet crew more serious about military discipline.
My Greatest Failure: Floyd was publicly blamed for the failure of the Discovery mission in 2001 and lost his job as a result. The Leonov mission is his chance to find personal redemption. Of course, some may think he's lying and is suffering a case of Never My Fault.
No Bisexuals: In the book, Walter and Max briefly become a couple. In the film, they have a platonic rivalry-type relationship.
No New Fashions in the Future: Mostly averted; the clothing in the movie is similar to real 2010 fashion. Bowman's widow wears a Flashdance-style off-the-shoulder T-shirt, which came back into fashion over the past few years so it's justified here.
On Michael Whelan's cover art for the book, the Monolith is noticeably taller than 1:4:9. (He would later avoid this for the sequel, 2061.) Also see Bigger on the Inside and Rebuilt Set regarding the movie's set design.
The film says for the first time that the Monolith's proportions are 1:4:9, but as in 2001, it looks more like 0.5:4:9, because Kubrick felt it looked better that way.
Not So Different: What prompts the Soviet and American crew to eventually tell their superiors to screw themselves and continue working together.
Nuke 'em: Heywood Floyd casually mentions that they've tried everything they can think of to penetrate the Monolith's exterior, including lasers and nuclear detonators.
Number Two: The Leonov's executive officer, Yuri Svetlanov, is a character created for the movie. He's the only Russian character to have no dialogue in English.
Offscreen Teleportation: The Star Child disappears while the camera is looking at Floyd's reaction, and nobody sees the Monolith disappear to start Jupiter's ignition process.
Oh Crap: Many instances, but the best is when HAL tells Floyd to look behind him. The expression on his face is priceless. Also, when Jupiter implodes, and Floyd sees the shockwave approaching the Leonov.
Outrun the Fireball: When Jupiter ignites, the Leonov gets to play out this trope. Deliberately Played for Drama in the film; in the novel they have several days' head start and the blast does little more than peg some radiation meters.
Pet the Dog: One interpretation of why the Monolith allows Bowman to return to Earth, visit his former fiance and comfort his dying mother.
Precursors: The aliens who made the Monolith choose this moment to make Jupiter go boom.
Product Placement: TV commercials are seen for Sheraton hotels and Pan Am (using recycled footage of the spaceplane from 2001.) The computer Floyd uses on the beach is an Apple IIc, and next to it are a Budweiser (packaged in a Capri Sun-style squeezebag) and an issue of Omni magazine (which in Real Life stopped publication in 1995.)
Puny Earthlings: This trope is played with; the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens barely recognize humanity as individuals, and are apparently indifferent to the fate of the Leonov and Discovery until Bowman persuades them to allow him to give a warning. However, the Precursors also tell Bowman that the humans "must never know they are being manipulated", because it would "ruin the experiment".
Race Lift: Dr. Sivasubramanian Chandrasegarampillai, Dr Chandra for short, is Indian in the novel; in the movie Dr R. Chandra is played by white Jewish actor Bob Balaban.
Rebuilt Set: See Prop Recycling in 2001: A Space Odyssey. As it stands, the rebuilt Discovery fails to match the version in 2001 in many respects, from its size (apparently it doubled in length between films), but also the internal layout, which places walkways where ladders used to be, and also in the use of CRT screens rather than flat screens. Also see Bigger on the Inside.
Floyd's wife asks him if he's seeking this before he leaves.
HAL's willingness to sacrifice himself for the sake of the humans aboard the Leonov is the point where he finally achieves redemption in their eyes.
Red Herring: For the aerobraking, a female cosmonaut comes to Floyd - a married man - scared. She clings to him through the procedure, during which the photo of his wife and child falls. After they are safe, she kisses him on the cheek. At this point any curiosity of infidelity or romance is dropped for the rest of the film. If you expected it, you've just been Ship Teased with an extra.
Reentry Scare: The "aerobraking" technique used to enter a close Jupiter orbit is portrayed as terrifying for the Leonov's crew. It's also a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, in that it had never been tried in real space exploration at the time when the book was written.
Retcon: Clarke acknowledged a number of inconsistencies between 2010 and 2001 in the author's note to 2061, stating that each Odyssey book and film takes place in a similar, but slightly different, universe.
Floyd vehemently denies knowing that HAL had been told about the Monolith, and we're clearly meant to believe him. This contradicts 2001, where Floyd explicitly said the existence of the Monolith was revealed only to HAL in the video that played after HAL was disconnected.
Floyd's use of a cutoff switch as a precaution contradicts the novel of 2001, in which HAL is said to be powered by six independent systems with a backup nuclear isotope unit specifically to prevent that sort of attack.
The novels and films are inconsistent as to whether the Precursor technology involves FTL Travel. The novel of 2010 clearly states that it does, but by 3001 a different set of rules is in effect.
Running The Blockade: US/Soviet relations take a dive when a Soviet ship tries to run the US blockade and is destroyed by missile fire.
Scenery Porn: The chapters of the novel in which Bowman, as the Star Child, explores the ecosystems of Jupiter and Europa.
The scene in the novel where Walter and Max board the Discovery makes a Shout-Out to Alien: "Whatever you do, don't go chasing after the ship's cat."
The movie's set design for the Leonov is also strongly influenced by that of the Nostromo, as many other science fiction movies were: the interiors are mostly dark and claustrophobic except for the white, brightly lit medical bay and rec room.
The Russian space pod that Max takes to the Monolith is named ГРАМПИ (Grampi) after Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Auction photos of the miniature version of the pod show that it was labeled БАШФУЛ (Bashful).note Grumpy and Bashful's names in the actual Russian translation of Disney's Snow White were Ворчун (Borchun) and Скромник (Skromnik).
Shown Their Work: Clarke is a respected astronomer who did as much homework as he could possibly have done at the time the novels were written, and it shows. The film version of 2010 used actual stills of Jupiter and its moons for background plates (except, of course, for the finale).
Sinister Geometry: The Monolith makes a reappearance, of course, along with its famous 1:4:9 dimensions.
Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Advanced enough to turn Jupiter into a star so that the newly discovered life on Europa would have a chance to survive.
Too Dumb to Live: Why exactly was it necessary to send a manned EVA pod to the Monolith (in the film) when they apparently had remote controlled probes available, especially considering what happened to Bowman?
This is averted in the novel. They send a remote-manned pod instead.
Tragic Keepsake: Max gives Walter his black beret before going on his expedition to the Monolith. After Max's death, Walter keeps wearing it for the rest of the movie, until right before he goes back into hibernation when he puts it on Irina's head.
Twenty Minutes into the Future: When 2001 was being written, it was plausible that mankind might make it to Jupiter by then. 2010 was written with that continuity in mind, despite it being rather less likely. Neither happened on schedule.
Typeset in the Future: Eurostile Bold Extended returns as the typeface used by both HAL's and SAL's interfaces, and all the Russian signage aboard the Leonov is set in Eurostile Bold Extended modified with Cyrillic letters. This wasn't done completely accurately: for example, an inverted V is used for the Cyrillic equivalent to L, making it look like the Greek Λ instead of the more correct Л.
Vader Breath: During the spacewalk scenes. More like "Vader Hyperventilation."
Vagueness Is Coming: One assumes " the monolith is going to transform Jupiter into a sun" would be too hard for folks to understand.
Almost everyone Dave Bowman talks to: What's going to happen?
Justified in the book, as it reveals that the Precursers who evolved Bowman into the Star Child can't reveal "the experiment" to the human race, or it would ruin the results of that experiment.
Virtual Ghost: Being made of energy, Bowman is capable of directly interfacing with computer systems — he uses this ability to talk to HAL and to several people on Earth, including his (now remarried) wife and his mother.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Played for enormous tension in the sequence where Dr. Chandra is asked to convince HAL to use Discovery as a booster to allow the Leonov to escape. Floyd and Curnow want to trick HAL into compliance and disconnect him if he resists, while Chandra insists on telling him the whole truth.
The funny part is that Chandra knew Floyd was up to something, and he would not have been able to disconnect HAL with the failsafe device. Floyd's huge grin at Chandra reveals he was happy to be wrong.
Zeerust: The second manned mission to Jupiter is launched in time to make it by 2010. The first one had an AI, but in this one the Soviets use CRTs while the Americans have flat-screen displays. Justified in the novel by the fact that they intentionally used small autonomous computer systems to run the ship to avoid the same catastrophe that befell Discovery.
It's plausible that if Russia had remained Communist, they could still be using CRTs in 2010. It doesn't explain why all the flatscreens on Discovery turned into CRTs, though.
The Apple IIc's design still looks sort of futuristic, if you ignore its thickness and its tiny screen connected with a ribbon cable.