Sequels, so Goldman says, are whores movies. Films made, in the most, for the express purpose of making money. Films that milk a love for the original, often made with less money, less care and a great deal less respect for the audience.
Nine years after David Bowman took his extraordinary voyage to Jupiter three Americans hitch a ride on a Russian Vessel to attempt a joint mission (HaHa, it’s more 80’s than Red Dawn) to find out what happened. What foolows is not good, not good at all.
Going into 2010 with an open mind, with an attempt to view it without thinking of the gigantic elephant in the room, is rendered impossible by the opening minutes. We are told via classic 80’s computer text the details of the Discovery mission to Jupiter documented 15 years earlier in a film that garnered more than a little acclaim. 2010 migh as well start with a big shot saying “WATCH 2001”.
Watching 2001 is the last thing this film’s makers would want you to do. Whilst 2001 is presented with such care and skill as to make it seem effortless, 2010 is clunky, narrow minded, badly shot, hurried yet ponderous and shot through with such a tv episode feel, such a “gee guys, if we only work together” simplicity that an advert break wouldn’t have been out of place. Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren and John Lithgow all have bags over their heads as they deliver dialogue that falls flat from their tongues. None of them look proud. HAL is restarted and in a rubbish presaging of Terminator 2 is now used for good rather than evil. Allowing a computer some redeption is not a concept that should’ve got past the drawing board. HAL is left innocent and childlike in confusion over his murderous actions, this is film assassination on a grand scale.
Making a sequel is one thing, making a sequel that actively undermines the original is quite another. 2010 attempts to interpret and explain the wonderfully unexplainable 2001.Example; In the original David Bowman’s last transmission is “My God, it’s full of stars” as he falls toward the monolith, In 2010, a manned probe sent out to the monolith see’s the same thing except so do we, portrayed with awful special effects that make the unknowable monoliths semm cheap and tawdry. Removing mystery from the mysterious is hard to forgive in horror sequels, done here it’s criminal.
The original is big enough, intelligent enough and timeless enough to survive this kind of corpse fucking but it shouldn’t ever have had to. No-one involved can possibly have thought what they were doing was noble or even artistic. 2001 portrayed the evolution of man and hinted at the next step, 2010 portrays a bunch a squabbling cosmonauts attempting to solve the cold war in space. Such petty, human divisions were unworthy for the original so why bring them up here. It’s a film made about the future that is very much still set in the eighties. 2001 transcends interpretation whilst 2010 tries to catch and bolt down the ephemereal.
Peter Hyams, the director, was rewarded for this by getting the jobs to direct Timecop and End of Days. EBFS wholeheartedly agrres with this level of karmic punishment and can’t wait to see Michael Bay helming a sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding starring David Spade.