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Unlike its cerebral predecessor, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT ($25) plays as a straight science fiction movie that tries to answer some of the questions raised in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Director Peter Hyams lacks the unique vision of Stanley Kubrick, but he is able to make the film fly on a completely different level. Using the nuts and bolts of Arthur C. Clarke's novel, Hyams' screenplay focuses on the more adventurous aspects of the story to create an action oriented special effects movie. Sure, the film retains some of the higher aspirations and messages of Clarke's story, but Hyams goes for commercial appeal over elevating the consciousness of the audience.

Like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT leaves many things unanswered. The story alludes to the purpose of the Monolith, but nothing is concrete, and its origin remains a complete mystery. Even the ultimate fate of Dave Bowman remains ambiguous, although he is no longer human. 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT stars Roy Scheider as Dr. Heywood Floyd, the man held accountable for the disastrous Discovery mission to Jupiter in 2001. Even though the U.S. and Russia are on the brink of war, the head of the Russian space program approaches Floyd with an interesting proposition. The Russians propose a joint mission to Jupiter to recover the Discovery spacecraft and find out what exactly went wrong on the 2001 mission. Reluctantly, the U.S. government agrees to allow an American team to "hitch a ride" with the Russians.

The cast of 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT also features John Lithgow as Walter Curnow, the designer of the original Discovery spacecraft and the best hope for bringing her long dormant systems back on-line. Helen Mirren portrays Tanya Kirbuk, the Captain of the Russian craft. Bob Balaban plays Dr. Chandra, the scientist who created the HAL 9000 computer and the only man who can reawakened the homicidal computer and discover the secrets locked away in its memory banks. Keir Dullea reprises the role of Dave Bowman; Dullea looks surprisingly the same, although more than sixteen years had separated the two films. Once again, Douglas Rain supplies the voice of the HAL 9000 computer.

MGM Home Entertainment has made 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT available wide screen only, in a non-anamorphic enhanced presentation. Despite the lack of the anamorphic enhancement, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT looks very good on DVD. The Letterboxed transfer restores the film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, without any major compromises to the edges of the frame. This edition of 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT is the best video incarnation I’ve seen thus far. The image is crisp and detailed, while film grain is minimal. Color reproduction is equally good, with natural looking flesh tones, well-saturated hues and a solid black level. Digital compression artifacts were seldom noticeable on this DVD.

2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT has been given a Dolby Digital 5.1 re-mix, which I found to be quite an improvement over the old matrixed track contained on the Laserdisc. The track is cleaner and richer sounding in Dolby Digital, plus the sound is fully localized thanks to the discrete tracks. The surrounds aren’t as active as a new film, but the overall effect of the track enhanced the viewing experience. Other soundtrack options include a French Dolby Surround track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The interactive menus have some animation and sound, plus offer access to a "making of" featurette, in addition to the standard scene and language selection features.


2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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