47 thoughts on “Hello, 2010

  1. We may not have made it to the level of space exploration that this and 2001 envisioned but I am happy to have made it into the 21st century. As Wil Wheaton says “It’s great living in the future”

    I have a communicator, more computing power than the Apollo missions and all of my favorite music is in a device that fits in my shirt pocket. All I need now is a brainpal cause I keep forgetting stuff.

    Welcome 2010, I’m glad you’re here.

  2. @Orin: The Alexi Leonov is awesome for the same reason that Omega Class Destroyers from B5 are awesome.

  3. Believe it or not, we watched 2010 tonight in anticipation of the new year (the year we make contact!)

    And we were also drinking our whiskey from Kentucky. (For some reason, that’s one of my favorite lines in the movie).

    Happy new year:)

  4. @Fencedude #2…If so, then I’m a bad person, too. 2001 is undoubtedly a great film (I think, but then I was propagandized by my father when it came out originally), but I *like* 2010 a lot better.

  5. Speaking of 2001, I dunno if anyone else here watches anime, but the most recent episode of To Aru Kagaku no RAILGUN had a 2001 parody that left me laughing my ass off.

  6. I liked 2010 better too. Made more sense. Less artsy, more movie. *shrug* Maybe less timeless overall, but more watchable.

  7. 2010 just feels better because it’s nice and metric. Okay movie. But wow, how things have changed. I guess 2001 is now an alternative history genre sf book.

  8. 2010 the movie is the exemplar of science fiction getting dumbed down for mass-audience consumption. Or at least it was till Independence Day came out.

    On the other hand, it would be somewhat novel to have dolphins swimming up into my living room.

  9. Happy New Year, John (and Krissy and Athena too.) I was thinking about the film 2010 all day yesterday. So sad that we didn’t end up in that timeline.

  10. eviljwinter@18: Sorry, I ordered that from Amazon and they shipped it to your house by mistake. I’ll swing over and pick it up shortly.

  11. I watched 2010 last night, figuring there was no way it could be as bad as I remembered. Yet it was.

    If only they had tried to explain a few more things.

  12. @Thomas M. Wagner #15 I didn’t see “2010” as “dumbed down”, so much as made more accessible. A fine line, maybe, but a line nonetheless.

    It seems to me that a lot of people think that “2001” is a “great film” because it is, well, cryptic. And it’s fine that it’s cryptic. Cryptic can be thought-provoking (which I find “2001” to be) and just plain fun. But I’m not really sure that it adds to its greatness that so many people walk away from it saying (or at least thinking) “What the…?”

    Then again, it seems like a certain segment of the audience for both film and literature that perceives itself as “sophisticated” seems to think that if something is difficult to understand, then it is, by definition, great and profound.

    I find that position to be a bit silly, but that’s just me.

  13. 2001 had the cache of coming off the the Arthur C. Clarke story, an incredible director and being a serious SF film. 2010 is more accessible, the slingshot was a great ride and I think a more enjoyable, but not better, film.

  14. Except that 2001 isn’t difficult to understand. At least I didn’t find it so. Humanity’s evolution is guided by benign yet ineffable godlike aliens. Gee, how “sophisticated” was that? That’s a 25-words-or-less pitch if there ever was one.

    It may be “cryptic,” but that’s because — unlike modern movies that spell it all out for you because, you know, we’re all dumb — it invites its audience to think, to participate, and to come to our own conclusions. It doesn’t just hand everything to us in bright red crayon (in contrast to 2010’s climax, where the Big Message is actually written out on the screen). 2001 doesn’t just respect its audience’s intellect, it actually acknowledges that we have an intellect in the first place, a bit of consideration absent from most Hollywood Product.

    When people stay up till 3 am discussing and arguing about a movie, then yes, that’s the sign of a great movie. Whether you liked it or not, it’s had an impact.

    Not liking movies because they’re a little on the challenging side seems a bit silly, but that’s just me.

  15. Addendum to #24: Not liking movies because they’re a little on the challenging side seems a bit silly, but that’s just me.

    Though I should add that I do note Elaine never said she didn’t like 2001, and in fact indicated the opposite. But there are quite a lot of people today, exposed to nothing but today’s “accessible,” hyperkinetic, stuff-go-boom Hollywood cinema, that any of the classic movies from before the special-effects age — the ones that actually take their time to develop an in-depth story, and encourage the intellectual participation of the audience — would either put them to sleep after two minutes, hurl them into blank confusion, or send them screaming from the room. Shit, a lot of them can’t even handle black and white!

  16. “2001 had the cache of coming off the the Arthur C. Clarke story, an incredible director and being a serious SF film.”

    Why does 2010 not have the cache of coming off a Clarke novel, considering that it came off a Clarke novel?

    For 2010 the complete Clarke novel being was written before the film, whereas for 2001 the novel and film were contemporaneous and only the portion form “the Sentinel” preceded the film.

  17. I used to think 2001 was a deeply profound film, full of wonderfully meaningful scenes, which if you could interpret what Kubrick meant, you’d understand the meaning of the universe.

    Then, about 20 years after I smoked my last joint, I saw it again.

    Now it just seems to be a long, pretentious “Art Film.” Granted, Kubrick did have an eye for stunning imagery. But, he did not know how to string all those marvelous images together. For me, the nonstop train of non sequitur quick cuts makes it almost unwatchable.

    2010 is dated and is sort of charming in a way– Kind of like watching a 1940s movie about the far future of the 1980s. How much did they get right, and how much was totally wrong? But then, I still don’t have my jet pack, I don’t have a robot maid, and the HR guy from Spacely Sprockets still has not reviewed my resume.

    The real issue is: 2001 is a Film and 2101 is a movie.

    The difference? I had a film professor define them as follows: A movie is something people watch–a Film is something snobs discuss endlessly while sipping overpriced white wine.

  18. It is amazing to me that 2010, released in 1984, looks dated, while 2001, released in 1968, still looks futuristic. The difference has as much to do with what Kubrick didn’t show and tell as what he did. He didn’t try to embellish his film with unneeded tchochkes (e.g., 2010’s‘s dolphin house and not-so-futuristic car) that shout, “Hey, this is the future!”, or useless technical dialog about how critical data is stored on cassettes, or clunky exposition about braking through ablation, something the US manned space program had been doing since the 60’s.

    Granted, Kubrick really blew it on the big-hats-for-women thing, and the PicturePhone bit was probably gratuitous, but overall he did well.

  19. The dolphin house is true to the source material, though I suppose that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.

  20. “A movie is something people watch–a Film is something snobs discuss endlessly while sipping overpriced white wine.”

    I’ve often found that those who go on about the virtues of the former and how much more “real” and “in touch” they are than the latter can be just as insufferable and full of themselves as the “snobs” they paint the world as being overrun by.
    Sometimes, they’re actually worse.

  21. TMW @ 28.

    Actually, he was the chair of my college’s theater department. And oddly enough, he did count himself among the snobs. However, he was open to others’ reasoned opinions.

  22. Re: Art Snob

    I was in the Art Gallery of a small university, looking at a new installation. After I’d looked an most of it, I was approached by a frenetic man with shotgun questions. He was the artist. He recently decided that artists, in general, were disconnected from the viewing public. He wanted to understand why. So he was traveling with this show, and questioning viewers.

    At one point, we were discussing a piece that had 3 elements. Each element was a simple geometric form, flat, painted entirely white. It hung in an entirely black alcove. He asked what I thought, and I explained it was abstract enough that I got no feeling from it, other than “stark.” He looked surprised, and replied “No. It’s the Trinity. Three is always the Trinity, right?”

    It dawned on me how badly served he’d been by his education. He spent years studying his precursors. But, I suspect, he’d been taught to understand new elements in terms of earlier elements. He was steeped in a meticulous symbology that contemporary Americans just don’t share. To him, a pearl is a rare and precious gemstone, symbolic of virtue (meaning strength as much as purity); to us, pearls are manufactured commodities, given away in loss-leader necklaces by shopping mall jewelery stores. It’s not necessarily pretentiousness when Artists complain that viewers “just don’t get it.” A lot of the time, we don’t. (NB: We don’t instantaneously “get” most things that require years of study!)

    There are incompetents who take refuge in obscurity and claimed-superiority. But I think there is also a “linguistic” gulf between us and the artists who are genuinely trying to create and communicate.

  23. You know, I think we had the monoliths already. They were just beige, and eight inches by eighteen inches by twenty inches, and looked like pieces of office equipment, so we didn’t really think that much of them when they showed up next to all our desks.

  24. “I’ll take my exponentially increasing monoliths now, if you please.”

    The last thing we need is another damn star to contend with. Let us get this CO2 thing under control first. Then we can talk about fiddling with the ecosystem on a grand scale.

    Oh wait, we already are!

  25. This reminds me of when I was trying to reconcile the Star Trek future-history with the decades I was growing up in.

    I was quite relieved when I graduated from high school in the 90s and Khan Noonian Singh didn’t engulf the world in the Eugenics Wars.

    Also: This post has explained to me why 2010 was so prominently displayed on the DVD shelves of every store I was in today. Belated “ha!”

  26. 2010 had an interesting cast, but when I saw it (first-run) I had forgotten it virtually by the time I had left the theater. I wonder whether Clarke’s publisher put the sequel idea in his head, or whether he came up with it himself – but either way, it wasn’t a good idea, and the movie was a worse one. Might as well try to write a sequel to a Beethoven symphony.

    Clarke and Kubrick did make various attempts to depict the aliens. Photos can be seen in The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 edited by Jerome Agel (see also The Lost Worlds of 2001, early-1970s Signet paperback by Clarke). In the end, they weren’t satisfied – they’d wanted aliens that Bowman could discern only indirectly – and so they decided not to show them at all. This was a crucial decision made that helped to make their movie memorable.

  27. Mine Host, I meant a musical sequel – something analogous to when Lesley Gore followed “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” with “Judy’s Turn to Cry” (a good idea) or when Harry Chapin released “Sequel” some years after “Taxi” (a bad one, and unfortunately his final legacy).

  28. I still say that 2001 was vastly overrated. I mean, that had to be one of the absolute worst historical movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t remember any of that stuff.

    From a history standpoint, 2010 better be more accurate. Just sayin’.

  29. It helps to read the book before you see the movie…either of them. Both were written to be movies, or at least that’s what I think I remember. 2001 is a far more beautiful movie: lighting, design, and of course music. 2010 was about the cold war, and as such left me cold. Blah blah blah. Two stars.

  30. Gray Area: The movie of 2010 placed a lot more emphasis on the Cold War aspect than did the novel 2010: Odyssey Two. As for whether both were “written to be movies,” Clarke’s 2001 novel was written concomitantly with the screenplay, with various differences such as the movie’s use of Jupiter (they couldn’t produce Saturn’s rings decently on film) and the conventional hotel room (plucked from Bowman’s mind) in which he finds himself near the end of the novel. Again, The Lost Worlds of 2001 sheds a lot of light on this, including unused novel chapters. I don’t know whether Clarke had any hopes that his (first) sequel novel would be filmed; maybe someone else reading here knows whether he ever wrote about this.

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