The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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All Critics (33)
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Flash: There is intelligent life in outer space. More, anyway, than in this amiable footnote of a movie.
A hodge-podge of bits and pieces.
Hyams' sequel to Kubrick's big daddy of sci-fi movies may not have the novelty of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it is still a better film than anyone could have dared to expect.
A good-looking, sharp-edged, entertaining, exciting space opera.
A lot of care has gone into it, but it has no satirical substructure to match that of the Kubrick film, and which was eventually responsible for that film's continuing popularity.
Now that enough time has elapsed since the release of 2010 for outraged 2001 fans to calm down, it can be seen that, while there was no decisive creative reason for Hyams' sequel to exist, it's not a bad movie.
A fairly ill-advised sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey...
It has all the right plot elements, dramatic tension, and eye-popping special effects. The performances are uniformly good, the space-adventure scenes are excitingly handled, and the reappearance of HAL 9000 and Dullea is downright eerie.
It can't hope to compete with Kubrick, but if you can distance Peter Hyams's picture from its formidable forerunner, you'll find a thoughtful and sometimes unforgettable science-fiction fable.
A much slicker, studio-friendly job than the first one was, with its much more famous cast, and its easier aesthetic.
What is 2010 but a conservative Cold War "message" flick.
...a good, well-made, tightly-knit, nicely-acted science-fiction sequel, yet one that clearly lacks the vision and scope of its illustrious predecessor.
Could Peter Hyams have chosen a bigger task?! Setting himself the challenge of making a sequel to, probably, one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made, which also had one of the greatest directors, brave man. The original movie '2001: A Space Odyssey' was developed at the same time as Clarke was writing his novel (which was based upon one of his own short stories, 'The Sentinel'). Both he and Kubrick collaborated with each other over both of their works, ultimately each project did end up differing slightly. This was mainly down to practical reasons with the movie, actually being able to film things, cost etc...Obviously in the novel Clarke was able to flesh out more content properly where as the movie merely hinted at things, or was more symbolic. With '2001' established as a movie of grandiose proportions, Clarke began working on the sequel to his novel but making it a direct sequel to Kubrick's movie instead of his own novel, which was slightly different. Kubrick passed on the project, which was a mistake I think, instead giving Hyams the opportunity to take the helm, a grand undertaking if ever there was one.
So despite the first movies extremely deep, thoughtful and thoroughly scientific plot, this sequel is actually a lot more straight forward. Put simply, the mission to Jupiter by [i]Discovery One[/i] in the original was a complete failure resulting in the apparent deaths of all astronauts under unknown circumstances, plus the large mysterious monolith is still drifting in orbit around Jupiter. Floyd Heywood (Roy Scheider) being the head of the National Council for Astronautics at the time, was blamed for this disaster. A new mission is put together to go to Discovery One and find out what exactly happened. The team consisting of Heywood, HAL's creator Dr R. Chandra (Bob Balaban), Discovery One designer Walter Curnow (John Lithgow), and s selection of Russian astronauts. The US and Russia both cooperating together (despite political unrest) because the new ship [i]Discovery Two[/i] is taking too long to complete and Discovery One is set to crash into Jupiter very soon. Upon arrival the team must work out what happened to David Bowman, what happened to HAL, what the monolith is all about, and how Jupiter's moon of Europa figures into all this.
Indeed whilst watching the first half of the film you can easily see similarities to other famous 'grunts in space' type setups such as 'Alien'. Well I say grunts but in this movie the team on-board the ship are actually highly qualified astronauts and scientists, but the way they all interact with other whilst sitting around communal mess rooms or ship consoles does give off that same vibe. At the end of the day these guys (and girls) are on a job, a rescue mission of sorts, but also and probably more so, another scientific investigation (dare I say mystery). These people are the best of the best for America and the Soviet Union, but the general vibe from some of the crew does tend to feel a bit like 'just another paycheck'. I did get this feeling from some of the characters for sure, more so Roy Scheider's character of Heywood Floyd who is the more laid-back, rebellious of the crew, the typical Yank. Others crew members such as Curnow and Dr. R. Chandra have more intense and personal attachments to the mission. Chandra because he essentially created the super computer HAL, and Discovery One being Curnow's baby.
But as anyone knows a follow up to the original Kubrick classic would have to be about one thing...other than the ultra realistic visualisation of space travel and human advancement. That one thing of course being the special effects, yes I know it sounds shallow but its true. You see, with the benchmark being set so unbelievably high with the original movie this sequel was up against the wall and had to perform just as well, if not better. So did it? well no, unfortunately it didn't. Despite this film performing well in almost every aspect the effects left a lot to be desired quite frankly. The thing is I'm not really sure how this is possible considering this movie was made 16 years later. Although the effects were handled by Douglas Trumbull's company EEG, the man himself was not involved with the film which is a good reason why they simply aren't that good. But wait! the effects were actually supervised by the equally legendary Richard Edlund, so what gives? Well apparently all the original models from '2001'were destroyed back in the day so everything had to created from scratch. Thusly models for Discovery One weren't quite as good as the original, but due to the fact the films lighting is so poor you can't really tell. The ship is often merely in shadow so you only see the basic shape and not much real detail. The other main ship piloted by the Americans and Russians, the [i]Leonov[/i] was designed by popular futurist Syd Mead so you know its probably gonna be very sensible and grounded. And that it was, but boy did it look stupid and ugly! The thing just looked like an angled block of Lego in space with a huge rotating mid-section which apparently provided artificial gravity. Now whether this design is scientifically accurate in any way I don't know (I'm sure it possibly is), but man...was this thing shitty looking.
Overall the models were generally fine but the quality was that of a TV show. Had this been a TV series then sure, they'd be great, but in no way do they look anywhere near the standard for such a movie as this. The other issue here was the God awful use of bluescreen and how obvious it was. Its not all bad but there are many shots with a ship composited over other images of Jupiter or the other ship and it just looks bad, really obvious with stark black lines around everything. Sequences where the crew spacewalk are also pretty nasty looking with obvious bluescreen symptoms present. There also appears to be the odd colour discrepancy between various models and space, or other models, which does look pretty terrible these days All this combined with the use of early CGI and alas the visuals do look very 'made for TV-esque' in my humble little opinion. Back in the day naturally they would have been looked upon way more favourably of course. I remember as a kid watching the swirling, cloudy planet of Jupiter and the monolith black hole, in complete awe. The effects had a more glossy animated feel to them over the more rigid and static effects in the original film which felt more like an educational film at times. But these days unfortunately these effects do look pretty ropy and in no way compare to Kubrick's masterpiece despite using technology that would have been far more advanced for this sequel.
Luckily the interior sets did not suffer quite the same fate, again they simply aren't up to the original films standard admittedly, but you could say that's down to utilising different types of craft in this sequel. The Leonov being a Russian craft could explain why it might not be quite as slick as Discovery One, less emphasis on comfort and more on practicality. A ship for getting things done with little fuss, a workers ship for tough Soviets. Some of what we saw in '2001' was more like visualising business class travel for executives, regular living quarters in orbit for businessmen, almost like an advertisement by a space based property company. In contrast once again you can see the strong influence of a certain Ridley Scott movie from 1979 with the long dark, intimidating, narrow corridors. The extreme levels of technical detail on the interior sets from top to bottom such as various panels, pipes, monitor screens both overhead and at eye level, signs, glowing warning lights, cables running the length and breadth of all the sections etc...The main hub does indeed look almost like a section taken straight from the [i]Nostromo[/i] complete with circular table arrangement, familiar looking white padded panelling and with overhead monitor bank (that white/beige padded panelling does seem to be a very popular choice in these old sci-fi flicks, probably because it looks so authentic). I don't blame Hyams though, I mean lets be honest here, that Ridley Scott film changed science fiction forever, how could he not ride those coattails? There was always gonna be similarities sure, but at the same time it still comes across as a modern day (for the time) interplanetary ship complete with fictional futuristic upgrades. What is disappointing and clearly missing are sequences that could match the fantastic moments in '2001' which showcased the actors defying gravity. There are so many moments in the original film that stand out but watching people walk up the walls and upside down was easily some of the most amazing to be seen. Again alas this sequel has nothing that can equal or even come close to such mind blowing visuals tricks, either interior or exterior. Although, despite all that it was nice (and very cool) to see the old sets from the original film recreated for some shots on-board Discovery one, looking pretty faithful too I might add.
In general there are many elements that just don't come close to Kubrick's earlier work. The start of the movie tries its best to match the grandiose opening title sequence of the original but kinda fails miserably to be honest. We get a brief flashback of the plot (key points) for '2001' with subtitles to get everyone up to speed, which does indeed feel like its pandering to people who didn't watch or understand the original. This entire sequence does actually feel a lot like the opening to 'Alien 3' complete with eerie orchestral score and choir. The film then dives into the exact same opening as '2001' with the now famous usage of Strauss's [i]Sunrise[/i] (or 'Introduction') to the breaking dawn at the Very Large Array observatory in New Mexico. Now although these rows of huge white antennae are impressive to see, this opening shot still doesn't really capture the utter magnitude of the original opening, but lets be honest, what could? Once we get past some basic plot setups for Heywood the movie literally jumps straight into space, approaching Jupiter, boom! we're there! I think it would of been cool to see some technical space/sci-fi jiggery-pokery watching this ship take-off from Earth, break into orbit, see the crew settle in, begin its long journey etc...Could so easily have been some nice slow, self-indulgent, Kubrick-esque space porn there. Also the sub plot back on Earth about tensions rising between the US and the Soviets and how it affects the mission. In other words back on Earth the Ruskies are getting a bit stand-offish with the Yanks, so they order their astronauts not to play with the Americans on the ship. Now although Heywood does address this, pointing out how stupid it is because what's going on back on Earth means nothing to them out by Jupiter. But the fact its even in the plot does make you kinda scoff at it, like why the hell would the Russians be so idiotic in such a serious situation when clearly the people back on Earth simply don't matter (at that point).
Then of course you've got the whole alien angle with Bowman. Just what the hell is this guy supposed to be now?? He's presumably an alien now, but did he die? did he evolve? did he get reborn as an alien? Who are these intergalactic super beings? how are they able to control and create life with these weird black monoliths? What are the monoliths? what are they made of? how are they made? do they have some kind of super power? The fact that these aliens are suppose to be non-corporeal, energy-based life forms (or glowing balls of light for short), does make you wonder if they are suppose to be some kind of God's, maybe an original life form from the beginning of time itself. Nevertheless the whole thing with Bowman coming back to see his mother before she dies, appearing before Heywood in various forms, and speaking to HAL in a beyond the grave type way, does all seem very silly. Sure this is a sci-fi fantasy, but the whole Bowman being reborn angle always did go against the highly realistic grain for me.
Still it was nice to see the equally mysterious Keir Dullea back as Bowman and keeping the continuity up, ditto for Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL. The rest of the cast are all stellar in their performances it must be said. That classic type of early 80's lineup that (to me) just feels like a Spielberg production, it just has that vibe, maybe its just me, or maybe its because of Balaban. Scheider definitely has the look for this movie but his style doesn't quite fit the bill for me, I can't help but picture him in gritty cop flicks or action flicks. Lithgow is solid as usual but like Scheider does seem a little out of place in this type of serious space based picture. For me it was all about Balaban, this dude just has that odd look which intrigues you, is he good? is he bad? is hiding something? You half expect him to be the Ash of the crew and go nuts at any moment. Indeed it was Balaban that gave the most heart wrenching moment for me. As Jupiter is about to literally implode from being eaten from the inside out by the multiplying monoliths, the crew race away on-board the Leonov leaving HAL and Discovery One to be destroyed. Chandra speaks with HAL, consoling him right up to the very end before the computer is obliterated by the imploding Jupiter. Not only does Chandra shed a tear for HAL, I couldn't help but do so too. Who'd of thought the 'death' of a computer could tug on the heartstrings so heavily.
So yes, everyone knows this film is nowhere near the levels of greatness that Kurbick and co achieved back in 1968. Where as the original film felt more like an educational film or maybe something you might see on Channel 4 or at Epcot Centre, this film felt more like a movie movie, if you get me. Not dumbed-down by any means, just more acceptable/tolerable/approachable for a general audience. Even though this film is a very, very competent science fiction mystery, adventure, literally every aspect of it fails to compare to the original 68 movie. The visuals are way behind, the music is stirring but lacklustre in comparison, the cast is big but somehow that doesn't really matter and the overall sheen just can't compare. But as I said, this is still is highly engaging and exciting movie that far outstrips most science fiction offerings. The main reason for this is the plot pure and simple. The plot helps tie up loose ends from the admittedly confusing original, it explains some things, it straightens out some things, but overall its just a damn good sci-fi mystery that just draws you in. It may look a bit like a TV movie in places but you want to know how it ends, I really wanted the crew to survive, I was heart broken when HAL 'dies', I was (still am) intrigued by the ghostly monoliths and what they do to Jupiter, their ethereal creators etc...As for the ending...well, I wanna see more! where's the film adaptation for [i]2061[/i]?
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This is an interesting and entertaining sequel to 2001. It's nowhere near the masterpiece Kubrick made, but it is good in it's own right. Just didn't have the mystery and pure eeriness of 2001. Great cast, including a good performance by Helen Mirren.
A capable sequel to a bonafide classic. The cast is strong, the storyline is always interesting and arresting, and the mystery is still present. While it doesn't answer many questions that "2001" posed, it's still a visual delight and a fun journey back to what made "2001" so special. Keir Dullea gives a creepy performance as the main character from "2001" who is yanked back into the storyline masterfully.
You can't start a review of 2010 without referring to Kubrick's masterpiece 2001. What Kubrick created with that film was create an opera with the stars, polishing the story by Arthur Clarke and giving us a film that's a feast for the senses and in typically Kubrick fashion leaves us with more questions than answers when the closing credits roll.
What 2010 does is try to explain what happened to Discovery in the nine years since HAL seemed to go mad and Dave Bowman disappeared. The world is on the brink of destruction between the United States and the Soviet Union (you have to remember this is 1984), but there is one moment of cooperation between the two countries when there is interest to investigate the monolith and the Discovery by the Soviets. The Soviets can get there faster, but the U.S. knows the systems better. The standard Rocky IV "us vs. them" mentality begins as the crew featuring Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, and Helen Mirren revive HAL and try to discover what happened near Jupiter nine years before.
The first thing you need to do when watching this film is to distance yourself from Kubrick's vision in 2001. You will be disappointed and feel negative from the opening credits. Look at this film as a sequel to Clarke's story (which Clarke wrote, along with several sequels). The film explains things while leaving others still under a veil of mystery. I've always been an opponent to explaining every aspect of a film with its sequel, but with 2010 it seems less like a crutch than with other films that have done this (I'm looking at you Halloween II).
2010 is a solid sci-fi tale with some breathtaking effects (even though the dreaded black boxes appear in some shots). It's only crime is that it was a follow up to 2001 and, to be perfectly honest, there is no follow up to that film.
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