>> Friday, January 01, 2010

Peter Hyams' 1984 2010: The Year We Make Contact was a crommulent movie and a very faithful adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke novel it was based on, but it was destined to wither in the cold dark of a long, deep shadow. Whereas Clarke's 2001 was essentially a sophisticated space adventure based on the best science of the '60s, the Stanley Kubrick movie made in parallel to the writing of the book was a mind-blowing, epic, secular, atheist creation myth--human evolution as a journey from ape to god (Clarke, having done something of the same thing in 1953 with Childhood's End, perhaps didn't feel a need to revisit the same territory again and saw 2001 as a more mundane project than Kubrick actually envisioned). Clarke's 2010 is, largely, a sequel to his novel, not the movie (notwithstanding that Clarke changes the setting to Jupiter space as a concession to the movie--his novel 2001 ends near Saturn), which makes Hyams' movie essentially a sequel to the novel.

Anyway, the movie is decent enough in its own way, with some wonderful performances by people like Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban and John Lithgow, and solid enough SFX, and a kind of poignant climactic scene between Balaban and Douglas Rain; but it understandably got thrashed by a lot of critics for what it wasn't--an open-ended mindblower like 2001. But being a mundane sequel wasn't 2010's worst crime by far--like I said, it's a pretty faithful adaptation of Clarke's book, so if there's a crime against 2001 anywhere, it was perpetrated by Arthur C. Clarke, one of 2001's creators. No, the Really Bad Thing that either Hyams or the producers did was they paid former Police guitarist Andy Summers to do a pop version of Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra, a.k.a. "the 2001 theme." It's pretty awful and had a truly terrible "lost" music video to go with it, notwithstanding some nice synth-guitar stuff about two, two-and-a-half minutes in.

And here it is:

Happy New Year, everybody.


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