Cast: Roy Scheider (Dr. Heywood Floyd), John Lithgow (Curnow), Helen Mirren (Kirbuk), Bob Balaban (Dr. Chandra), Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Douglas Rain (HAL)
Director: Peter Hyams (End of Days, Sudden Death, The Presidio, The Star Chamber, Outland)
Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is a sequel to the 1968 Stanley Kubrick sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It continues the story set forth following the mysterious Monolith, the disappearance of Dave Bowman, and why HAL seemed to become both mutinous and murderous. The film has an American crew traveling with a Russian crew to the orbiting moons of Jupiter, to find out what happened on the spaceship Discovery. While onboard, the crew reactivates HAL to try to ascertain why he killed the Discovery's crew. However things don't go as planned, and the crew is forced to evacuate immediately.
Why you should watch it: This film carries the rare double dip of being an above-average sequel as well as being a very, very good stand-alone film. It continues the story of Dr. Heywood Floyd. The audience first met Dr. Floyd in Kubrick's film, in the very beginning. He was the scientist who traveled to the moon to help investigate the Monolith found there. In 2010, the always steady and dependable Roy Scheider takes the role of Dr. Floyd, and tries to salvage both his reputation and the spaceship Discovery. The film also boasts a good supporting cast, with roles filled admirably by John Lithgow and Helen Mirren (sporting a very good and convincing Russian accent). The filmmakers were able to carry over two roles, and the actors who played them, from the first film. Keir Dullea reprises his role, albeit briefly, as astronaut Dave Bowman, last seen in 2001 hurtling towards the Monolith; his last words being, "My God, it's full of stars." While that's impressive, the more impressive recasting goes to Douglas Rain, who brings a calm menace to the computer HAL, who may or may not have been responsible for killing the crew of the Discovery.
There has been much made of this film as not holding up to the original. It's damn near impossible to hold any science fiction film up to 2001. However as stated earlier, this film works on two levels - as a passable sequel and a very good stand alone. The story was written by Arthur C. Clarke, who penned the classic original, and the film was greenlighted by Kubrick himself after reading the outline. The movie was released in 1984, lost among such bigger names as Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Sixteen Candles, The Terminator, Amadeus, Beverly Hills Cop, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and... well, you see where this is going. I have always enjoyed this film, and I would highly recommend it for a second (or in most cases, a first) viewing.
Availability: DVD, Blu Ray, Streaming, free on Youtube