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2010:
THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT

Unlike its cerebral cinematic predecessor, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT ($29) 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 reawaken 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 as he did in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, although more than sixteen years had separated the two films. Once again, Douglas Rain supplies the voice of the HAL 9000 computer. The supporting cast of 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT also features Madolyn Smith Osborne, Dana Elcar, Taliesin Jaffe, James McEachin, Mary Jo Deschanel, Elya Baskin, Saveli Kramarov, Oleg Rudnik, Natasha Shneider and Vladimir Skomarovsky.

Warner Home Video has made 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite good for a film that is approaching the quarter of a century mark. Peter Hyams serves as his own director of photography, and I have admit, I am not particularly impressed with his work. Image sharpness and detail are the absolute best that I have ever seen on this title, but there is a smoky/diffuse quality to much of the cinematography, which prevents the image from leaping out at one. Surprisingly, the outer space special effects shots demonstrate better sharpness, clarity and dimensionality than the principal photography- thus indicating that the image is not a victim of too much digital manipulation. Colors are stronger than Iíve seen on previous home incarnations of the film, but still seem a little dull in places. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast is just fine, but shadow detail is less than stellar in more than a few places. The elements from which 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT has been mastered are generally free from overt signs of age. Grain is present throughout, although to varying degrees.

2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Lossless encoding certainly helps, but one cannot deny that this soundtrack is twenty-five years from state of the art. Sound effects occasionally come across a little flat at times and the mix lacks the effortless quality one finds in brand new all digital soundtracks. Despite its origins in the Dolby Surround era, this is definitely the best 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT has ever sounded in the home venue. There are good channel separations across the front, while the rears supply occasional active effects, as well as the usual complement of ambient sound and musical fill. The lossless encode does render the music with more character than has been heard in the past. Bass is solid enough and provides a bit of a kick, but not at the same ground shaking level one gets today. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand, despite some purposely-heavy Russian accents. English, French, Spanish, German and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are Portuguese and Japanese monaural tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a Vintage Featurette: The Odyssey Continues, which runs nine minutes, plus a Theatrical Trailer.

Its about time that fans have been presented with a quality release of 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT. The is the absolute best the title has ever looked in the home venue and accurately represents Peter Hyamsí less than stellar cinematography. Additionally, the lossless soundtrack provides a significant upgrade. Recommended.

 

2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT 


2010: The Year We Make Contact [Blu-ray] (1984)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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