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2010 is a science fiction film released by MGM and directed by Peter Hyams. Its full title is given on posters and DVD releases as 2010: The Year We Make Contact, although the subtitle does not appear in the film itself. 2010 is a sequel to the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2010: Odyssey Two, a literary sequel to the film. The film was only a moderate success, disappointing many critics as well as viewers.


The film is set nine years after the mysterious failure of the Discovery One's mission to Jupiter, depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which four astronauts (apparently in one case) died and another one disappeared mysteriously into the large, alien-made Black Monolith orbiting Jupiter. Dr. Heywood Floyd - who had been the Director of the "National Council on Astronautics" (NCA) during the Discovery One's mission - has been made the scapegoat, and has since left the NCA to become the Chancellor of the University of Hawaii.

Amid growing friction between the United States and the Soviet Union, both nations are preparing to send missions to Jupiter to determine what happened to the Discovery One's mission. After delays in the American plans, the Soviets suggest a joint mission to Jupiter: their spaceship, the Alexei Leonov will be ready one year before the new American spaceship, the Discovery 2 will be completed, but they need American astronauts to help investigate the problems with the HAL 9000's on-board supercomputer system. Also, since the Discovery One is an American spaceship, she remains American territory wherever she has gone (in this case, into Jovian orbit), and she may not be visited, investigated, or moved without American permission. The United States Government will not grant this permission unless several American astronauts are taken along to participate, and to supervise the Soviets. The American government somewhat reluctantly agrees to the joint mission, since recent space-tracking data shows that the Discovery One is destined to crash into the Jovian moon Io within a few years because its orbit is being gradually perturbed (shifted) in that direction.

Dr. Floyd feels responsible for the failure of the Discovery One's mission and the apparent death of all five of its astronauts, and thus he volunteers for the mission himself to lend his expertise in spaceflight. Floyd recruits two well-known experts on the Discovery One and her computer system: Dr. Walter Curnow, an astronautical engineer and one of the original designers and builders of the Discovery One, and Dr. Chandra, the computer scientist and engineer who created the extremely-advanced HAL 9000 series of artificial-intelligence supercomputers. They both agree to go on the flight of the Alexei Leonov.

The mission of the three Americans, along with the Soviets, is threefold:A). To find the reason for the Discovery One mission's failure,B). To investigate the Black Monolith that is in orbit around Jupiter,C). To find the answer for David Bowman's disappearance.They suspect that much of this information is locked away in the abandoned Discovery One spaceship and her on-board HAL 9000 computer.

Upon the Alexei Leonov's arrival in the Jovian system, Dr. Floyd is awakened from his long, resource-conserving hibernation two days early by the Soviets in the crew, because they have detected the chemical signatures of life on one of the Jovian moons, Europa. Together, they send an unmanned science probe to explore the icy surface of Europa. The probe's instruments spot something that is suggestive of life, but the probe is inexplicably destroyed in a burst of electromagnetic radiation before any close-up photos can be taken. The Soviets themselves blame this on electrostatic build-up, but Dr. Floyd suspects that it is a warning from someone — or something — to keep away from Europa.

Next, the Discovery One is found abandoned but undamaged in its orbit around Jupiter. After space walking over to the American spaceship from the Alexei Leonov, Engineer Curnow slowly reactivates its on-board systems, step-by-step, and then the two spaceships rendezvous with Io. Dr. Chandra then restarts the HAL 9000 computer ("HAL"), but he only learns that HAL had been deactivated before the Monolith had been found. That huge Black Monolith is next re-discovered in the Lagrange point located between Jupiter and Io. The Soviet Commander Kirbuk sends the cosmonaut Max Brailovsky, over to it for a closer look via an EVA pod. However, a large burst of power from the Monolith destroys Max's EVA pod, and next it heads into outer space, perhaps towards the Earth.

A series of scenes follows that show the explorations and visits by Dave Bowman, who has been transformed by super-intelligent aliens into an incorporeal being. The transformed Dave Bowman, containing his mind and spirit, travels to the Earth, where he makes contact with two significant people from his past: first he appears on his widow Betty Fernandez's television screen and has a conversation with her, saying his final good-byes. Next he visits his terminally-ill and senile mother in a nursing home. Unable to talk with her, he lovingly combs her hair, much to her delight, just as he had done during his boyhood in Florida. She is shortly found dead in her bed.

After many tests on the HAL computer, Chandra discovers why HAL had malfunctioned: the National Security Council (NSC) had decided that neither of the awake astronauts, Dave Bowman nor Frank Poole, would be informed of the true objective of the Discovery One's mission to Jupiter until arrival in Jovian orbit there. HAL had been told the truth: it was very strongly suspected that the Black Monolith dug up on the moon in 2001 was an alien artifact, and in fact had been deliberately buried to wait for intelligent life from the Earth to come and dig it up. It had beamed a deliberate radio message towards Jupiter for some reason, and the NSC wanted to investigate the Jovian system to find out what extraterrestrial things or beings were there. However, HAL had been told not to tell Bowman or Poole about this until they reached Jupiter. The other three astronauts on board the Discovery One knew about the alien presence, but they had been placed aboard the spaceship while already in hibernation. Bowman and Poole would not find out until their arrival at Jupiter, when they would be filled in by the other three astronauts and by HAL.

The HAL computer became "paranoid" because the order to keep quiet was in direct conflict with HAL's basic design: the accurate processing and distribution of information without concealment or distortion. Dr. Floyd becomes disgusted with what the NSC did, and he denies any knowledge of the secret directive. (After all, Floyd worked for completely-separate organization, the "National Council on Astronautics".)

Meanwhile, political tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, particularly regarding the country of Hondurasmarker, have escalated to "technically a state of war", with warships at sea firing on one another. Dr. Floyd, Engineer Curnow, and Dr. Chandra are all ordered by their Government to leave the Alexei Leonov and to move into the Discovery One, which is still a spaceship that belongs to the United States, just as any warship always belongs to its home country, even if it is sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

On board the Discovery One, soon Dave Bowman appears to Floyd, warning him that they must leave Jupiter within two days because "something wonderful" will happen. The huge Black Monolith suddenly disappears, and a black, growing spot appears on the Jovian surface. Telescopic observations reveal that the Great Black Spot is in fact a vast population of Black Monoliths, increasing in number at an exponential rate, shrinking Jupiter's volume, increasing its density, and modifying the chemical properties of its atmosphere with each passing minute. Since neither ship can reach the Earth with an early departure, the two crews work together to use the Discovery One as a booster rocket for the Alexei Leonov. HAL is not told that the Discovery One will be left stranded in space, and probably destroyed, and Chandra worries that this may cause its malfunctions to return. During the countdown Dr. Chandra tells HAL the whole truth, and much to everyone's collective relief, HAL understands that it must sacrifice itself for the good of the human beings on board the Alexei Leonov.

The Alexei Leonov makes a hasty retreat from its orbit around Jupiter just in time to witness the swarm of huge Monoliths engulf Jupiter. The collection of Monoliths eventually increases Jupiter's density to the point that the planet achieves the high temperatures and pressures necessary for nuclear fusion, thus Jupiter becomes a small star. A huge wave of hot plasma erupts from the forming star, which incinerates the Discovery One, and threatens the Alexei Leonov.

As the Alexei Leonov exits its Jovian orbit, HAL is commanded by the mysterious extraterrestrial intelligences to repeatedly broadcast this message toward the Earth:


The film concludes with images of two Suns in the sky of the Earth, and Dr. Floyd, in a voice-over, explains that this miraculous occurrence has inspired both the American and the Soviet leaders to end their stance of war. On Europa, this moon gradually transforms over millennea from an icy wasteland to a humid jungle covered with plant life (and likely animal life as well, given the primordial sounds emanating from the trees). As the camera pans across the jungle, it settles upon a lagoon and a lone Black Monolith standing upright, waiting for intelligent life forms to evolve.



Arthur C. Clarke appears as a man on a park bench outside the White Housemarker (which is out-of-frame in the pan-and-scan version, but visible in the letter-boxed version). In addition, a Time magazine cover about the American-Soviet tensions is briefly shown, in which the President of the United States is portrayed by Clarke and the Soviet Premier by the 2001 producer, writer, and director, Stanley Kubrick.



When Sir Arthur C. Clarke published his novel 2010: Odyssey Two in 1982, he telephoned Stanley Kubrick, and jokingly said, "Your job is to stop anybody [from] making it [into a movie] so I won't be bothered." Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) subsequently worked out a contract to make a film adaptation, but Kubrick had no interest in directing it. However, Peter Hyams was interested and contacted both Clarke and Kubrick for their blessings:
"I had a long conversation with Stanley and told him what was going on.
If it met with his approval, I would do the film; and if it didn't, I wouldn't.
I certainly would not have thought of doing the film if I had not gotten the blessing of Kubrick.
He's one of my idols; simply one of the greatest talents that's ever walked the Earth.
He more or less said, 'Sure.
Go do it.
I don't care.'
And another time he said, 'Don't be afraid.
Just go do your own movie.'"

Clarke's e-mail correspondence with Peter Hyams, the director of 2010, was published in 1984. Titled The Odyssey File: The Making of 2010, this book illustrates Dr. Clarke's fascination with the then-pioneering medium of e-mail and his use of it to communicate with Hyams on an almost-daily basis during the planning and production of the film. (Clarke was living in Sri Lankamarker while the production was taking place in California.) This book also includes Clarke's list of the top science fiction films ever made. Unfortunately, in order to give the publishers enough lead-time to have it available for the release of the movie, the book terminates while the movie is still in pre-production. At the point of the last e-mail, Clarke had not yet read the script, and Roy Scheider was the only actor who had been cast.

Special effects

2010 was the first film production for the "Entertainment Effects Group" under the charge of Edlund, who took over the special-effects house from its founder, Douglas Trumbull, following Trumbull's departure from the Industrial Light and Magic company. Trumbull left that company following his movie Brainstorm in 1983, moving on to found his new company, "Showscan".

Early in the production of this movie, Hyams found out that the original 50-foot model of the "Discovery One" that had been built for 2001 had also been destroyed following the filming, as had all of the model-makers' plans for building it. The model makers at Richard Edlund's EEG had to use frame-by-frame enlargements from a 70 mm copy of the original film to recreate the "Discovery One".

In order to maintain the realism of the lighting in outer space, in which light would usually come from a single light source (in this case, the Sun), Edlund and Hyams decided that blue-screen photography would not be used for shooting the space scenes. Instead, a process known as front-light/back-light filming was used. The models were filmed as they would appear in space, then a white background was placed behind the model. This isolated the model's outlines so that proper traveling mattes could be made. All of this processing doubled the amount of time that it took to film these sequences, due to the first motion-control pass that was needed to generate the matte. This process also eliminated the problem of "blue spill", which is the main disadvantage of blue-screen photography. In this, photographed models would often have blue outlines surrounding them because a crisp matte was not always possible to make.

Blue-screen photography was used in the scene in which Floyd demonstrates his plan to use the two spaceships to achieve the change in momentum needed to leave Jovian orbit before the opening of the launch window. In this scene, Floyd uses two pens to demonstrate his plans. Roy Scheider performed this scene without the pens actually being present, and the pens were filmed separately against a blue screen - using an "Oxberry" animation stand that was programmed to match Scheider's movements. (The intial sequence of Floyd's making the pens float was carried out by simply attaching them to a polished piece of oscillating glass that was placed between him and the camera.)


Several elements have become anachronistic in the years following the film's release, the most obvious being the end of the Cold War and the fact that the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991. Pan American World Airways went out of business in 1991. The closing sequence of the film briefly depicts the Lincoln Memorialmarker in Washington, D.C.marker, as seen from a small installation of fountains that was subsequently replaced by the National World War II Memorialmarker.


2010 was nominated for five Academy Awards: winning in none of these categories

2010 won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1985.


At one time, Tony Banks, a "Genesis" keyboardist, was commissioned to do the soundtrack for 2010.

However, David Shire was the one who was selected to compose the soundtrack for 2010, which he co-produced along with Craig Huxley. Besides being used for the film, the soundtrack music was also published by the A&M Records company in the United States.

Unlike many film soundtracks of the first half of the 1980s and before, the soundtrack for 2010 was composed for and played mainly using digital synthesizers. These included the Synclavier by the New England Digital company and a Yamaha DX1. Andy Summers, a guitarist for The Police, performed in the soundtrack composition, "2010".

Only two compositions on the soundtrack album feature a symphony orchestra. Mr. Shire and Mr. Huxley were so impressed by the realistic sound of the Synclavier that they placed a disclaimer in the album's liner notes: "No re-synthesis or sampling was employed on the Synclavier."

Differences from the novel

  • The film 2010 omits the space voyage and the landing of the Chinese spaceship, Tsien, on the Jovian moon Europa before the Alexei Leonov's arrival, and the accidental destruction of the Tsien by the non-intelligent life-forms residing there, and also the description of Dave Bowman's (the Star Child's) exploration of the Jovian system, in which he observes various life forms in the oceans of Europa and in the Jovian atmosphere.

  • The film also omits almost all the romantic/physical relationships between the astronauts. In the novel, Tanya Kirbuk is married to the navigator, Vasili Orlov, and has taken the surname Orlova. In the novel, Walter Curnow is a bisexual, and he has a relationship with Maxim Brailovsky, but breaks it off when he learns that Zenia Marchenko is in love with Maxim. At the end of the novel we find that Maxim gets married to Zenia, and Curnow gets married to the doctor, Katerina Rudenko.

    Also omitted from the film is the ending of Dr. Floyd's marriage while he is on board the mission to Jupiter, due to his wife's natural feeling of abandonment from his leaving her and their son to go on a years-long spaceflight.

    The voice-mail letters to his family that are portrayed in the movie replace moments in the novel in which Dr. Floyd corresponds with an old friend back on the Earth.

  • The film adds a few sub-plots that are not present in the novel. A manned exploratory expedition to the black monolith in Jovian orbit is portrayed in which Maxim gets killed. (He does not die in the novel.) The film also adds a testy period of political tension between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. which results in the American astronauts being expelled from Alexei Leonov and being sent to live on the Discovery One. (In the novel, it is China that leads the political tensions.)

  • Several characters have been modified from the novel to the movie. In the novel 2010, Dr. Chandra is definitely an Asian Indianmarker man. His full name is Sivasubramanian Chandrasegarampillai, and he displays several Indian habits. In the film, this character, the computer science expert, is referred to only as "Dr. Chandra", and he is played by Bob Balaban, a light-skinned American caucasian (whose ancestry happens to be Russian Jewish) whose character doesn't have anything to do with India.
    In the novel, Dr. Rudenko is a woman named Katerina, but in the film, Dr. Rudenko is a man named Vladimir.

    In the novel, a crew member named Irina Yakunina suffers an injury before the launch, and she is replaced by Zenia Marchenko, but in the film, there is a crew member called Irina Yakunina who has all of Zenia's character traits.

    In the novel, the idea of using the Discovery One as a booster is Curnow's idea - naturally since he is the American astronautical engineer on board, and it is his job to work on repairing the Discovery One.

    It is definitely not Dr. Floyd's idea, as it is in the movie.

    Also, Curnow's character is much more outgoing and ebullient than in the movie.

  • The film simplifies some of the novel's scientific details: the Discovery One's tumbling motion and its drift toward Io are left unexplained (in the novel these are caused by the inertia of its centrifuge being transferred over time to the ship's superstructure, and by the Jupiter-Io flux tube).

  • In the novel, Bowman's warning indicated that the Alexei Leonov and its crew had to leave Jupiter space within fifteen days. The film shortened the deadline to only two days.

  • In the novel, HAL is commanded to repeatedly broadcast the message "ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS - EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE." The film adds the words "USE THEM TOGETHER. USE THEM IN PEACE."

  • The novel includes a brief epilogue titled "20,001", which details the evolution of the Europans. The film simplifies this to a single scene of Europa gradually being transformed into a jungle planet.

  • In the novel, Chandra never reveals to HAL the real reason behind their hurried departure from Jupiter. In the film version, Chandra finally breaks his silence and tells HAL the truth, knowing that there is a possibility that he might defy orders. HAL, however, follows the orders exactly and thanks Chandra for telling him the truth, to which he replies, "You deserve it."

Discontinuities between 2001 and 2010

  • In its use of Jupiter as a setting, the film is discontinuous with the novel of 2001 but continuous with the film. While the novel of 2001 had located the destination of Discovery One at Saturn, this was changed to Jupiter for the film to simplify the special effects. Both the novel and the film of 2010 follow the film of 2001 in using Jupiter.

  • In the film, 2010, the blue spacesuit on the Discovery One is missing its helmet, even though the blue suit was never used at all in the film 2001. (In 2001, when Dave Bowman enters the Discovery One to disable HAL, he is actually wearing a green helmet - part of a green spacesuit that is stowed in the emergency airlock.) He changes to wearing the red helmet for his voyage into the Black Monolith.

  • In the film, 2010, Dr. Floyd protests that he never authorized anyone to inform HAL of the TMA-1 monolith prior to the Discovery One's launch to Jupiter. However, in the film version of 2001, the recorded message by Dr. Floyd that is played after HAL's disconnection clearly states that only HAL had full knowledge of the TMA-1 monolith.

  • In one respect, the novel and the film of 2010 follow the original novel of 2001 instead of the film. In the novel 2001, HAL identifies his teacher as Dr. Chandra. Stanley Kubrick's film changed the name to "Mr. Langley". Both versions of 2010 use "Dr. Chandra", without noting that "Chandra" and "Langley" were meant to be the same character.

  • The line "My God... it's full of stars!", quoted at the beginning of the film, 2010, was not spoken in the film 2001. It is only read in the novel.

  • In the film, 2001, Kubrick had taken the unusual (and realistic) step of presenting explosions in outer space as being silent, as they would be in a vacuum. In the film, 2010, they are presented inaccurately as producing noise.

  • In the film 2001, the informational displays on the Discovery One are flat panels (realized by the film's set designers by using rear-projection). In the film, 2010, the displays are Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) with the slightly-curved face characteristic of most CRTs. (Actual CRTs were used in the set design.)

  • In the film, 2001, Dr. Floyd states that the monolith found on the Moon was located "near the crater Tychomarker" - hence the designation "TMA-1". "TMA" stood for "Tycho Magnetic Anomaly". In his text report at the beginning of 2010, Dr. Floyd states that the Monolith was discovered on the Moon's Sea of Tranquillitymarker. These two lunar locations are hundreds of miles apart.

DVD release

2010 was released on DVD on September 19, 2000. It was presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with the soundtrack remastered in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. A packaging error appears on Warner Home Video's release of the DVD, claiming that the film is presented in anamorphic widescreen when, in reality, it is simply letterboxed, not anamorphic (the MGM version of the DVD makes no such claim). The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on April 7, 2009. It features a BD-25 single-layer presentation with 1080p/VC-1 video and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround audio. The disc also includes the film's original "making of" promotional featurette and theatrical trailer as extras.

Features (Region 1)
  • Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown Format)
  • "Making Of" featurette

Features (Region 2)
  • Available Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, Bulgarian
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)

The 2006 Warner Bros. re-release includes the following subtitles: Finnish, English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Polish, Greek, Czech, Turkish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Croatian, French, Italian, English for hearing-impaired and German for hearing-impaired. The audio tracks are English (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1).

Features (Region 4)
  • Available Subtitles: English, French, Italian
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)


  1. LoBrutto 1997, p. 456.
  2. Arthur C. Clarke and Peter Hyams. The Odyssey File. Ballantine Books, 1984.
  3. Excerpt from The Odyssey File.
  4. Tony Banks interview,


  • LoBrutto, Vincent. Stanley Kubrick. London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1997.

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