Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

2010: The Year We Make Contact, by Peter Hyams, based on the works by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nine years have passed since the failure of the Discovery One mission.  Four crew were dead, the commander mysteriously disappeared, and the supercomputer HAL was quiet no matter how many times mission control tried to contact the ship.

As tensions continue to build between America and the Soviet Union, both are determined to find out what happened with the Discovery mission to Jupiter.  Eventually they come to a very wary truce as the Soviet ship will be ready before Discovery Two.  There will be a joint mission to discover the truth and hopeful recovery of Discovery One and HAL.

When the crew arrives they discover a variety of things they were not expecting from life on Europa, to the Discovery One and HAL, to a strange set of monoliths that appear in a burst of energy. 

Will we finally discover who or what created these strange items?  What does HAL have to say for himself?  And where did Bowman disappear to?

General Information:

-Genre: Science Fiction

-Creator: Peter Hyams based on the works by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke

-Length: 116 minutes

-Rating: G (for mild violence and gore, very mild language, moderate frightening and intense scenes) – Noted that this movie was released in 1968 so take the rating as you will…

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Roy Scheider, Jon Lithgow, Helen Mirren, Bob Blaban, Keir Dullea

-Page of Reference in RP1: 107

Review (contains spoilers):

Blah.  These are a struggle for me which is why I decided to review them first thing this month.

Just like the first movie I tried to put myself in the mindset of when it was created not thirty some odd years later when I am used to a very different style of movie and show in the science-fiction world.  But it is really hard.

Unlike other films I take issue with my struggle isn’t with the cinematography (which I actually like in this film) or the special effects (quite proficient for the 1980s)…it’s the story.

I really felt like the first film and novel were fine how they were.  The ending was odd but not super unsettling.  The story line was wrapped up quite well…and for how trippy the film was everything felt mostly settled.  I didn’t feel a pressing need to know where the monoliths came from or what else they may have been doing in the universe.  The mystery of them was just compelling enough to keep me reading the book and interested in the film.

To me this just felt a bit forced.  But maybe I’m just reading into it because the movie was just ok.

I’m not sure what else to say other than its fine.  Watch it if you feel compelled to but honestly you aren’t missing much.  The first one was better and worth the watch.

Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

2010: Odyssey Two, created by Arthur C. Clarke: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

The Discovery One’s mission to Jupiter ended in failure.  None of the crew was recovered and the ship was left to float in space for nine years.

Now a joint Soviet-American crew including Heywood Floyd are on the Alexei Lenov are on a mission to investigate what happened on that earlier mission…and what exactly the odd black monolith that was in orbit around the planet had (if anything) to do with the failed mission.

While the American ship, the Discovery Two, is sent to investigate it is the Soviet ship that is quicker due to a new engine drive that will allow for higher speeds.  So Floyd is sent along with the Soviet crew to revisit the issues on his last mission.

However, when a Chinese space station rockets out of the orbit of Earth on a trajectory to Jupiter too the mission is thrown into disarray.

What were the Chinese thinking with the speed they were going?  Is it going to be a one way trip, or will they be able to refuel with the water on Europa?  And how do the black monoliths figure into everything that seems to be going on with these space excursions?  Are they friend, or foe?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: Arthur C. Clarke

-Number of Pages: 290

-Main Characters: Dr. Heywood Floyd, Dr. Walter Curnow, Dr. Sivasubramanian Chandrasegarampillai (Dr. Chandra), Captain Tatiana “Tanya” Orlova, Dr. Vasili Orlov, Dr. Maxim Brailovsky, Surgeon Commander Katerina Rudenko, Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Kovalev, Dr. Nikolai Ternovsky, Zenia Marchenko, HAL 9000

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! Also available on Audible if you enjoy audiobooks!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 107

Review (contains spoilers):

Ok…so this one just seemed weird.

There is a lot of underlying tension in it between America, the Soviet Union and China…which ill chalk up to the fact that it was written just as the Cold War was coming to one of its peaks…

There is some very odd stuff with the monoliths eating Jupiter…not really sure what that was all about…and honestly I’ve never been great with the allusions in science-fiction.  I struggle to see what the bigger idea is. To me its really just what is on the page.

A new star is created, the Discovery One is destroyed…HAL is given a second life for all of its help.  And there is new life on Europa. We do get to see how they are beginning to advance.  It felt like a decent parallel to how we saw 2001 start with prehistoric humankind.

Overall, it’s a decently good science-fiction story.  For me it really just was hard to get through, but I do chalk that up to the fact that I struggle with pure-science fiction novels (where as I love science-fantasy novels and almost every piece of science-fiction film I’ve ever gotten my hands on…no idea why the books are a struggle).

I can say I enjoyed 2001 quite a bit more.  And this one more than the other two books in the “trilogy”…but more on that in a bit.

Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

2001: a Space Odyssey, created by Arthur C. Clarke at the request of Stanley Kubrick: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

In the prehistoric African plains, a strange alien monolith appears amongst the early humanoids. As it reaches out to study the primitive lifeforms they learn more and more, progressing to the point of using very primitive tools.  When the monolith has learned what it sets out to, it disappears, along with many others, leaving in its wake a more advanced civilization-one on its path to intelligence and survival.

In 1999, Dr. Heywood Floyd is needed on Clavius Base to review an electromagnetic disturbance.  When they investigate a large black monolith is found, its appearance and creation hinting intelligent origins.

The Discovery One is sent to Saturn with most of the crew put into stasis.  The ship is run by two humans: Dr. David Bowman and Dr. Frank Poole.  They are assisted by HAL 9000- an artificial intelligence that is extremely human in attitude and manner.

As the ship continues on its journey into the vastness of space HAL begins to report malfunctions to various parts of the ship…many of which are not occurring.  The problem is HAL refuses to admit that his diagnosis was wrong.  While trying to fix the issues Bowman and Poole discover that more might be going on that they realize.  What happens when your supercomputer might be trying to kill you?  And what are these odd monolithic structures doing popping up all over the globe?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: created by Arthur C. Clarke at the request of Stanley Kubrick

-Number of Pages: 221/224

-Main Characters: Moon-Watcher, Dr. Heywood Floyd, David Bowman/Star Child, Frank Poole, HAL-9000

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! Also available on Audible if you enjoy audiobooks!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 107

Review (contains spoilers):

Honestly not my favorite book, but I was fascinated with the story that was told at the beginning of the copy of the book I read.  It was a foreward with Arthur C. Clarke himself where he discussed how the story came together in the first place.

Usually when I am reviewing movies that are based off of a book it is a struggle to review whichever one I am less familiar with.  In this case I had seen the film of 2001: A Space Odyssey several times before.  It is classic science-fiction and is often recommended as one of the top 100 sci-fi films that you should watch in your lifetime.

As I read through the book (well, honestly, listened to the audiobook because multi-tasking for the win!), I was fascinated by how closely the book followed the film.  Like eerily close.  This is super common in a lot of older films that I’ve experienced based off of a written material verses but this particular novel/film pairing was basically the same save the book goes to Jupiter and the movie goes to Saturn…other than that they are identical.

So I went back and read the forward.  I’m terrible and usually skip it because it often doesn’t add much to the enjoyment of the book for me.  If I’m interested in what the author or the publisher or whoever put together the publication thought was important enough to add in something of the sort then I’ll go back.

I’m glad I did.  It changed a lot of my perspective on this book.

Apparently, the film and the book were basically written together.  In fact the novel is basically just the screenplay…but since Stanley Kubrick knew that Arthur C. Clarke would  be bored writing a screenplay he asked Clarke to write a book instead when Kubrick approached him asking if they could collaborate on a science-fiction story.

While that doesn’t change how I feel about the writing (pretty much the same I feel about most adult and/or straight science-fiction novels-what can I say they aren’t my cup of tea), or the plot (quite long and drawn out…and it was really hard to see the connection and why it started in the prehistoric era…), or even the ending (why is Star Child even a thing???)… it did give me some insight into why the two things were so insanely similar.

My opinion on the book:  if you are a hard-core science-fiction lover, read it, you’ll probably love it or at least enjoy seeing where a lot of modern sci-fi stories, ideas and storytelling come from.  If you aren’t a hard core sci-fi novel lover….just watch the movie…its literally the same thing.

Oh, and I did enjoy the audiobook if that is your jam. The narrator had a pleasant voice to listen to.

Review:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.