Dazzling special effects and fancy space hardware dominate this follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Yet, there’s no feeling of awe, mystery or imagination as a joint American and Russian space crew try to find out what went wrong with the spacecraft Discovery One lost in space near Jupiter some nine years ago.
Dr Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) is asked to spearhead the American part of the multinational mission to Jupiter, to re-activate the HAL 9000 super-computer and determine the nature of the mysterious Monolith discovered by Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Floyd and the rest of the American team – computer expert Dr Chandra (Bob Balaban), and Discovery One designer Walter Curnow (John Lithgow) – board the Soviet ship, Leonov, under the command of Captain Tanya Kirbuk (Helen Mirren) for the journey.
Meanwhile back on Earth, a ghostly entity resembling Dave Bowman begins to appear to the astronaut’s surviving family members. He tells them that “something wonderful” is going to happen soon.
When Dr Chahndra revives the HAL 9000, it warns the crew of the Leonov that this vicinity of space is becoming increasingly dangerous because of a strange storm of Monoliths in the atmosphere of Jupiter.
The two space crews must put their ideology and suspicion behind them to survive and escape the region. This high-tech misfire winds down with many loose ends dangling and a lot of double talk about peace among the superpowers.
Dr Heywood Floyd
Captain Tanya Kirbuk