|Rated: PG for reasons unspecified by the MPAA (US) / PG (Canada)|
Starring: Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, and Helen Mirren
Released: December 7, 1984 (theaters)
This movie was actually quite pokey for a sci-fi flick, but, for some reason, I felt compelled to see it through to the end. Those expecting a Lucasfilm-style adventure should look elsewhere. Still, it works.
Special Effects: 4/5
As this movie was released in 1984, it's not going to be on par with Harry Potter or the Star Wars prequels in this department. However, what's here looks real enough; it's not the kind of dreck one would see on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I have no complaints in this department; everyone in the cast did quite well.
Films from the decade of excess are known for their cheesy music, and this one is no exception. It can be a little annoying at times, but it mostly works moderately well.
Positive Elements: 2.5/5
Heywood Floyd is a family man, and dictates messages to his family while in space. It is implied that the Americans and Russians are enemies, but the astronauts from both countries work together regardless.
A husband and wife are seen starting to have sexual relations, but the camera cuts away before anything more can be seen.
The few moments of action in this movie end without anyone dying or even any bloodshed.
Was this movie made before the PG-13 rating existed? I don't know, but the language alone makes it deserve that rating. Floyd is pretty much the only one who swears, but, since he is the main character, he has most of the dialogue, and he hardly utters a sentence without adding a profanity or two. Both God and Jesus' names are misused, and h-words, d-words, and other expletives are more common than most discerning viewers would be comfortable with.
Alcohol is mentioned and/or consumed more than once.
Evolution gets mentioned, but that's to be expected from an Arthur C. Clarke work. HAL is only a computer, but is treated like a human being, which may be bothersome to some.
Conclusion: I usually enjoy science fiction or fantasy stories, but this one is a dud. I watched it in between episodes of TV shows--some of which are ones I just posted reviews of--and felt the need to finish it; however, the best thing I can say about it is that I got more in trade-in credit from MovieStop than I paid for it. (I got it for a buck at a library sale.) Other than the language, the content is clean, but I still didn't like it very well. Maybe Arthur C. Clarke devotees might feel differently; everyone else, though, should look elsewhere.