2010I may have simple tastes but I prefer 2010 to 2001. I saw the sequel first, when I was about 10 years old, and I was keen to see the first film for some answers to the many questions I had. Perhaps as a child I was too young to appreciate 2001, but I found it unsatisfying. 2010 always seemed more accessible to me, the kind of film I would want to experience time and again.

I love the balance between accuracy and entertainment on show here, tipped just enough towards realism to be engaging, but not so much that you lose the excitement of the movie. This is a film first and foremost, and the story takes centre stage. The depiction of space travel may not represent how it will actually be in about 30 years time, but its how I imagined it would be, and to me, that’s more important.

And nothing conjures the imagination more than a space walk, which is the scene I want to talk about today.

The Setup

  • Following the events of the first film, the abandoned vessel Discovery is in orbit near the Jovian moon Io
  • A Russian vessel, the Leonov, is dispatched carrying American crew members attempting to salvage the Discovery and determine why her mission failed

The Characters

  • John Lithgow plays Dr. Walter Curnow, an engineer who is afraid of heights
  • Elya Baskin plays Max Brajlovsky, a friendly cosmonaut

The Scene

  • After reaching the vicinity of the Discovery, they must now execute a space walk to enter the rotating ship
  • Curnow is an engineer and is terrified of heights, he's having a difficult time composing himself for the ordeal
  • Max on the other hand seems very relaxed and helps Curnow throughout the walk, this is nicely contrasted with a role reversal shortly after they breach the Discovery

Over the eerily alien planetscape of Io the two men set out across the hundred or so metres between the two ships.

  1. They leave the Leonov and start toward the Discovery kuritsa1
  2. Curnow’s pulse is a little high, he starts fogging up kuritsa2
  3. 50 metres.. I love the planetscape below, inspirational
  4. Time for some small talk, Curnow asks Max the Russian for ‘chicken’ kuritsa4
  5. Ku-RRit-sa All the Russian I've ever needed I learned from this movie
  6. 10 metres.. kuritsa6
  7. Touchdown the shadows are moving as the ship rotates making the clinging action seem more reasonable

The weird sounds coupled with the ragged breathing, that’s what really sells this scene. The blend of Curnow’s rational humanity, and the completely alien environment beneath, and around him. I always felt this depiction of space was a good middle ground between the soundless vacuum of hard science fiction and the whizzing engine noises of video games. Its hosts some elements of humanity, but it still feels quite alien and barren.

Oh I almost forgot..

The disturbing image of the floating foetus..

The completely freaked me out when I was a kid, I watched through my fingers :)