Year: 1984
Studio: MGM
Director: Peter Hyams
Producer: Peter Hyams
Writer: Peter Hyams/Arthur C Clarke
Cast: Rod Scheider, Helen Mirren, Bob Balaban, Jon Voight
A far more accessible effort than its lofty predecessor, continuing the story of astronaut Dan Bowman, who it turns out disappeared investigating the monolith orbiting Jupiter from Kubrick's mind-bender (and didn't just sit in a hotel room as it looked like).

Deciding to investigate his last transmissions - the haunting 'my God, it's full of stars' - the trigger-finger governments of Russia and the US decide to send a co-operative mission to reactivate HAL, retrieve the Discovery and maybe even find Bowman.

Scheider leads the mission, and the race is on to find out what's happened as political relations back home deteriorate and threaten to derail the whole mission. Thrown into the mix is an unfriendly Soviet pilot (Mirren), a twitchy computer scientist (Balaban) charged with bringing Hal back to life and a host of agendas.

Like Kubrick perfected, this isn't the space of Star Wars with alien ships and laser blasters. It's a tricky dance with airlocks, delicate transport systems and heavy protective suits. The Discovery spinning in space and the control deck where HAL receives his programs are some of the most beautiful images of space of any science fiction film, and the production design lends an extra weight to a story that's far easier to swallow than 2001.

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