If you're looking at this DVD, then the odds are pretty good that you've seen, or perhaps even own, 2001:A Space Odyssey.
You know who HAL is, and Dave Bowman ( "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" ). This is good. You have some background to this movie.
What's better though - is that you don't need that background. This film works even if you've never seen the classic "2001". It does a great job of giving you some background as part of the plot.
This is a very good, stand alone, film. It works on a lot of levels and is a great sci-fi story.
Yes, the monolith is back, and yes, it's doing some strange things. Roy Scheider is sent to check out some of the odd happenings. He's hitching a ride on a Russian ( It helps to remember that when this film came out, we were still pretty deep in the "Russian's Are Bad" mentality. ) Spacecraft, complete with a strong female captain and a ( english speaking ) crew. Scheider has his team along for the ride.
The interaction between the American Crew and the Russian Crew is wonderful. Roy Scheider, who can sometimes be a little overpowering in his acting style, is wonderful here. His main counterpart is the Russian Captain, played by the always watchable Helen Mirran ( of "Prime Suspect" fame ).
Also along for the ride is John Lithgow and Bob Balaban ( as the tender Dr.Chandra ).
The cast if first rate and the writing and storytelling are right on. I don't want to give away any plot points but the mystery of the monolith is still there.
This film probably isn't as "deep and meaningful" as the original but it does hold it's own as a sci-fi movie.
Oh, and yes, that's Candice Bergen as the voice of SAL 9000.
Give this movie a try. Go in without expectation and you'll be surprised. It's a good watch.
Best Regards, turtlex