I think I saw 2001 the movie first, certainly didn’t understand it, then I read all four books in high school at some point. I don’t think I was even aware that there was a second movie until Netflix recommended it to me last year some time (yes, it only just now made it to the top of my queue).
So, first, 2010 is pretty generic sci-fi. It rather obviously doesn’t have the craft in Kubrick’s film, so while it wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t bad, either. I had forgotten how much the silence in space in 2001 changes the film.
As always, I am amused by what dated sci-fi got right, and what it got wrong. Part of that requires a certain level of special effects; the current capability of photoreal rendering lets you go pretty crazy with look-and-feel (yes, I’m thinking computer interfaces), whereas 2010 was doing mostly miniatures, set design, camera tricks, all the usual stuff.
I’m wondering when current sci-fi, like say Battlestar Galactica, will start to look really dated. They obivously thought ’80s hair was going to last a good 25 years after the film was made.
Also, when Dave Bowman shows up as an old man, my first thought was that he looked a lot like Dr. Soong (Brent Spiner in lots of makeup) from the nextgen episode “Brothers”. Guess what? Same makeup artist, Michael Westmore. I watch too much Star Trek.