This may be the worst sci fi movie ever made. Admittedly, I liked it much better last time I watched it, when it was called "Space Odyssey 2001." This version? Well, let's just say the author was not quite Arthur C. Clarke, and the director was not quite Stanley Kubrick. Not even close.
Sadly, this movie copies the basic plot elements from Space Odyssey 2001, but then makes each of them as terrible as possible.
I can only imagine that a fly on the wall of the room in which the writer and director came up with this movie heard a conversation like this:
Should we have the plot center on a mysterious rectangular black monolith in space? Yeah, but let's change it to a black cube so it's different!
Should we have a main character on a space ship responsible for investigating this mysterious monolith, but the main character has to overcome an AI named HAL that runs the ship and who is supposed to be helping but have a secret agenda? Yeah, but let's change the AI's name to ARTIE, so it's different! Oh yeah, and let's also change the main character to Katie Sackoff because, well, she's hot! And different!
Should we disclose at the end that the monolith was sent from some far-off place in the universe? Yeah, but it was kinda confusing in Space Odyssey 2001, so let's just have the AI explain, "Hey, this monolith was sent from some far-off place in the universe," which would be different!
At the end of the movie, should we have the monolith somehow transform the main character into some other kind of being so the main character can take some kind of journey of advancement and exploration with the beings that sent the monolith, but not really tell you anything about what happens on that journey? Yeah, but again, that was really confusing in 2001, so let's just have the AI explain what happens, and that would be different!
Is there any way for us to do all of that great stuff from 2001, but do it really, really badly? Sure! Maybe we could have the main character spend a lot of time arguing with her overbearing sister about the future of AI, and make her sister really really stupid so that it's easy to figure out whose position is the correct one! And maybe they could spend a lot of time arguing about what their dead dad would have wanted for the future of AI, because all sci-fi fans want to hear Katie Sackoff argue with her stupid sister about what their dead dad would have wanted for the future of AI!
Seriously, if you are at all inclined to watch this movie, just go watch Space Odyssey 2001 again and forget you ever heard of 2036 Origin Unknown. Your life will be better for it.