First things first, this is nowhere near, nor does it try to be the film that 2001 was...This was obviously a smart move on the filmmaker's part as it would be nearly impossible and pointless to try and duplicate the original in any way.
Having said that, there are a few similarities here and there; the tone of the movie feels pretty much the same but this one is much goofier. Again, we are trying to compare this to the masterpiece that 2001 is.
There are several flaws with this film but the biggest, to me, was the fact that it just seemed so pointless. Hollywood will never learn (as can be definitely proven by the way things are going today with remakes, revamps, re-imaginings, etc.) that they should just leave something good alone. There was absolutely no need to further explore the meaning of the monolith, what happened to Dave Bowman, what happened to Discovery and most of all, what the meaning behind the events of the first film was. The original author, Arthur C. Clarke, was an amazing writer and since a follow-up had to be made apparently, this was probably about as good as it was going to get. This film was not methodical like 2001 was; in fact, it seemed like it was in a rush to get to certain plot points most of the time. However, in a 2 hour movie, I guess that's inevitable.
The special effects are good as well as the techno-babble - I really did feel like a real-life situation would be similar to the way this plays out. The characters as scientists were believable. Another complaint of mine was some of the scale of things looked a bit off - Jupiter never looked as big as it should, the moons appeared too big and everything seemed to be too close together.
Overall, I'm glad I (finally) saw this. It's something I'll probably revisit down the road and even though it doesn't hold a candle to the original, it holds its own, is solid entertainment and is extremely well made.