Timothy Lawrence’s review published on Letterboxd:
Dr. Floyd calls his daughter to wish her a happy birthday; Frank's parents call to wish him a happy birthday. Significantly, these are the only times "normal" human interactions intrude into the film's milieu. HAL is returned to the tabula rasa of his factory settings, the closest thing a computer has to infancy, but this is only a pale foreshadowing of the rebirth that Dave undergoes. I've never paid much attention to the fact that Dave sees Earth's desert landscapes during his journey through the star gate – I've always chalked it up to a limitation of budget or special effects, and besides, the film is just washing over me at that point – but on this viewing, it occurred to me that it's a return to the Dawn of Man sequence. Dave returns first to the birthplace of man as a species, and then to the birthplace of modern man. Although the fashions situate the film squarely in the 1960s, the music situates it earlier, and the neoclassical decor of the room Dave ends up in does not come out of nowhere, it merely brings to fruition what the soundtrack has been promising all along.