It's a matter of phrasing. When someone says, "It was trying to be 2001." it sounds like an accusation that the film is trying to immitate 2001.
No accusation intended. It's like comparing, say, The Maltese Falcon
to The Big Sleep.
Nobody's saying that they're the same movie or that one is imitating the other. But they're both the same type
of hard-boiled detective story.
Similarly, you can tell that TMP
wants to be same type
of movie as 2001:
a serious, intellectual sf movie about Big Ideas.
Whether they lost some of the fun and excitement of the old TV show in the process is another question . . . .