The Black Hole

Year: 1979

Synopsis: A crew at the end of their deep space exploration mission find a lost ship impossibly hovering dangerously close to a black hole.

Pros:
• Maximilian Schell’s perfectly calculated camp made Dr. Reinhardt a true delight to watch. He likely knew this film was ridiculous, and seemed to be the only one enjoying the ride as evil Captain Nemo.
• Maximillian was an amazing silent menace of a robot the viewer will probably root for over all the other characters.
• Lack of real science notwithstanding, the visuals were truly remarkable, especially when they were at their most surreal.
• The roboticized crew were genuinely eerie.
• Though a bit repetitive and overbearing, the score was equally as memorable as the visuals.
• The unintentional humor, in tandem with the wild-eyed Reinhardt, ironically helped to make up for the film’s glaring flaws.

Cons:
• The human protagonists ranged from forgettable to generically two-dimensional, as the protagonist robots were sometimes annoying (sorry Slim Pickens).
• Most of the actors seemed miscast.
• The majority of the intentional jokes fell flat, and there were a lot of them. The banter was a bit grating at times as well.
• Sometimes seemed at odds with itself, by trying to be family friendly and adult sci-fi.
• Blatantly ripped off 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Star Wars, and Star Trek.
• Majority of the “science” presented made no sense.

Discussion:
They picked the wrong script, the wrong director, the wrong cast, the wrong science. Where did they go right?

There was no doubting how experimental this was for 1970s Disney. Thanks to Star Wars, sci-fi was starting to see the kind of interest its seeing today. Disney, however, had a history of family-friendly productions, even if much of its catalogue into the mid-twentieth century was a bit racist at times. So, they tried a get a piece of the sci-fi action. OK, fine, The Black Hole ended up becoming a slow, psychedelic ride where we have murderous robots along side “family-friendly” banter. No, it did not make that much sense thematically, but it was somehow right in its unintentional hilarity and mystery. This film went all the way in its absurdities. At the same time, it perhaps paved the way for the more PG-13 audience we see now in places like Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Black Hole is a relic of film, whose vintage only seems to improve ironically with age.


Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes — 43%

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