The Black Hole

1979

Action / Sci-Fi

13
IMDb Rating 5.9 10 21125

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Roddy McDowall as V.I.N.CENT.
Ernest Borgnine as Harry Booth
Anthony Perkins as Dr. Alex Durant
Robert Forster as Captain Dan Holland
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
845.69 MB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 4 / 20
1.58 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 1 / 15

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mattaki 8 / 10

Taken in terms of the late 70's, this is a science fiction classic.

Having seen this movie in the theater when I was 8, I and everyone in my school was spellbound by it. Many parts of it haven't held up well 30 years later: the acting is similar to any 70's made for TV show. It was made at a time when every show had a wisecracking character (think SNL) and had a symphonic theme (just listen to any TV theme show from the time). While the movie gets often nailed for the stoically wooden acting, 90% of the characters are scientists, robots or following the contemporary stereotype of astronauts as strong and taciturn. The plot is essentially 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea set in space.

Culturally, the movie felt topical at the time. It was a perfect amalgamation of popular culture in the late 1970's: science fiction (Star Wars, et al.), video games (Space Invaders), space exploration (the Voyager probes), laser guns and robots (everything from Battlestar Galactica to Buck Rogers), as well as ESP, parapsychology and heaven vs. hell (c.f. see the number of books on psychic phenomena and mysteries from the late 70's as well as the popularity of things like Heaven Can Wait and the George Burns' "Oh God!" movies).

Disney took a huge gamble on a movie that was so overtly dark, both in tone and set lighting. The movie was not a runaway financial success but was not a loss either, a major achievement considering its extremely high price tag. Even if its ethos and pacing don't fit well with today's audiences, its design sense holds up today. The sets create a feeling of both scale, claustrophobia, and tension. The robot V.I.N.CENT actually steals the show, both in his insight and action. His action figure was more popular on the playground than any of the Star Wars figures, yet most of his constant clever yet arrogant wisdom comes from literary quotes far beyond any child's entertainment - from Shakespeare to Cicero to the Bible. Like the best Disney movies, this one was made to be simultaneously enjoyed on different levels by both the kids and adults in the audience.

All in all, taken in terms of its time, it's a remarkable achievement in special effects and seeing Disney push its limits. The pacing, acting, musical themes, juxtaposition of long exposition with laser fights, scientific theories and portrayal of robots as rigid goose-steppers all seem dated today. The rest is a good allegory of balancing scientific genius with ethics. The practical effects still hold up. V.I.N.CENT is more human than any CGI creation and - with his constant humanities references, arrogance, and compassion for his crewmates - the most human component of the film.

For anyone expecting a Disney movie circa the late 80's and afterwards, you may not be entertained. For classic science fiction fans as well as those who have nostalgia for or are interested in American culture in the late 70's, don't miss this.

SPOILER BELOW:

The ending is very 2001-esque and gets attacked for its obscurity, but the symbolism was clear to anyone who went to Sunday School (which at the time was nearly everyone): the bad guys went to hell and the good guys went to heaven. What's behind a black hole? According to the movie, the world all souls go to when they die.

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 8 / 10

An unfairly marginalised bit of sci-fi

The Black Hole was one of many films that were released with the intention of cresting the sci-fi wave created by the huge success of Star Wars (1977). More specifically, this was Disney's attempt at the genre and I think it was the studio's first movie that didn't go for a U certificate. The film that it can best be compared to is Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was also released the same year. Both movies sport fantastic special effects and production values, while both also are surprisingly - and pleasingly - slightly left-field in their approach. Neither really fall squarely into the action/adventure bracket that Star Wars so obviously did, they rely more on atmosphere, some psychological aspects and have some enigmatic qualities which seem to indicate the influence of the earlier hard sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space odyssey (1968). For these reasons, I find both these films to be decidedly under-appreciated and interesting. The Star Trek franchise of course went down a different, more comforting route, from the second feature The Wrath of Khan (1982) onwards, while The Black Hole remained a one off that has become more and more obscure as the years go by. So much so that it could reasonably be considered a cult movie on account of its selective appeal.

From the off, this is visually a very interesting film. It has great sets and model work, which make the giant space craft where the majority of the action takes place an evocative setting. The special effects throughout are in general very impressive and still look good today. But the visuals have been constructed for more than mere spectacle as they combine to create a pretty interesting atmosphere on the whole; they ultimately are used also to set up the strange and ambiguous ending which involves visions of Hell and an alternate universe. This kind of oddness stands out these days, as most big budget sci-fi endeavours mostly avoid such ambiguity, but this is definitely a plus point for The Black Hole. Another serious asset is the really effective main theme from John Barry. This is in all honesty one of his best bits of individual music, its sweeping yet mysterious and complements events on screen extremely well.

The story itself is pretty simple and boils down to a deep space crew discovering a mysterious spaceship near a black hole, they board it and events escalate. The story is perhaps oddly presented in some ways as there is material quite obviously aimed at kids, like the cartoonish robots (the main one, V.I.N.C.E.N.T., being voiced excellently by Roddy McDowell) but at the same time there are also some decidedly sinister aspects to this one too. So I guess it had a bit of a split focus in some ways, not that that is a terrible thing but it may have accounted for its marginalised position in the sci-fi cinematic pantheon. But whatever the case, I consider this to be one of the best that 70's science fiction has to offer. It's mysterious and left-of-centre nature mean that it is one of the more interesting entries in the genre to revisit.

Reviewed by Mario Lanza 5 / 10

Screw the reviews. Remember it for Maximilian.

I saw this movie in the theater when I was 6 years old. So you have to remember that frame of reference when you read these comments.

I saw The Black Hole when I was six years old and, of course, I loved it. Although what I remember the most about that experience was my first glimpse of Maximilian, the giant killer red robot. Maximilian terrified me. And he ended up being the first movie character to ever really scare the crap out of me.

If you were 6 years old kid in 1980, you would remember this film. Because even though it's silly to make the comparison today, at one time the Black Hole held a special place in the hearts of kids everywhere, mainly because it featured a character who was even scarier than Darth Vader.

That's right, Star Wars came 2 years earlier than the Black Hole, and Star Wars had a frightening guy in a black mask named Darth Vader. But let me tell you that to a kid growing up in 1980, Darth Vader was NOTHING compared to Maximilian. Darth Vader was a pansy compared to Maximilian, and I'm not just joking around. If you were a little kid in 1980, you knew about this movie. And you knew who Maximilian was. And you spoke about him in terms of reverence. Because you don't mock the robot who haunts your nightmares every single night.

That's how big a deal Maximilan was at the time.

Yes, The Black Hole has flaws. Yes, the rest of the robots are comical. And yes, the science fiction in the movie makes no sense. And sure, I'd agree that the sight of Ernest Borgnine in a tight turtleneck is disturbing and I never want to see it again. But none of that really matters to me. All I care about is that this movie features Maxmilian the bleeping killer red robot. And from a pop culture/movie history perspective, that makes this movie a classic.

Personally, I think that the Black Hole is a pretty lame movie. But in 1980 I would have ranked it alongside Star Wars as the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life. And of course, that is almost solely because of Maximilian. So don't make fun of this movie. Just remember that it cause a lot of nightmares in kids from the 70's and early 80's. And please give it props for featuring a villain that (at one time) was cooler and scarier than a guy named Darth Vader.

So here's to you, Maximilian.

Please don't Cuisinart me through a book.

Mario's Movie Rating: 5 out of 10 (at least it's somewhat entertaining)

Mario's Maximilian Rating: 10 of 10

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