The Black Hole

Release Date: 12/21/1979 – Rated PG

Starring: Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Ernest Borgnine (BASEketball)

Plot Summary: A deep space exploration crew is searching for habitable planets when they encounter a black hole. Strangely there is what seems a derelict ship nearby and it seems unaffected by the phenomena. As they get closer they realize that this was a ship sent out years ahead of them on a similar mission, but was recalled, only to never be heard from again. When they get closer it lights up like a Christmas tree, so of course they dock so they can make a few repairs and see what kind of shenanigans are afoot. When they board, lasers shoot their guns and the floating R2D2 rip-off (voiced by Roddy McDowell) and everyone’s ok with this. They make their way via space-tram to the bridge where they encounter the madman behind all of this. He claims that when the ship was recalled the crew evacuated and he stayed behind to continue his work, building an army of robots that also are various Star Wars cast-offs. Anthony Perkins is cool with this story and is all about hanging out with this lunatic. Robert Forster on the other hand, just wants to get his ship repaired. A big scary red robot, with spinning blades for hands gets into a pissing contest with the Roddy robot, they discover a garden on the ship large enough to feed the crew, despite being told that there is only one human on board, Roddy robot also gets into another pissing contest with some storm trooper robots, befriends a beat-up Slim Pickens robot (if we had the technology to build floating smart ass robots, why would we give them country bumpkin voices?) The nut job in charge of the ship then informs our heroes that he’s going into the black hole, and good news for them, they get to go too! Naturally they are perturbed by these circumstances and with a little work escape. Leaving Captain Crazy and his ship of Star Wars rip-offs to drift into the black hole, and hopefully oblivion.

Alex’s Thoughts:  Two words for this movie : Bor-Ing.  I never saw this as a kid and don’t have fond memories of it like Tim.  I am watching a crappy 32 year old sci-fi movie that was made when I was 10 months old.  It was just not fun to watch for me.  The effects were crummy, and there is no place for that in a Disney movie; espically since Star Wars was made 3 years earlier, and those better effects were already invented.  Disney had made some good things: Peter Pan and The Lion King, some so-so things: The Rescuers or Mr. Boogity and then they made this crap. 

Tim’s Thoughts: I thought this movie was cool when I was 7. Now watching it, I was kind of excited about the cast, and was ready to give it a nice review. Then all of that changed, all of the weightless scenes you can see wires, on the lame robots, wires, there are so many wires you can practically see them on the laser blasts. The matte paintings are pretty nice, but this movie so badly wants to be a coherent 2001: A Space Odyssey it’s ridiculous. The acting is hammy and wooden, depending on who you are watching, the dialogue is awful, but at least the story is interesting. At least until you see the crew member with ESP using it to communicate with the robots, barf. This is being remade by the same guy who did Tron Legacy, and that wasn’t awful, so I am going to give the remake a go and keep my fingers crossed.

Final Thoughts:  Walt Disney’s head was probably spinning in its cryogenic jar when this movie was made.  It might be nostalgic if you saw it as a wee tike, like Tim; but watching it for the first time as an adult will make you wish an actual black hole would open up directly under your TV and end it all.

Alex Rates This Movie 2/10

Tim Rates This Movie 4/10

“If there’s any justice at all, the black hole will be your grave!”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue