THE BLACK HOLE [1979]: short review

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It is the year 2130 A.D.  An Earth exploratory ship, the USS Palomino, discovers a black hole with a lost ship, the USS Cygnus, just outside its event horizon.  Deciding to solve the mystery of the Cygnus, the crew of the Palomino board it and discover it populated by the slightly crazy Dr. Hans Reinhardt and lots of robots.   Though initially friendly, Reinhardt then holds the crew captive because he wants their assistance in his plan to enter the black hole, while some of his ‘robots’ are actually the crew  of a previous ship transformed from humans to machines……

I remember when The Black Hole came out around the same time as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was trounced by it at the box office, but, despite its superior effects, at the time I found Star Trek a little boring.  The Black Hole was far more my cup of tea, with robots, laser guns, a creepy ship with beings half-human and half-robot, a mad scientist and a black hole!   Seen now, even The Black Hole is a little dull around the middle section and the special effects are quite poor even for 1979 standards, with some matting and back projection looking especially poor.  There’s also some ridiculous scenes of people without spacesuits floating about in space when their ship is destroyed and a black hole which becomes red when the protagonists are closer to it.  Still, this Disney exscursion into science fiction remains fairly good fun, with one of cinema’s best designed [and rather scary] robots in the red, Satan-like Maximillion and, despite being essentially a variation on 20 000 Leagues Under The Sea, has aspects which are quite interesting.   There’s a rather creepy, dark tone to the whole thing, aided by set design which seems to have a touch of Alien, plus at least one gruesome [if not really shown] killing and a great The Phantom Of The Opera-style unmasking bit which really freaked me out as a kid.  The final descent into the black hole is quite ambitious in it’s almost 2001-like approach [some other aspects of this movie reminded me of Forbidden Planet] and can be interpreted several ways, though it infuriated the younger me.   By no means is this a classic science fiction movie but it has some really good things in it and is graced with an often darkly beautiful score from John Barry.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

[pt-filmtitle]The Black Hole[/pt-filmtitle]

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About Dr Lenera 1985 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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