Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Black Hole (1979) Review:

Disney's Black Hole is a very ambitious movie. Back then, it may have been a great disappointment, but through the years it has gained the reputation of an underrated classic. Unfortunately, that's the sad truth. There are a lot of good elements in this movie and for some reason not many people became attached to it. Sure Star Wars is much more popular but looking at space through Disney's eyes is quite a trip. As soon as the opening credits start rolling (or typing), the viewer is flown across what seems to be a plane or a grid. It almost seems like Disney's hinting at Tron (1982) is coming in the near future. It's odd but very intriguing.

So what's there to like about this film? To start off, who's done a movie on one of the most powerful forces in the universe? Leave it to Disney to take on such a project. Although the special effects are dated now, they still make a lasting impression. The way the black hole is crafted in this film is really interesting to see. When I first saw it, I was thinking for a good five minutes of how they could have pulled off such a neat trick.

The long forgotten Dr. Reinhardt (Maximillian Schell)
To name a couple: Maximillian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Foster, and Ernest Borgnine star in this film. Perkins, Foster, Borgnine and some other actors are a crew that travel through space that stumble upon what seems to be an abandoned U.S. space shuttle called the Cygnus. But it's not abandoned - the only crew member still on board is Schell, who plays Dr. Hans Reinhardt. The traveling space crew soon realizes that the Cygnus is not far away from an enormous black hole, but they are not being sucked in. Why - because Dr. Reinhardt developed a stabilizer that keeps the ship at bay. Pretty nifty.

VinCENT & Old B.O.B, two great characters
Adding to the human characters are some friendly and unfriendly robotic individuals. One is sure to adhere to VinCENT (long format: Vital Information Necessary CENTralized), a psychic droid who knows how to mix wit and humor into every statement he makes. Then there's Maximillian, Reinhardt's deadly weapon who has sharper hands than your regular paper shredder. These two droids and others are some things that have always stuck with me since I've seen the film and it probably has done the same for any other viewer. NOTE: This is Disney's first PG rated film. This film can frighten little children.

One last thing that makes this film so good to watch is its soundtrack composed and conducted by John Barry. There's a certain way Barry makes his music, and the way he does it is by cycling many parts of the same tunes. This is a good method because some composers make a theme for every song in the track list. Then you think, "Wait, what's the theme song for this movie - oh right there is none". Barry makes sure you know what the main theme of this movie is.

The Black Hole is definitely a dated movie but its dazzling visuals have lasting appeal. Adding to such a component is John Barry's haunting score, which will stick with the viewer for a good long time.

Points Earned --> 10:10

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