Saturday, December 13, 2008

Black Hole (1979, Robert Forster)

Here we have another late 70's/early 80's Sci-Fi film, The Black Hole, which was the first Disney film to be rated PG, the first film ever to have a digitally recorded soundtrack (courtesy of the great John Barry) and to feature the longest computer graphics sequence ever at the time. Most Sci-Fi fans would laugh at this film compared to today's CGI spoogefests, but to me, this is the shit.

The Black Hole follows the crew of the USS Palomino, a spacecraft in search of life in outer space. Lead by Captain Dan Holland (Robert Forster), the crew also includes Holland's right hand man, a couple of scientists (one of which can communicate with robots via ESP?!?), Ernest Borgnine (not sure what his role is) and a welfare version of R2D2 (whose voice is obviously modeled after C3PO, courtesy of Roddy McDowall) named V.I.N.C.E.N.T. (which to my knowledge doesn't actually stand for anything). Anyway, the crew stumbles upon a gigantic spacecraft, the Cygnus, which the Palomino makes an emergency landing on for repairs. The Cygnus' commander, Dr. Reinhardt (Maximillian Schell) welcomes the crew aboard and explains that he has figured out a way to travel through the Black Hole, a huge gaping mass of whatever that can suck up ships like nobody's business, hoping to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Reinhardt's crazy idea is laughed at by most of the crew, with the exception of Anthony Perkin's Dr. Durant (figures that the guy who played Norman Bates is the one crew member to go along with this wacky plan). The crew soon realize that Reinhardt is more than just a curious Dr. and they must figure out how to save themselves before they are sucked into the Black Hole too.

I discovered this film after seeing Battle Beyond the Stars (review to come soon) and the search to find similar films. The special effects are pretty neat, though very dated, as are the robots seen throughout the film. I really enjoyed the cast (Robert Forster is incredibly likable) and the story as well. The best thing about the film is the anticipation of seeing what's really in the Black Hole, which I won't say too much about. This film is definitely not for those who crave the newest special effects that today's films offer but if you enjoy watching walking, talking trashcans and robots that have battery operated eyes, this is for you.


1 comment:

  1. I had a poster for this film around the time it came out. I can't remember if I've actually seen it though.