The Black Hole

1979, Movie, PG, 97 mins


Although technically superior to STAR WARS; STAR TREK; and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, THE BLACK HOLE failed to gather anything near the gross receipts of those films. Disney pictures have always had a patina of professionalism about them, and this is no exception. Sometime in the future, five people in a spaceship encounter a Black Hole. Before attempting to flee, they see a spaceship near the Black Hole's entrance. They discover upon boarding the ship that it is manned by robots with one human, Schell, running things. Schell is a genius but somewhat bonkers, and he plans to go into the Black Hole because he feels that is where all matter and energy begin. The five attempt to escape but are sucked in by the hole. To tell anything further would be to ruin an excellent picture. Ellenshaw, a great artist whose paintings now sell for thousands, did the production design; it is his vision that makes THE BLACK HOLE so incredibly wonderful to watch. All technical credits are outstanding, as is Barry's score. The original story was far superior to the rewrite by Rosebrook and Day, and Nelson's direction is uninventive. The problem with THE BLACK HOLE is that the protagonist, Schell, is nuts and we find it difficult to root for him. The other characters are never fully developed, and so the picture becomes a triumph of style over substance. The film earned Oscar nominations for its special effects and cinematography. leave a comment

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