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|Index||198 reviews in total|
87 out of 104 people found the following review useful:
Ahead of Its Time, 21 May 2005
Author: mwendel (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Kings Park, NY
With the advancement of movie technology today, I am awaiting a re-make
of this film as I can see the enhancement of the Armageddon-like
atmosphere of this movie.
Even though this film came out on the heels of Star Wars I feel that for its time and its budget it was awesome and very much overlooked. I think in this case, being a Disney film, didn't help its image either. As a kid this movie scared the pants off of me. It was dark and menacing and there was the big black hole staring me in the face the whole movie. (I can still recall the extent of the willies this movie game me).
While flawed I see this movie as an artistic and hard core science fiction classic. It uses many of what I see as key elements in science fiction - known science, theoretical science, possible futures, and our fear of the unknown (I personally think even with what we know, we still know very little about black holes).
This movie was made in the feel of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Moby Dick, with the mad, yet brilliant captain, sailing a state of the art ship, knowingly, into certain and utter doom in the name of some idealistic obsession. And as it usually goes you have your idealistic yet rational unwilling passengers who want to get off the ship and survive the mad man's nightmarish dreams.
The robots, while used in a highly symbolic fashion, were original in their concept and design. I particularly liked the way V.I.N.C.E.N.T. and B.O.B. were constructed as the "avatars" of humanity - completely man-made with human-like eyes and a "soul", that only allowed them to see the "right" side of things - as we see them. While on the other hand Maximilian was brilliant as the epitome of evil and twisted humanity in this movie - a man silently trapped and condemned to an inhuman fate as part of a mechanical nightmare.
Lastly, I feel that the space backdrops and the internal renderings of the space ship, which I feel have somewhat of an impressionistic flair, are awesome and were very well done for the period. If you passed on this movie the first time I recommend giving it a second chance. Take in the movie - see its symbolism, its social commentaries and far reaching vision. I think some of the issues the movie quietly addresses are still relative today.
67 out of 93 people found the following review useful:
A Forgotten Classic, 14 August 1998
Author: Andrew-31 from Boston, MA
Not only is The Black Hole beautifully made from a technical aspect, it has marvelous performances. Robert Forester (Jackie Brown), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Ernest Borgnine, Maximillian Schell. It does get a little campy but it is a Disney movie after all and it can be forgiven its attempts at comic relief. This is a very unlikely sort of film for Disney, were it made today it would have been made under the Miramax header rather than Disney, and like another unlikely Disney film, Tron, it is tragically underrated. The special effects and set design are breathtaking, but it is the script which is the best part. The ending is one of the most surreal and haunting in any science fiction film (and especially bold for a Disney film) The characterizations are wonderful and the robots, especially Maximillian (in my book the greatest cinematic robotic villain to date), are unforgettable.
67 out of 94 people found the following review useful:
Light at the end of the tunnel...., 23 August 1999
Author: Mister-6 from United States
Back in 1979, when this first came out, this could be seen coming down Main
Street as a "Star Wars" cash-in. Even I could see that (being 14 at the
At the time, it was being hailed by everyone whom had not seen it as a return to cerebral, thought-provoking space opera, with the same kind of reverberations as "2001".
Now, let me tell you the truth about "The Black Hole".
From a technical standpoint, the movie is impressive (moreso when you consider that Harrison and Peter Ellenshaw, virtuosos in matte paintings, did the background FX work). The ships all fly as they should, you can BARELY see the robots flying about on their strings and the wonder and mystery of what a black hole really is (physically as well as metaphorically) are explored satisfactorily.
But if the FX are exemplary, the flesh and blood on display are not. Each actor supplies their own black hole; empty, dark voids where there once was talent but now serve only to suck away all the life and energy surrounding it. A shame, since actors like Forster, Mimieux, Schell, Perkins and even Roddy McDowell (in voice only) have all done good deeds on film prior and since. In the acting sense, at least, this movie matches "2001".
But in the end, you see a movie like "The Black Hole" for the story itself. Is it worth watching? In that respect, I think so. What are the limits to which mankind can play God? Are the mysteries of the universe for Man to explore? Do black holes lead to anything? We are left to draw our own conclusions, but at least the ending here allows us to think seriously about what really is out there.
Eight stars. Not a classic, but not that vacuous.
85 out of 131 people found the following review useful:
Screw the reviews. Remember it for Maximilian., 23 January 2005
Author: Mario Lanza (email@example.com) from Upland, CA
I saw this movie in the theater when I was 6 years old. So you have to
remember that frame of reference when you read these comments.
I saw The Black Hole when I was six years old and, of course, I loved it. Although what I remember the most about that experience was my first glimpse of Maximilian, the giant killer red robot. Maximilian terrified me. And he ended up being the first movie character to ever really scare the crap out of me.
If you were 6 years old kid in 1980, you would remember this film. Because even though it's silly to make the comparison today, at one time the Black Hole held a special place in the hearts of kids everywhere, mainly because it featured a character who was even scarier than Darth Vader.
That's right, Star Wars came 2 years earlier than the Black Hole, and Star Wars had a frightening guy in a black mask named Darth Vader. But let me tell you that to a kid growing up in 1980, Darth Vader was NOTHING compared to Maximilian. Darth Vader was a pansy compared to Maximilian, and I'm not just joking around. If you were a little kid in 1980, you knew about this movie. And you knew who Maximilian was. And you spoke about him in terms of reverence. Because you don't mock the robot who haunts your nightmares every single night.
That's how big a deal Maximilan was at the time.
Yes, The Black Hole has flaws. Yes, the rest of the robots are comical. And yes, the science fiction in the movie makes no sense. And sure, I'd agree that the sight of Ernest Borgnine in a tight turtleneck is disturbing and I never want to see it again. But none of that really matters to me. All I care about is that this movie features Maxmilian the bleeping killer red robot. And from a pop culture/movie history perspective, that makes this movie a classic.
Personally, I think that the Black Hole is a pretty lame movie. But in 1980 I would have ranked it alongside Star Wars as the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life. And of course, that is almost solely because of Maximilian. So don't make fun of this movie. Just remember that it cause a lot of nightmares in kids from the 70's and early 80's. And please give it props for featuring a villain that (at one time) was cooler and scarier than a guy named Darth Vader.
So here's to you, Maximilian.
Please don't Cuisinart me through a book.
Mario's Movie Rating: 5 out of 10 (at least it's somewhat entertaining)
Mario's Maximilian Rating: 10 of 10
29 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Haunting and powerful to SF lovers: Completely underrated !, 28 October 2008
Author: jonmon from United States
"Haunting" is exactly the term for it. I know others have knocked the
silly robots and laser guns.
But I have always felt The Black Hole's spooky emotional impact, through the visuals and music. Although the visuals are now dated, what they were aiming for strikes true. It's a vision of the future that strikes a chord in me: dark uncaring space, the black hole a crushing force more powerful than the sun, ego and insane genius, science and what's beyond science, the horror of the old crew's fate. The music with its heavy repeated theme is like the crushing presence of the black hole itself: relentless. A new God if ever there was one.
In my opinion it has more emotional impact than Solaris, which threw in too much "murder mystery" and sort of confused me. The Black Hole is simple: it is clearly beyond knowledge and all the spookier for it.
If you get a thrill from the idea of scientific discovery, give this underrated film a chance. You won't be disappointed.
34 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
Disney's first PG film, 10 February 2003
Author: Wayne Malin (firstname.lastname@example.org) from United States
This was Disney's big Christmas release in 1979--a big budget, the first PG
rating and big stars. It was a huge bomb which is too bad--it's pretty
A spaceship's crew (Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux) find a mad doctor (Maximilian Schell) in outer space ready to enter a black hole. He sets out to take them with him...or else.
Great special effects are the main attraction here. The debits are kiddie-like dialogue, bad acting, huge lapses in logic and two cutsey robots voiced by Roddy McDowell and Slim Pickens. Still, I liked the movie. It moves fairly quickly and there was always some impressive effects to look at--it's obvious that Disney spent a lot of money on this.
This is fine for kids--the PG rating is just for someone saying "damn" and three non-bloody, quick deaths. Adults should like it too.
27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Disney Movie Mania! The Black Hole., 9 October 2004
Author: Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater (email@example.com) from Sacramento, CA
The Black Hole (1979) was one of the first films that I can remember
watching in a movie theater. A small cinema near to where I lived
played Disney films and I saw this one there. A fun film about a group
of astronauts and a robot who are welcomed aboard a gigantic spaceship
manned by Maximillian Schnell. Sadly he's as mad as a hatter and has
some unsettling plans for his guests. The leader of the space travelers
is portrayed by one of my b-movie favorites Robert Forester. Creepy
Anthony Perkins is also along for the ride as well as several other
familiar faces. When I was a lad I was really into this genre. The
robots were cool and the special effects were quite impressive.
Not a bad film except it confused me a bit when I was younger (especially the end). Entertaining for a Disney film and I wouldn't mind seeing it again in the near future. I have to give this one a passing grade. Not one of my truly favorites but a great time killer. If this one was on video for rent at my local rental store I wouldn't hesitate to watch it. But stay away from T.V. or Cable versions because this film was shot in Cinemascope.
Recommended for camp value.
18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
classic fun, 1 June 1999
Author: Bryan Fraser (firstname.lastname@example.org) from vancouver
a seriously under-rated and sometimes tripped out movie. nearly impossible
to find on video, i was happy to receive a LETTERBOX version!
with this version, i can see the superb miniatures backed by breathtaking starfields in all their glory! all the fx in this movie are good- even by today's standards! sure, they didn't have the great computer graphics, but there's just something so... solid about miniatures.
this being a disney movie, it is somewhat campy in parts and silly in others. however, it's not really a movie for young kids. i'm sure some parts would terrify small children!
if you disregard the disney factor and some of the antics of V.I.N.C.E.N.T. AND B.O.B. and some of the goofier aspects, it's a very cool and well made movie. above all, it's a fun movie with a great ending that is very... strange. you have to see it for yourself.
the performances are good as well. anthony perkins as the scientist captivated by the black hole is very good, as are all the actors.
this movie, along with tron are two grossly under-rated classics from walt disney. both these films belong in any sci-fi buff's collection.
do youself a favour and rent this movie. hell, if you see it, buy it. it's cheap. my widescreen version cost $12.00- canadian!
go, witness "a journey that begins where everything ends"!!
26 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
A true science fiction masterpiece, 24 February 1999
Author: Plissken-4 from United States
In a day when garbage like ID4 (Independence Day) and Fifth Element are considered good sci-fi, it's refreshing to see renewed interest in the overlooked classic The Black Hole. I have loved this movie ever since I first saw it in 1979. Is it a Star Wars ripoff? Of course. So what? It is still a classic in every sense of the word. Great performances and a script that is actually thought provoking. It has not only a morality tale, but some first class adventure. How many sci-fi films today have that? Finally, the visual effects are as stunning today as they were 20 years ago. The shot of the giant meteor rolling down the length of the Cygnus toward our heroes remains one of the greatest fx pieces of ALL time! I for one can't wait for the DVD of this movie to come out. With all the Star Wars hype going on these days, it's time for this classic to have its day in the sun too.
15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A touch of nostalgia and a very pleasant surprise., 10 March 2007
Author: ldoig (email@example.com) from London, England
I must have seen this film over twenty two years ago now when it was
shown at school as part of our Christmas "fun". While I must admit I am
nostalgic about this as it was an important part of my childhood I did
think the film still has that certain "something" about it. I can't
understand what some people want with effects these days, and I agree
with some of the comments here; the effects in the film look better,
stylistically, than many modern films. You still can't beat a good
model and good lighting, there's something about the human eye that can
still, at the moment anyway, tell computer generated graphics a mile
away and they are never totally satisfying.
As for the plot, I'd forgotten how "dark" it was and it's worth watching again just to get that feel for it. Also in those days, and I guess this may insult some of the people that have written comments here, but frankly when I was young, we could actually, like...sit down and like, actually...watch a film and take in the dialogue without getting bored. My generation could do that you know! That's what surprised me with watching it so many years later, all the intense action really is in the last twenty minutes or so and the film builds up pretty nicely up to the end. There is a sinister mood to this which must have influenced me as a child but was too young to fully pick up on what was happening, for those of you that are older and remember the black "robots" you'll see what I mean.
As for the ending, what a bold move that was! I've read numerous points about what the end is actually supposed to mean but even so, you don't get many films that end as ambiguously as that these days. It's so much the better for it.
If you haven't seen it in a while, take a trip down memory lane. If you're a Sci-Fi buff, give it a whirl as parts of if are thought provoking. If you're a "modern" film viewer looking for popcorn type entertainment it's probably best not to bother, you'll end up disappointed. But if you do, remember this was a Disney film, trying to strike a balance to ensure it was real "family" entertainment and yes, it does absorb a lot of ideas and styles from other films of the decade.
Nonetheless there still is something creepy about Maximillian...
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