The Black Hole - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Black Hole Reviews

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December 16, 2014
This late-70s sci-fi film from Disney can be somewhat charming due to its old school effects and style, but it is dated and I'd being lying if I said it held up well. It also has a somewhat talky and slightly confusing script. It was only confusing near the end really, so maybe my focus just drifted. It didn't have enough going for it to keep me interested, and despite the cool effects and some fun robot designsi, that isn't really enough to make it worthwhile.
November 25, 2014
Pure Cult Status camp like Batman Effort!
½ November 14, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
November 13, 2014
tedious and slow with some very wooden acting, stupid garbage bin droids add to the torture.Some decent effects and sets at least give something to look at,thank god I never saw this as a kid or I may have had pangs of nostalgia for this mess
August 29, 2014
It is my choice of worst movie ever. Music awful,script awful, acting awful, realism, awful, scientifically inaccurate. Ugggh
August 18, 2014
has a special place in my heart love it
August 14, 2014
The sets and characters alone make this movie great.
August 11, 2014
I know there are a lot of poor reviews for this film. Maybe it's nostalgia, but to this day I love this movie. The VFX were done well. I personally enjoy optical and practical fx over digital fx any day of the week though. I think most people's issue with this film stem from the fact that the human characters in this move are not fleshed out very well. In reality the robots Bob and Vincent are the main protagonists, and for my money are the heart and soul of this film. Also Remember this film came out before TRON. If you love the original TRON film and have not seen this do yourself a favor and watch it,
½ August 3, 2014
Great movie. Good acting, good-at-the-time special effects, and state-of-the-art score by the late John Barry.
July 27, 2014
(First and only viewing - 9/18/2010)
½ June 22, 2014
Goofy nonsense that takes itself way too seriously. Some of the scenes are well shot.
½ May 31, 2014
A truly underrated sci-fi gem. Before 'Event Horizon' there was 'The Black Hole'.
A surprisingly Dark effort from Disney at time. 9/10
May 29, 2014
Nearing the end of a long mission exploring deep space, the spacecraft USS Palomino is returning to Earth. The crew consists of Captain Dan Holland (Robert Forster), First Officer Lieutenant Charlie Pizer (Joseph Bottoms), journalist Harry Booth (Ernest Borgnine), ESP-sensitive scientist Dr. Kate McCrae (Yvette Mimieux), the expedition's civilian leader Dr. Alex Durant (Anthony Perkins) and the robot V.I.N.CENT ("Vital Information Necessary CENTralized") (Roddy McDowall). The Palomino crew discover a black hole in space with a spaceship nearby, somehow defying the hole's massive gravitational pull. The ship is identified as the long-lost USS Cygnus, the ship McCrae's father served aboard when it went missing. Deciding to investigate, the Palomino encounters a mysterious null gravity field surrounding the Cygnus. The Palomino becomes damaged when it drifts away from the Cygnus and into the black hole's intense gravity field, but the ship manages to move back to the Cygnus and finds itself able to dock to what initially appears to be an abandoned vessel. The Palomino crew warily boards the Cygnus and soon encounter the ship's commander, Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell), a brilliant scientist. Aided by a crew of faceless, black-robed android drones and his sinister looking robot Maximilian, Reinhardt explains that he has lived all alone on the Cygnus for years. After the ship encountered a meteor field and was disabled, he ordered the human crew to return to Earth, but Kate's father chose to remain aboard and has since died. Reinhardt then reveals that he has spent the past 20 years studying the black hole and intends to fly the Cygnus through it. Only Durant believes it is possible and asks to accompany Reinhardt on the trip. The rest of the Palomino crew grow suspicious of the faceless drones' human-like behaviour: Booth sees a robot limping and Holland witnesses a robot funeral and discovers the Cygnus crew's personal items in the ship's living quarters. Old B.O.B. (BiO-sanitation Battalion), a battered early model robot similar to V.I.N.CENT, explains that the faceless drones are in fact the human crew, who mutinied when Reinhardt refused to return to Earth and had been lobotomized and "reprogrammed" by Reinhardt to serve him. McCrae's father had led the mutiny and was killed. Using telepathy, V.I.N.CENT tells Kate the truth about what happened. Soon enough Reinhardt holds the crew captive, after realising that they can help him reach his goal...

"The Black Hole" was Disney's big Christmas release in 1979. It had a big budget, the first PG rating and big stars in the main roles. At $20 million (plus another $6 million for the advertising budget), it was at the time the most expensive picture ever produced by Disney. The movie earned nearly $36 million at the North American box office, making it the 21st highest grossing film of 1979. However it received mixed reviews from critics. Famed critic Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of 4 upon its release, saying it "takes us all the way to the rim of space only to bog us down in a talky melodrama whipped up out of mad scientists and haunted houses." Meanwhile, The New York Times, Time Magazine and Variety all praised the film. The special effects were generally acclaimed by the press. The film received two Academy Award nominations: One for Best Visual Effects and one for Best Cinematography. Author John Kenneth Muir wrote an extensive review of the film that delved into some of the nuances and metaphysical ideas which marked The Black Hole as more adult-oriented fare than Disney had previously been involved with. At the time of its release, the movie featured the longest computer graphics sequence that had ever appeared in a film: the "green grid" sequence that appears under the opening titles. I remember vividly when this movie came out, I was 7 years old, and excited. But, still too young to see it at the movies, so I bought the comic album instead. And of some reason I havenīt seen the movie until now, over 30 years later. And I did like it. Yes, you have to bare with some dodgy effects that was top notch in 1979, and maybe some editing/direction that not always keep things together. But, the metaphysical ideas and the questioning of something higher and diviner behind the black hole is intriguing. The metaphors of the black hole can be discussed both scientifically and literally. Solid acting from "heavyweights" such as Maximilian Schell, Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Perkins. "The Black Hole" is a mix of a Disney kid adventure and a more adult sci-fi movie, but yet it works. But, the ending had some floaty existential layers that was unexpected I most say. But, all in all "The Black Hole" is an alright sci-fi adventure with layers of my liking.
½ May 26, 2014
90 minutes of trite nonsense to finally discover that you can enter a black hole, get every atom of your body squeezed into plank length singularity along with billions of suns and then come out smiling with your perm untouched and a shinier cherry lip gloss that truly pops
April 13, 2014
Yeahhh um.. it's no Star Wars
April 3, 2014
The U.S.S. Cygnus is perched precariously at the edge of a black hole - the vast, empty nothingness where space and time end. Anything that crosses its border enters a universe of the complete unknown. And so begins a story of robots and humanoids. Of human genius and madness. And a spectacular descent into nature's ultimate mystery - The Black Hole.

stars Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, Maximillian Schell, Yvette Mimieux, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Tom McLoughlin, Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickens.

directed by Gary Nelson.
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2014
Unluckily for this Disney sci-fi the greatest space set fantasy of all time had been released two years earlier in 77. On top of that 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' also came out in that same year which pretty much hammered the last nail in the coffin for this adventure.

Despite Disney clearly wanting this film to achieve the same level of grandeur that both Lucas and Spielberg managed with their sci-fi films, this venture feels very dated to me. Whilst watching I really couldn't help but feel it was simply '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' in space. A team of scientists/very intelligent astronauts discover a black hole with a large vessel parked up near by. They board the ship and eventually find a crazed bearded scientist and his legion of self created robots. After much speculation and pleasantries the crew realise the crazy scientist is a genius but wants to fly his ship into the black hole, what seems like a suicide mission.

So the crazed German scientist (Hollywood loves to abuse the Germans) played by Schell could quite easily be 'Captain Nemo'. Living a solitary life on his impressive ship that no one knew what happened to, a genius inventing ways to defy a black holes gravitational pull, building his own robots etc...but also a madman with little respect for human life.

The way the story plans out is very similar too, the crew board the mysterious vessel unsure of what they will find. At first 'Reinhardt' is welcoming and offers them tours around his impressive ship showing his achievements and they all dine together on a lavish main deck overlooking the black hole. But like Nemo as the crew dig deeper and become more suspicious Reinhardt changes and becomes very protective of his plans.

Now the main aspect of this film is clearly the visuals, which for its time were pretty slick, although no where near as good as the other two big sci-fi event films of the era. Using similar techniques of the time such as matte paintings, bluescreen, stop motion and of course models, I felt the effects really swing from one end of the scale to the other. Accounting for the age of the film of course some effects are actually pretty neat, the beginning of the film as the astronauts ship approaches the 'Cygnus', some interiors of the Cygnus are nicely done and haven't dated and the black hole is probably the money shot and it looks it.

Other times, from shot to shot, the film lapses into an eyesore! one minute you will have a good looking sequence or effect, the next it looks bloody awful and no better than some shoddy TV show. The age of the film has affected the quality no doubt with colours running all over the place, light/darkness levels seem to be shot to hell here and there and effects like bluescreen are showing big cracks very clearly.

The same can be said for the characters, a real mixed bag of familiar ideas. The crew are a oddball team led by Robert Forster who always always looks and sounds like he's acting in a shitty low budget 70's flick. Anthony Perkins of 'Psycho' fame is one doctor on the team yet I wouldn't go near him personally because he always looks so moody, like he's gonna kill you. Ernest Borgnine plays the 'Scotty' rip off character and tends to moan a lot, Yvette Mimieux is the second team doctor and the obligatory bit of blonde ass, and then we have the 'R2D2' crew robot rip off voiced by Roddy McDowall. This prop looks terrible it really does, it literately ruins the film and any self respect they were aiming for. It looks childish, its clearly very limited, you can see the wires attached to make him hover and he appears to be useless to the crew anyway. His only useful asset is being able to mentally communicate with the good doctor Yvette Mimieux somehow, no explanation why or how, they just do it so there.

The most exciting part of the film for me was the moment they all go through the black hole, that's pretty much what you spend the whole run time longing for. Its one of those things, even though its an old film you're still really intrigued to find out what will happen and what you will see. In the end it was an odd and rather anti-climatic vision of heaven and hell unfortunately, it made little sense. Once the remaining good guys get through this afterlife-esque passage they reemerge in presumably a new universe and approaching a planet. A bit formulaic I suppose but what else would you expect?.

This film is a bizarre combination of ideas all stuck in the blender. The actual premise about finding a ghost ship near a black hole is cool and clearly influenced a certain Mr W.S. Anderson with his horror flick 'Event Horizon'. There are so many movie elements to this film though, overall it feels like an old Doug McClure movie and I'm sure James Mason could of played Reinhardt perfectly. But then you have elements from Star Wars Star Trek and even a touch from Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica when you look at some of the robot concepts. The popularity of Stormtroopers was clearly another concept sneakily pinched but like many of the copied ideas in this film none of them come remotely close to the original source material.

You can see how big the leaps in technology for special effects were by other films of the time, when you see this film. Both Star Wars and Close Encounters visuals crush this film, yet 'The Black Hole' had just under double the budget over George Lucas and was on level pegging with Spielberg. Its a floored film really, a solid plot covered by a patchwork of other ideas that can't top those original ideas. Despite the epic futuristic sci-fi setting its still very old fashioned in nature.
½ March 30, 2014
very dated now but i remember when it first came out it was a big gamble for disney as they tried to expand into live action pics from just animated pics.
March 5, 2014
Zero stars. zero. barely deserves my words about it. fecal matter produced by a bad movie.
February 24, 2014
I saw this at Sentrum kino (?) in Oslo with my dad in 79 or 80. 8 at the time I assume I didnt understand the ending. I sure didnt now, 35 years later.
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