The Black Hole

1979

The Black Hole

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

45%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,768
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The Black Hole Photos

Movie Info

An obsessed scientist drives to maneuver his space craft directly into a black hole in hopes of discovering the secrets of the Universe. This special-effects-driven science-fiction film focuses on the dilemma of a group of fellow space travelers, who accidentally discover the scientist's insane plan.

Cast

Maximilian Schell
as Dr. Hans Reinhardt
Anthony Perkins
as Dr. Alex Durant
Robert Forster
as Capt. Dan Holland
Joseph Bottoms
as Lt. Charles Pizer
Ernest Borgnine
as Harry Booth
Yvette Mimieux
as Dr. Kate McGraw
Tom McLoughlin
as Capt. S.T.A.R.
Roddy McDowall
as V.I.N.CENT
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News & Interviews for The Black Hole

Critic Reviews for The Black Hole

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (18)

  • It is good to see the Disney craftsmen doing what they do best on such a grand and risky scale. If one has time for only one space opera this season, this is the one to choose.

    Mar 9, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Disney's most ambitious and costly production to date -- about a spaceship crew which encounters a Black Hole and a long-lost madman -- and if looks were everything, you could hardly fault it.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It cost half as much as Star Trek and looks better -- not as lavish, perhaps, but more original. The special effects are fancy, and the design even more so.

    May 9, 2005
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The end result of this recipe -- cooked with very little conviction, but with a generous budget -- is one more chapter in a story that has been told before. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Aug 14, 2019 | Full Review…
  • No matter what its story means to tell us about the sterility of science and the tyranny of the computer, The Black Hole is executed with such impersonal craftsmanship that it ends up on the side of the machines.

    Jul 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Black Hole

  • 17h ago
    Obviously made to capitalize on the success of "Star Wars" but this movie is far stranger and all the better for it. Hard for me to dislike something that ends with such brazenly surreal and gorgeous imagery.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2015
    Disney's notorious sci-fi odyssey The Black Hole is a dark and cerebral film. The story follows a research ship that encounters a mysterious vessel whose captain is obsessed with discovering the secrets that lie with the black hole that he's studying. Starring Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, and Roddy McDowall, the casting is pretty solid. And, the visual style is quite impressive; particularly the ship and robot designs. Additionally, the score is incredibly powerful and haunting; creating an eerie, atmospheric tone. But, the writing isn't very good and the dialog is especially clunky. Also, the ending is rather ambiguous and unsatisfying. Aspiring to more than it's able to deliver, The Black Hole is an interesting film, though not an entirely successful one.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 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.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    Wow, wow, wow! Before I start the review, what the hell happened with VINCENT!? To me he looks like something Blue Peter "made earlier". Please remember, that this is no small budget production. This is a Blockbuster, made by Disney in 1979. All 6 of the above films were made for a total of around $37,750,000 and The Black Hole cost $20,000,000 ON IT'S OWN! Moving on, The Black Hole is a Disney Sci-Fi family movie set in space. We enter the film as a ship and crew come close to a large black hole. They discover a ship nearby that seems desolate and stop to repair their ship and to investigate the situation further. The opening title sequence is pretty impressive. The music is haunting and the early CGI is great. Unfortunately its all down hill from here. Any shots of space or outside the ship are convincing but inside is a very different story. I am sure cereal boxes and paper mache were involved. It makes Barberella look like an elaborate visual feast. It is a very different outing than what we have come to expect from Disney. It was their first movie rated PG. It's darker and more brutal than you would imagine. Especially when Maximillian, the over protective robot, turns Anthony Perkins into a human kebab. And what the hell is Anthony Perkins doing in this film anyway? From the most notorious Motel in the world, to the biggest toilet in the Galaxy! Also, most Disney movies are easy to understand, are full of colorful characters and pay attention to every small detail. The Black Hole is not easy to understand, all the characters are dull and bland and seems to defy all known laws of science and physics. With the story that's on offer, you would expect quite a dramatic adventure. But the film seems to stubbornly try to be as unexciting and outright boring as it can. In its defense, the opening sequence, the soundtrack and the cinematography through out are creative, inventive and enjoyable. But the story, script, characters, acting and internal special effects are weak and painfully bad. The story itself reminds me a little of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Discovery of a ship, eccentric captain, extensive knowledge, not wanting to leave, large devastating phenomenon outside, Captain Nemo wants to go down with the ship, etc. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is also a Disney movie; a much, much better Disney movie. Disney have shown over many decades that when they get it right, they really get it right. Our joint top movie The Lion King is testament to this. But when they get it wrong, they really get it wrong ... The Black Hole is testament to that.
    James C Super Reviewer

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