The Black Hole (1979) Gary Nelson

Production Budget: $26 million (includes advertising)
Gross: $35 million

At the time, Black Hole was a bit of an oddity in the Disney universe.  It was the most expensive movie ever made by Disney.  Even though Star Wars came out a few years earlier, the producers still used older effects like models on strings in front of mat paintings.  Black Hole was also more adult than its predecessors being the first Disney production to be a PG rating.  The movie was not received well, although they did praise the special effects.  Since that time, the movie has been released several times on VHS and on DVD.

The plot is about a group of deep space explorers played by Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, and Roddy McDowall. They discovered another ship which disappeared 20 years ago but is now perched near a black hole.  Oddly enough, the ship does not move despite the intense gravitational pull of the black hole.  They go to investigate and find one survivor who is an eccentric scientist.  The scientist created a whole army of robots and intends on flying through the Black Hole to see what is on the other side.

Is it any good?  You know, I liked this movie.  Part of the reason is because it feels different than any other Disney movie.  Maximillion and Reinhart are great villains.  Maximillion is a cool Cylon type killer and Reinhart is a character akin to Nemo from 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The acting is good and it has a darker thematic feel than any other Disney movie from that era.  The action is fun and I especially like Roddy McDowall as the robot Vincent.  This isn’t a great movie: there are some flaws with it.  Sometimes the movie can be cornball and some of the effects really suffer in modern times.  But overall I found the movie to be a fun pulp sci fi adventure.


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