Having seen this movie in the theater when I was 8, I and everyone in my school was spellbound by it. Many parts of it haven't held up well 30 years later: the acting is similar to any 70's made for TV show. It was made at a time when every show had a wisecracking character (think SNL) and had a symphonic theme (just listen to any TV theme show from the time). While the movie gets often nailed for the stoically wooden acting, 90% of the characters are scientists, robots or following the contemporary stereotype of astronauts as strong and taciturn. The plot is essentially 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea set in space.
Culturally, the movie felt topical at the time. It was a perfect amalgamation of popular culture in the late 1970's: science fiction (Star Wars, et al.), video games (Space Invaders), space exploration (the Voyager probes), laser guns and robots (everything from Battlestar Galactica to Buck Rogers), as well as ESP, parapsychology and heaven vs. hell (c.f. see the number of books on psychic phenomena and mysteries from the late 70's as well as the popularity of things like Heaven Can Wait and the George Burns' "Oh God!" movies).
Disney took a huge gamble on a movie that was so overtly dark, both in tone and set lighting. The movie was not a runaway financial success but was not a loss either, a major achievement considering its extremely high price tag. Even if its ethos and pacing don't fit well with today's audiences, its design sense holds up today. The sets create a feeling of both scale, claustrophobia, and tension. The robot V.I.N.CENT actually steals the show, both in his insight and action. His action figure was more popular on the playground than any of the Star Wars figures, yet most of his constant clever yet arrogant wisdom comes from literary quotes far beyond any child's entertainment - from Shakespeare to Cicero to the Bible. Like the best Disney movies, this one was made to be simultaneously enjoyed on different levels by both the kids and adults in the audience.
All in all, taken in terms of its time, it's a remarkable achievement in special effects and seeing Disney push its limits. The pacing, acting, musical themes, juxtaposition of long exposition with laser fights, scientific theories and portrayal of robots as rigid goose-steppers all seem dated today. The rest is a good allegory of balancing scientific genius with ethics. The practical effects still hold up. V.I.N.CENT is more human than any CGI creation and - with his constant humanities references, arrogance, and compassion for his crewmates - the most human component of the film.
For anyone expecting a Disney movie circa the late 80's and afterwards, you may not be entertained. For classic science fiction fans as well as those who have nostalgia for or are interested in American culture in the late 70's, don't miss this.
The ending is very 2001-esque and gets attacked for its obscurity, but the symbolism was clear to anyone who went to Sunday School (which at the time was nearly everyone): the bad guys went to hell and the good guys went to heaven. What's behind a black hole? According to the movie, the world all souls go to when they die.
The Black Hole
Action / Sci-Fi
The Black Hole
Action / Sci-Fi
An Earth exploratory ship, the USS Palomino, discovers a black hole with a lost ship, the USS Cygnus, just outside its event horizon. Deciding to solve the mystery of the Cygnus are: the Palomino's Captain, Dan Holland; his First Officer, Lieutenant Charlie Pizer; journalist Harry Booth; scientist and ESP-sensitive Dr. Kate McCrae, whose father was the Cygnus's First Officer; Dr. Alex Durant, the expedition's civilian leader; and the robot known as V.I.N.CENT. The Palomino attempts a dangerous fly-by of the darkened ship. As they come within close range of it, the buffeting they experience (due to the black hole's gravity) suddenly ceases. They bring more instruments to bear on the derelict, but do not even realize the gravity-free zone is artificial; slipping outside it, they are almost drawn into the black hole, an abyss from which no one can escape. Matters worsen when Reinhardt holds the crew captive, after realizing that they can help him reach his goal. The squad must now figure...
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April 03, 2019 at 05:06 AM