The Black Hole

Ugh. Where do I start? The Black Hole was Disney's answer to Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It could have been an entertaining cheese dish, as most cash grabs tend to be amusing in their barefaced stabs at mimicry. But this film dares to be an intellectual meditation on mankind and our dogged impulse to harness science. It actually takes itself seriously. Director Gary Nelson should have approached this project with a b-movie mentality. Taken as a whole (pun may or may not be intended), The Black Hole is a schmaltzy, ostentatious void. It's a rarefaction, a vacuum. Holy shit...it's a black hole!

No, really. There is nothing to it. A "research vessel" finds a deserted ship suspended in gravity. Remember Event Horizon? Replace Sam Neill with a vacant Anthony Perkins, and voila! You have the exposition of The Black Hole. The rest of the synopsis is too convoluted for its own good, and if I was in charge of summarizing plots for the backs of DVD's, that is exactly what I would write. Suffice to say, it involves cheap robots and dozens of matte paintings. These days, major studios outsource when it comes to special effects, but Disney wanted this to be an in-house production.

A poor decision, that. In spite of a cushy budget, the majority of the practical bells and whistles look rancid. I could build a more streamlined robot in my garage. Seriously, whose tupperware did they poach to assemble these fucking things? The most convincing visual effect in the film is the effigy of Anthony Perkins that plays Dr. Alex Durant. I'm assuming that it was fashioned out of particle board. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that they hired Anthony Perkins himself to perform all of those dangerous stunts like staring at the camera and reciting dialogue with the fervor of a fax machine.

Maximilian Schell inhales the scenery as Dr. Reinhardt, our resident mad scientist. He is the only actor who seems to be enjoying himself. In all fairness, the climax is halfway stirring. Whatever momentum that was developed in the third act is ruthlessly demolished by an ambiguous ending that leaves the viewer scratching his/her head (and balls/clitoris). Did they actually believe that they were crafting high art? I wish I could recommend The Black Hole, but I can't. I just can't. Rent Event Horizon instead. Now that's a sentence I wasn't expecting to type today.

1 comment:

  1. Been a long, long time since I saw this one. Even as a kid, it seemed pretty low rent to me. Despite your review, I may just have to check it out again.