Star Wars made such an impact on the cinematic world that it wasn’t long before other studios followed suit. Science Fiction was popular and no one wanted to be left out. Many movies were released in the wake of the incredible blockbuster that was Star Wars, today we are discussing one that not many really remember and those that do are of a mixed opinion. Today’s Key Movie, The Black Hole (1979) from Walt Disney Pictures.
Today’s Key Movie:
The Black Hole, directed by Gary Nelson, follows the crew of the Palomino as they on their return trip to Earth after a lengthy exploratory mission to seek out new life and new civilizations (maybe not in those exact words but yeah that’s what they were doing.) Along the way they encounter a Black Hole and a nearby ship that may be a long believed lost craft by the name of Cygnus. The crew investigate only to find that the ship’s crew are not what they had expected.
Why this movie?
Although the Black Hole was one of many science fiction films to be released after Star Wars, it is one that actually holds up well. It is certainly one that, although well done on its own, could use an updated version as the story is quite good.
Mostly forgotten by the sci film community, this is a gem to be uncovered. The film has a great cast and some cool uncredited roles from Roddy Mcdowall and Slim Pickens playing two similar robots V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. respectively.
With an all-star cast including Anthony Perkins, Maximilian Schell and even Ernest Borgnine, this film was a box office success and, despite its fall into relative obscurity, was among the highest grossing films of 1979.
How did this translate to real life?
The Black Hole is one from my childhood that I remember seeing but, until recently, haven’t seen in probably 20 years. I vividly remember watching it on VHS and being enthralled by the film. Heck, I even had the bed sheets and curtains at one point in my life! V.I.N.CENT, B.O.B. and even the evil robot Maximilian all became iconic images in my head and it is a delight to see that companies like Funko are bringing them back in toy form once again.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
While clearly a Disney production of the late 70’s, visually at least, the special effects really hold up. In some ways the movie feels inspired by the amazing classic Forbidden Planet and some 2001 A Space Odyssey, the ending especially with the latter.
With a relatively small cast, impressive special effects and fascinating story, this movie is one that should grace the collection of any self-respecting science fiction fan. While much of the ‘science’ is far from accurate, the film itself is a testament to good storytelling.
Honestly, re-watching the film, I was impressed with how much it has held up over time. In many ways, this film is better than I remember it being.
Oh and be warned, it is one of the last films to have an Overture. So there is about 2 minutes of score before the movie starts. It’ll give you enough time to grab a drink and some popcorn. 🙂
And the ending….yeah it’s like something out of 2001 A Space Odyssey and it is a trip!
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can pick this film up from Best Buy here on DVD for around $10. it is also available digitally in both SD and HD but doesn’t seem to be available on bluray at this point. It is really worth picking up and fairly safe for kids although there are some ‘scary’ bits.
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
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Late To The Game 1/12/2019