Black Hole

The Black Hole

4.3 3
Director: Gary Nelson

Cast: Gary Nelson, Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster

     
 

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The Walt Disney classic space adventure head-trip The Black Hole comes back to DVD, this time not from Anchor Bay, but from Disney DVD themselves. While the disc is nowhere near a special edition, the presentation is still a class act, and there are still a few juicy extras to sink your teeth into. The film itself looks fantastic in all its anamorphic 2.35:1

Overview

The Walt Disney classic space adventure head-trip The Black Hole comes back to DVD, this time not from Anchor Bay, but from Disney DVD themselves. While the disc is nowhere near a special edition, the presentation is still a class act, and there are still a few juicy extras to sink your teeth into. The film itself looks fantastic in all its anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen glory, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track does fair justice to both John Barry's score and all of the intense laser-blasting robot action. On the extras front, there's a 16-minute "Through the Black Hole" featurette that includes an interview with matte effects supervisor Harrison Ellenshaw as he talks the viewer through the various old-school effects techniques that the film employed. Being one of the last productions to champion that style of filmmaking, it's a fascinating world that's presented and one that many computer effects artists working today could learn a thing or two from. Also interesting is Ellenshaw's mention of a crazy alternate ending and the admission that even he doesn't know what the robot-worshipping hell sequence really means! For any fans of the film that don't already own it, this is a slim but fine release that, at the very least, will instantly deliver the whacked-out goods whenever you need them.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Red-hot meteors, sharp-shooting robots, and skin-tight polyester abound in The Black Hole, a campy trip down memory lane for science fiction fans. Made in 1979 with a retro sci-fi look, the film follows Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, and Joseph Bottoms as space travelers in search of "inhabitable life in the universe." They end the search, however, battling the wild-haired Dr. Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell), a mad scientist intent on taking the space travelers with him into the oblivion of a black hole. Disney pushed the family fare envelope for their first PG-rated release: Incredible set design, a smart-talking sidekick robot, and the lovely foil-wrapped Dr. Kate (Yvette Mimieux) are just a prelude to the final journey into the black hole, which couples overt religious allegory with inadvertent sexual innuendo. In the end, the film is enjoyably quirky piece of sci-fi film history that has assured a spot on many a fan's shelves. Movie buffs should listen for the voices of Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes) and Slim Pickens (Dr. Strangelove) as the do-good robots who help in the battle against Dr. Reinhardt. Jennifer McCreery
All Movie Guide
This Disney project, an attempt to challenge Star Wars, is too uneven for its own good but has earned a cult following thanks to its extraordinary look and willingness to take unusual chances. The most amazing thing about The Black Hole is how dark it is for a Disney production; it is full of horror-film-styled shocks, like the scene where Dr. Hans Reinhardt attacks one of the film's crew, and the surreal climax avoids the typical Disney happy ending. Unfortunately, the script doesn't live up to its ambitious aims; the story hints at dark avenues that it never truly commits to, and the characterizations are distressingly flat. The cast does the best they can with their mediocre roles, with Maximilian Schell turning in the most attention-grabbing work as Reinhardt and Yvette Mimieux doing the most emotionally affecting work as Kate. Behind the camera, director Gary Nelson creates some memorable set pieces (the best being a nerve-janging meteor attack), but lacks the style necessary to overpower the script's lack of substance. Despite these shortcomings, The Black Hole remains worthwhile as an experience in sight and sound. The goregously designed sets and spaceships are nothing short of stunning and the old-fashioned optical effects remain impressive even in this post-CGI era. The film also boasts an almost Wagnerian score by John Barry that could very well be his finest work outside the James Bond films. Ultimately, The Black Hole is too inconsistent in its storytelling to be truly satisfying, but its look and its unexpected surprises make it a worthwhile choice for patient cult film fanatics.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/03/2004
UPC:
0786936234213
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
PG
Source:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:38:00
Sales rank:
2,332

Special Features

"Through the Black Hole" featurette; Extended trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Maximilian Schell Dr. Hans Reinhardt
Anthony Perkins Dr. Alex Durant
Robert Forster Capt. Dan Holland
Joseph Bottoms Lt. Charles Pizer
Yvette Mimieux Dr. Kate McGraw
Ernest Borgnine Harry Booth
Tom McLoughlin Capt. S.T.A.R.
Roddy McDowall V.I.N.CENT
Slim Pickens Bob

Technical Credits
Gary Nelson Director
Bob Barbash Original Story
John Barry Score Composer
Art Cruickshank Special Effects
Gerry Day Screenwriter
Peter Ellenshaw Production Designer
Richard Landau Original Story
Eustace Lycett Special Effects
John Mansbridge Art Director
Frank R. McKelvey Set Decoration/Design
Gregg McLaughlin Editor
Ron Miller Producer
Frank Phillips Cinematographer
Al Y. Roelofs Art Director
Jeb Rosebrook Screenwriter
Robert J. Schiffer Makeup
Roger M. Shook Set Decoration/Design
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Titles/USS Cygnus [11:10]
2. Pulled Aboard [10:49]
3. Dr. Hans Reinhardt [11:28]
4. The Brink of a Great Discovery [9:04]
5. Reinhardt's Research [11:26]
6. Genius or Madman? [11:55]
7. No Escape [10:55]
8. Meteor Storm [8:33]
9. Into the Black Hole [9:46]
10. End Credits [2:32]

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The Black Hole 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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