The Black Hole
Creepy robots and lukewarm ending haunt sci-fi classic.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some scenes with robots and humanoids may be frightening for younger viewers; there are shoot-outs and explosions but no gore. Maximilian the robot is a threatening presence, and the robot "goons," as one character calls them, are sinister en masse. This is good fun for sci-fi buffs who want to see Disney's attempt at Star Wars.
Waste of time
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What's the Story?
The crew of the Palomino is innocently going about its mission in the year 2130, when suddenly their course is re-routed and heading toward a black hole. Even more cause for concern: when they approach an abandoned U.S. space station lost 20 years ago, they find it's still inhabited by a lone mad scientist and his robotic companions.
Is It Any Good?
Sci-fi fans will want to see this film for its cult appeal, trippy ending and all. Released in an era when robots like R2-D2 were all the rage, Disney's 1979 answer was V.I.N.CENT, a friendly, philosophical robot who plays a main role in THE BLACK HOLE. The silent, malevolent Maximilian, however, steals the show, with his ultra creepy red eye, bass-heavy sound effects and his whirling appendages that can shred sheet metal. Tweens might enjoy watching the robots engage in battle with one another.
Set as an epic science-fiction journey into the deepest corner of space, The Black Hole attempted to marry grandiose visions of life among the stars with cutting-edge effects. It succeeded in the effects department (for 1979) but the movie loses steam as it progresses to a lukewarm ending. Anthony Perkins as the malleable Alex, and Maximillian Schell as the mad genius Dr. Reinhardt score points for their intelligent portrayals of scientists. The ending, however, offers a less than satisfying denouement.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what could be frightening about the unexplainable forces in our universe. In this film, the black hole presents a hellish gaping opening to the unknown. Is this accurate? How do concepts of heaven and hell feature in the movie? Do any of the ideas match your beliefs or not?
- In theaters: August 4, 1979
- On DVD or streaming: August 3, 2004
- Cast: Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, Maximillian Schell
- Director: Gary Nelson
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
The Enterprise's first feature, with smarts outdoing guns.
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The best of the original series, but the most intense, too.
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