For five years the crew of the PALOMINO has ranged through deep space, searching for evidence of alien life--with no result. Then, their mission almost at an end, they discover a giant collapsar--the largest black hole ever encountered--and, drifting perilously near it, is the long-lost legendary starship CYGNUS...Incredibly, the ship is not a lifeless hulk. Its commander--the genius who designed the CYGNUS and planned its epic voyage--still survives, served by a horde of mechanical slaves. But Commander Hans Reinhardt has no desire to be rescued. He has a rendezvous with the incredibly hellish forces of the collapsar--and he plans to take the PALOMINO'S crew along on his doomed adventure.
It is the year 2130 A.D. 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 out a way to flee from Reinhardt -- before it's too late.
When a research vessel manned by Dr Alex Durant and his family come across a long-missing vessel they board it and find it deserted. It appears to be populated entirely by robots but, on investigation they find that it is commanded by the scientist Dr Hans Reinhardt. His plan is to guide it directly into a black hole, through it and out into whatever lies beyond. Durant and his crew do not believe this is possible and attempt to leave, only to find that they are not free to do so.
I had vague memories of this film from childhood specifically the robots but not really enough of an impression to state an opinion on it. As a result (well, more of my anally retentive viewing habits) I decided to watch it again the other day and see how it played. For the vast majority of the film the answer is "not well" because the very simple plot mostly involves running, lasers-firing or comedy robots failing to be entertaining or endearing. This is how it goes but I do acknowledge that part of this is me watching a 30 year old Disney film as a man in my 30's as opposed to a child. I was tempted to switch it off but I stuck with it and found myself surprised by some of the content.
For a Disney film it is remarkably dark with some very creepy images and ideas making their way into it. The ending is of course the best example of this and, although narratively unsatisfying, it is really very weird and unnerving even as an adult. It feels like these parts are a different film though and the failing is that they are not woven into the film so much as feeling stuck on. Had this darkness been expanded and perhaps the many scenes of lasers been reduced then this could have been a much better film. The script is where this needed to happen but sadly the limited dialogue is mostly poor and there are no dialogue scenes that match or support the visually darker moments. Speaking of matters visual, the film has a mix of special effects. Some are impressive and imposing but then on the flip side we also have these kiddie-friendly robots (Disney's attempt at C3PO and R2D2) that look cheap and don't appeal as characters.
Unsurprisingly given what I have said, the cast don't make much of an impression. Perkins, Forster, Mimieux and Borgnine all run around but the only one that sticks in the memory is Schell. Well, perhaps I should say that the only person that sticks in the mind is Schell since the robot Maximillian also makes an impression and is a pretty good creation even if his body is a bit too clunky and his weapons look a little like comical egg-whisks.
The Black Hole is not a classic Disney film and it feels very much like what it is a rather opportunistic attempt to get in on the back of Star Wars' success. Mostly it is a bit too basic and childish to offer anything of interest to older or even modern viewers but I do say "mostly". It is "mostly" because the film has dark ideas and visuals that cry out to be fleshed out and spread across the film and it is frustrating to see really engaging and creepy ideas and images "tacked on" in the way they are. Worth a look for these and the nostalgia value but as it is, The Black Hole is not that good a film. I saw this movie for the first time recently (April 1999) and it was very odd. First of all, the woman communicates with the robot via telepathy. HUH? The robots look Ed Wood quality. Anthony Perkins is billed second but is hardly given anything to do. The post-Star Wars laser blasts look about as high-tech as those at the end of Rocky Horror.
The movie is boring since most of it takes place on one ship. If it were released today, the robots alone would get it laughed right out of the multiplexes. Still I can't say it was worse than Wing Commander. An Einstein-Rosen bridge, named after the creators of the theory: Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen, refers to the wormhole inherent in the center of a black hole and is a portal to a mirror universe that exists on the other end of a black hole. But there has been revisions to their theory through the years.
The first revision to this was the Schwarzschild solution, stating that a black hole was a static, non-revolving object, and that the center of a black hole was a single point, meaning that an object caught in that kind of black hole would undoubtedly be crushed when it reached the center, by the infinite gravity contained therein. This revision gives the impression that the Einstein-Rosen bridge would never be a scientific fact.
The second revision came in 1963 when Roy Kerr devised his solution for the Einstein-Rosen bridge equation, which was that if a star was rotating whenever it became a black hole, the center wouldn't become a single point. Instead, it would create a rotating black hole (the kind seen in the film) and there would be a ring instead of a single point at the center. Therefore it could still be possible to traverse through the black hole and emerge through to the other side, under certain circumstances.
The first condition of this is that the object must be travelling faster than the speed of light, in order to prevent being crushed by the finite gravity of the black hole, as detailed by Kerr's solution. The second condition is that the object going through the black hole must have the trajectory of approaching it from the front, head on, instead of the side. Any object approaching the black hole from the side would be crushed by the gravity of the hole itself, which would still be at an infinite state at that point around the black hole. Any object meeting these two conditions would, theoretically, make it through the Einstein-Rosen bridge and reach the universe on the other side of the black hole.
In the film The Black Hole,because the probe ship met those two conditions, it successfully made the voyage through, while the Cygnus, since it didn't meet one or both of the conditions, was crushed and destroyed at the exterior of the black hole itself.
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