Film (1979). Walt Disney. Directed by Gary Nelson. Written by Jeb Rosebrook, Gerry Day, based on a story by Rosebrook, Bob Barbash, Richard Landau. Cast includes Ernest Borgnine, Joseph Bottoms, Robert Forster, Yvette Mimieux, Anthony Perkins and Maximilian Schell. 98 minutes. Colour.
The disappointment of its year in sf movies, this was a ludicrous though expensive reprise in space of Disney's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954). Astronauts enter a derelict survey vessel orbiting a Black Hole (painted red so that we can see it better); they find a Captain Nemo-like figure (Schell) served by a killer Robot and Android henchmen, who turn out to be the original crew evilly transformed by the Mad Scientist. His desire is to venture within the hole. After adventures involving two post-Star Wars cute robots and a strike by a meteor (although the size of a house, it fails to bring about the decompression of the spacecraft), all enter the hole, which appears to Schell like Dante Alighieri's Inferno and to the good guys like a kitschy cathedral. The screenwriters, who appear to have no knowledge of science even to primary-school level, give all the fanatical oratory to Schell, leaving the remainder of the cast quite wooden. The novelization is The Black Hole (1979) by Alan Dean Foster. [PN]
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