Ever since I spotted that poster from The Black Hole in Tron: Legacy, I can’t stop thinking about that old Disney film.
The Black Hole was one of the earliest films I remember seeing as a kid back in 1979. The movie borrows plot lines from several classic works like Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. But the core story is rather simple and effective. The crew of an exploratory spaceship encounter a long-lost spaceship near a black hole in space, but it turns out it’s not abandoned. The commander of the huge derelict craft is obsessed with entering the black hole and finding out its secrets. As these tales go, the commander is insane and won’t let anyone get in his way not even the crew of the would-be rescue ship.
With all these pointless and gratuitous remakes being made (I’m looking at you Total Recall and soon Robocop), The Black Hole is one film that needs a remake or some kind of sequel at least.
Sure it’s got head-scratching flaws and scientifically it doesn’t make sense. For instance, why is it when the ship starts to get closer to the black hole, characters are able to survive outside the space ship without space suits, breathe air and even talk to each other? This is really confounding when earlier in the film, when the same characters are in a huge greenhouse, the structure is compromised, leading to air escaping and freezing temperatures. The robots they were fighting had visible signs of frost, yet the humans get along fine in the melee.
Then there is the ending sequence. It needed to be more spelled out. Is the black hole a gateway to heaven and hell? Then what happens at the very end? I guess it’s supposed to be one of those philosophical endings that can be debated but it throws off the tone of the film which was part mystery, part shoot-em-up.
The Black Hole is not the greatest movie ever made but it still fires up my imagination to this day. The special effects were great, it was even nominated for a special effects Oscar. I really enjoyed the laser battles with the mad scientist’s robots and the film’s rousing score during those battles. It was an obvious swipe of John Williams but most sci-fi films in that era copied the composer. I also liked the characters, even the cute heroic robots. BTW, the head villainous robot, Maximillian, was pretty damn cool especially when he diced his claws into Anthony Perkins’ character. Too bad no blood was shown! Despite my misgivings about the ending, I liked that the filmmakers decided to be ambitious even if it was frustrating to watch.
A remake would have the same plot line: spaceship crew finds a lost spaceship with a nutty scientist bent on exploring a black hole; lives be damned, the gaining of knowledge is more important! But a remade Black Hole would be much more scientifically accurate. In this day and age it would have to be. The elements are right there for any enterprising filmmaker to improve upon the original. Combine that with some spectacular special effects and production design and we could wind up with a remake that surpasses the original.