Sunday, May 21, 2006

Disney's The Black Hole - Retro science fiction lives again!



While surfing YouTube awhile back, I found this stop-motion video by Matt Gorden. I thought it was a clever use of space toys and desktop video editing. With a desktop PC and some software, anyone can do special effects that would have cost millions to produce only a short time ago.

One of the guilty pleasures in my DVD collection is Walt Disney's 1979 film The Black Hole, the first Disney film to be rated PG and an attempt to cash in on the boom in science fiction films started by Star Wars.

The Black Hole is no Star Wars, but I remember it because it was one of the first movies I saw in a Dolby Stereo theater and featured elaborate special effect sequences.

The Black Hole also features early CGI in the opening credits, as the camera whirls and twists over a green grid floating against a luminous starfield.

The USS Cygnus, the lead spaceship of the movie, is a massive hulk of a ship constructed from metal girders. Looming in cold space with a sense of awe and dread, the Cygnus is Disney's Haunted Mansion meets the Battlestar Galactica.

The robots of the film often convey more emotion than the actors. From the kid-friendly, orb-shaped VINCENT and OLD BOB, to the evil Maximilian with his angry red eye and spinning blades. They look goofy (no pun intended) in a way that clearly carries the Disney stamp and made them destined to be sold as action figures.

Finding this video brought back some old memories. Thanks to Matt Gorden for letting me share his work.

5 comments:

tagryn said...

The real pity about TBH is that the movie's lackluster performance has meant that a truly first-rate soundtrack by John Barry has been largely ignored. For ominous, dark, forboding music, its absolutely top-notch.

Charles G said...

Funny you should mention that.

I still have a copy of the John Barry score on LP.

When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite records.

The overture music was great. On the Anchor Bay edition of the DVD, you can play the movie with the overture first against a bright blue starfield.

WOW! I guess I'm not alone in liking this movie or its music after all!

Anonymous said...

I love this movie. I actually prefer it to STAR WARS as it is more dark and ominous than the former film. I found a copy of the soundtrack on CD (an import paired with HOWARD THE DUCK). If anyone would like the tracks I can probably send via email. Its good to know this movie still has some fans!

Jeff Russell

Jalanruss@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I love this movie. I actually prefer it to STAR WARS as it is more dark and ominous than the former film. I found a copy of the soundtrack on CD (an import paired with HOWARD THE DUCK). If anyone would like the tracks I can probably send via email. Its good to know this movie still has some fans!

Jeff Russell

Jalanruss@yahoo.com

Gary said...

Good post, nice to see i'm not the only one with a soft spot for the little guy..
With regards to the soundtrack, it's now available via iTunes.. worth the 9.99 by far.. a fantastic score.
Growing up it was one of my favorites by far, and the first 2 acts still hold up well in my opinion.. but that 3rd act.. wow.. even a hard core fan like me has cringe (until they get to the drug-induced 2001esque ending)!