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Peter T Chattaway

The Black Hole

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Link to the thread on David Fincher's Black Hole, which I don't believe is related to the Disney movies in any way, shape or form.

Links to our threads on Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) and Tron: Legacy (2010), both of which similarly update films that were released by Disney during that awkward, muddled period between Walt's death in the mid-'60s and the "renaissance" under Eisner and Katzenberg in the mid-'80s. (Are there any other examples?)

Link to the post in the 'Remakes that should be made' thread (Jul 2005 - Nov 2007) where Darren H nominated The Black Hole, adding the line: "You think I'm joking, but I'm not joking."

Way back in September 2008, Jim Hill wrote that Disney was thinking of remaking The Black Hole; this prompted me to write a brief note at my blog about the comic-book adaptation that I still have in my collection. (Hill said there had been a comic-strip adaptation by Jack Kirby, which I had never heard about before; the comic-book adaptation that I have is of definitely iffier quality.)

And now, this:

- - -

'Tron: Legacy' team mount a 'Black Hole' remake

Disney is preparing another expedition into “The Black Hole.”

Joseph Kosinski and Sean Bailey, the director and producer of Disney’s new “Tron: Legacy,” and scribe Travis Beacham are teaming up for what is being labeled a reinvention of the 1979 sci-fi film, which at the time was the most expensive movie Disney had ever produced. . . .

The details of the update are being kept secret, though the take does involve grounding the story in the science of a black hole, much more so than in the original. Maximilian also would return. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, November 30

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EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Kosinski's 'Black Hole' To Begin Script Work Soon, Will Preserve Maximilian, Cygnus And More

The 1979 original focused on a ship on a deep space mission and its encounter with a lost vessel called the Cygnus, home to a lone scientist in charge of an army of robots (including the hulking red killer Maximilian) who turn out to be the ship's missing crew. Kosinski's updated version won't pick up after the events of the first film, but rather will rework them with a vastly bigger budget and a deeper understanding of the science behind black holes.

"It won't be a sequel like 'Tron,'" he explained. "This one will be a reimagining. For me, it would be taking ideas and iconic elements that struck me as timeless and cool and preserving them while weaving a new story around them that's a little more '2001.'"

Among the elements Kosinski intends to keep are the red robot, the gnarly death of Cygnus' top dog Dr. Alex Durant (played originally by Anthony Perkins) and the design of the ship.

"I saw 'Black Hole' as a little kid," said Kosinski. "What sticks out most is the robot Maximilian. The blades and the vicious killing of Anthony Perkins. That freaked me out and that's definitely going to be an element that will be preserved. The design of the Cygnus ship is one of the most iconic spaceships ever put to film. From a conceptual point of view, we know so much more about black holes now, the crazy things that go on as you approach them due to the intense gravitational pull and the effects on time and space. All that could provide us with some really cool film if we embrace it in a hard science way."

MTV Movies Blog, February 9

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I've often thought over the years that The Black Hole was the rare, perfect candidate for a remake. It's such a dark and twisted and oddly ambitious story -- exactly the wrong material for Disney at the time.

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In my estimation, some of Disney's best and most underrated work was accomplished between '78 and '82: The Black Hole, Popeye, Dragonslayer (with Paramount), The Watcher in the Woods, Tron.

I can't recall much of Black Hole except the part where Maximilian drills a hole through some poor guy (Anthony Perkins?) and, of course, the jaw-dropping final scene which pushes the film into theological territory.

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I'm very OK with this remake. I like the original, but there's certainly a lot of potential. I just hope that they don't lose too much of the dark, twisted, creepy nature of the original, and based on the above comments from Kosinski, I don't think they will.

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Whoa. I'd forgotten all about this... until now. See my blog post for a bit more, including how this part of The Black Hole kinda, sorta, does-but-doesn't resemble the ending of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which ALSO came out in December 1979, and which ALSO included a reference to a black hole):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDj6XtZrxvw

I'm guessing the remake WON'T have a conclusion quite like this one, not if the director is talking about taking the remake in a more "hard science" sort of direction. (Then again, wasn't 2001: A Space Odyssey "hard science"? What do we do with the ending to THAT film?)

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That's what I'm saying! Note the "dark and twisted and oddly ambitious" in my last post. Add to this the fact that ship is crewed by people who have had their souls (or consciousness) stolen from them. And the Tony-Perkins-gets-flayed-by-robot-blades scene. And the cute, Slim Pickens-voiced r2d2 wannabe. Such a very, very strange movie.

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So, like, it's Hades. Huh.

All I know is I want those robot's eyes, and the ability to spin them around my head, too.

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The soundtrack to the original film is finally now on CD.

Meanwhile, check out this excerpt from the making-of video produced for the DVD; around the 1:20 mark, they talk about how they developed the quasi-religious ending (which didn't even exist yet when the film went into production):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTtKUMk7Pk0

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Posted about this on Facebook this morning. I am assuming this thread is to discuss the original and the possible remake as well.

For all the flaws in the movie, and there are a few big ones, Disney's The Black Hole is a great movie. Could it have been better? Of course. At the time (1979) the effects were pretty state of the art, and they did the best they could with what they had, along with some pretty ingenious ideas for how to keep the cables from being seen when having people hanging in the air to seem like floating in space. 2001 came out almost 11 years earlier, and you can see some of the advancements already in how things were portrayed. But for all the flaws I really believed in the action. The space fights, the robot battles, the pretty harrowing scene where the meteorite is about to crush them...I believed it all. As I was watching I could see some ways a reboot or remake would improve on the storyline, not only effectually, but with recent scientific finds on black holes, as well as more character development, particularly for Harry Booth, whose later act of cowardice seems like a reverse Deus Ex Machina. I think if they were to remake it, it would be a brilliant idea though. One of the problems with recent science fiction movies is they are all adventure and no exploration. The fiction overshadows the science. Promotheus has a bit of exploration, and that helps a movie that suffered in other ways. A remake of The Black Hole would have everything we love nowadays, with a light shined on the "unknown" again, reigniting that old exploratory spirit we used to have about space and what's out there. I know I've often mentioned loving the idea of a remake of The Last Starfighter, but I am far more interested in a remake of The Black Hole. There's so much good could come from such a remake.

and that music was amazing. John Barry really nailed it with the music. I found myself liking this one as much as Island at the Top of the World, my favorite of the old Disney canon. I also love how it was basically 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea in space.

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Disney's 'Black Hole' Remake Lands Writer (Exclusive)

"Prometheus" co-writer Jon Spaihts has been tapped to write the reinvention, which has "Oblivion" filmmaker Joe Kosinski attached to direct.

Disney put the remake into development in 2009. Travis Beacham was writing the script at the time, and Kosinski was working on the project while prepping the Tron reboot.

Among the signature pieces of the original movie were a threatening red robot named Maximillian as well as two kindlier robots named V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B.

It is unknown if those characters will return, but the new take, which restarts the project, has been described as being big idea -- philosophical and somewhat dark in tone. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, April 4

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Posted (edited)

I finally got around to seeing The Black Hole Saturday night, on a double-bill with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  The only thing missing to make the event truly feel like time traveling back to 1979 was a Christmas tree in the lobby of the theater.
 

Wow....  ummmm, The Black Hole was one of the most painful movie going experiences in many years.  Horrible script, wooden performances (except for crazy Maximillian Schell), and a complete lack of suspense.  I'm not even sure who this was aimed at.  As an adult, I completely cringed at the cutesy robots, but I'm sure I would have been bored out of my mind as a kid with the ennnnndddleeessssss talk (although, I was 15 at the time of release). In that way, it reminded me of Disney's recent The Lone Ranger, another film that didn't seem to know who its audience should have been.  The Black Hole started out with some interesting SPFX - I have to say I really liked its depiction of deep space, and the Cygnus is a marvel of a ship. IIRC, the motion control system that Disney developed for this film was the first that could incorporate movement of matte paintings (something not even Star Wars was able to do), which gave a certain depth to those background star fields painted by Harrison Ellenshaw.  But as the movie progressed, the effects started to really go downhill.  You'd think they'd want to up the ante in FX the closer they got to the black hole, and not go the direction they did.  In the end, the black hole appeared to be outtakes of the maelstrom from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, processed through some Ralph Bakshi-style rotoscoping.

John Barry's score is about the only thing worth praising in this film. I wouldn't mind owning a copy.

I agree with some of the sentiment here, that this is ripe for a remake.

Edited by John Drew

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