Document details

Star Treck vs. The Black Hole
Tony Crawley, Alan Murdoch, Phil Edwards

With two big budget science fiction movies, paramount’s Star Trek — The Motion Picture and Disney’s The Black Hole, appearing on the cinema circuits around the same time we asked some of our regular contributors to examine both films and decide which of the pair they prefer

Tony Crawley

And the winner is ... . . Dark Star! Carpenter and O’Bannon with 75p to spend (or was it 80p?) are still better than any of the high-tech, money-is-no-object, mega movies. Because they follow the essence of sf. Mind over matter. Not money over everything.


The Black Hole spent less — in money and time — and showed the Trekkers a thing or four about effects, mattes, and sheer scope and size of imagination. More Lucas than Kubrick, and far less adult than the Disney hypers kept telling us Hole proved the complete antithesis of Trek — it was better than we had a right to imagine, given its parentage. The damned robots nearly ruined this 20,000 Leagues In Space, though. Roddy McDowall's ViNcenthreepio with his Minnie Mouse eyes just shows how old Disney habits die hard. Having ruined the animal kingdom, they‘ve turned now to objects. Why did Slim Pickens’ Old Bob have an old man’s voice? A robot may get knocked about, and its voice become fractured, unclear, on the blink in midsentence, perhaps, but, surely, it would never age. Disney's actors were slightly livelier, too. Some of the props may have had wires (not that I saw any), but the Trekkers seemed to have their hospital-drips attached at times. Kenny Baker is better than any of them and we never see him inside R2-D2!


Alan Murdoch

Star Trek v The Black Hole? Good grief, better to compare death by disembowelment with strangulation!


By far the more entertaining picture was The Black Hole. Not necessarily a better film — but the Disney team managed to capture a sense of fun that was missing from Trek. Nevertheless, all the Disney cliches were in evidence. The cutesie robots (standing in for the cutesie dogs), the likeable but headstrong young man (Joseph Bottoms), the treacherous coward (Ernest Borgnine) and the “mature” romantic leads (Robert Forster and Yvette Mimieux — why is it no characters in Disney films fall in love before they're forty?).


Phil Edwards


The Black Hole, on the other hand, was a complete disappointment. Disney had promised a super whizz-bang space opera that would compare with Star Wars and what they delivered was a tired old rehash of Twenty Thousand Under the Sea and Forbidden Planet.

The film, despite a two year production schedule, displayed all the marks of a quicky rip-off. An expensive one, granted, but a rip-off none the less. Apart from the tired plot, the insufferably cute robots, the banal dialogue, the pedestrian performances and the determinedly “adult” language — for a Disney film — (“oh hell, oh damn” — what next I thought, “oh double hell, oh double damn?) the thing I found most annoying was the special effects. The Black Hole was promised to contain scenes that would dazzie the senses. Where Star Trek had been saved from its slim plot by the effects, The Black Hole contained little innovation in this direction. It was as if nothing new had happened in the last twenty years in the special effects field. Poor matting abounded, clearly visible wires and the big finale, the entry into the Black Hole itself, made nonsense of the lavish advance press releases the Disney organisation had issued.

Far be it from me to reveal to those who haven't seen it what lies in the Black Hole. However I will say that if it had been Mickey Mouse himself, the effect could not have been more ludicrous.



Source type Magazine
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text


Id 4544
Availability Free
Inserted 2019-12-17