|The Black Hole|
|Directed by||Gary Nelson|
|Produced by||The Frozen Head Of Walt Disney|
Norman Bates (In Space!)
|Edited by||Battle Axes and Dull Knives|
|Release date(s)||December 12th, 1979|
|Running time||98 minutes|
|Language||English, Igpay Atinlay|
|Box office||Was It Ever!|
- This article is about the 1979 Walt Disney Productions movie. For the astronomical phenomenon, see Black hole.
The Black Hole is a 1979 American "Science Fiction" film directed by Gary Nelson, and written by The Frozen Head of Walt Disney for Walt Disney for Walt Disney Productions. Also known as Disney Goes All Starwars (as it was released in the European, Tuvan, and Tamil Nadu markets), It starred MaxABillion Shell, Robert "Bob" Foister, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Memeyou, Norman Bates, Earnest Borgnine, and more gravity than you ever imagined. The voices of the main robot characters were provided by a late respected British actor and a late respected American character actor who went uncredited for reasons many reviewers found obvious. The musical score was composed.
The movie was a significant break for the Walt Disney studios. Not only did it mark the first use of a swear in a Disney movie but it also featured the most expensive and realistic special effects of any SF movie (if you ignored Star Wars). The acting, however, was still fairly cartoonish, so the movie was not mistaken for anything other than a Disney film, though the robot characters did fool some reviewers into thinking the were watching American Graffiti.
Returning home from a two-year mission to solve the question of the disappearance of 7-Eleven store managers across hundreds of star systems, the Earth exploratory ship USS Lippizaner Stallion happens upon a black hole, termed by the robot V.I.N.CENT (an acronym meaning Vocally Irritating kNowitall CENTurion) "the largest black hole he's ever seen", only the first of many arrogant "I know better than you" statements that went a long way toward stealing the show from his human cohort. V.I.N.CENT also discovers a surprising discovery: the lost starship USS Smugness, presumed lost some twenty years earlier. Not wanting to pass up a chance to put themselves in danger, Captain Dang "Buddy" Holly decides to take a closer look.
Experiencing more gravity than they ever imagined, the Stallion, being flown carelessly by First Mate Xanax Pfizer, begins feeling stress from the aforementioned gravity. Just as the ship seemed to begin breaking up, as the craft approaches the Smugness, they encountered a null-gravity bubble around the lost ship. After once again moving into the immense gravity and almost losing everyone's lives just a few minutes into the story, they were able to make their way back into the null-gravity field and were able to dock with the seemingly-lifeless ship.
Exploring the ship, seemingly lifeless and run by robots, Captain Holly (Foister), Dr Bait McCraefish (Mimeyou), Pfizer (Bottoms), journalist Hairy Birth (Borgnine) and Norman Bates (himself, only in space) find their way to the bridge and are confronted by a large, ugly robot known as MaxABillion and his owner, the mad scientist Dr Blitz Weinhard (Shell), thought lost along with the Smugness and all its plot complications. He claims that the Smugness was damaged some years before by a storm of bill collectors and repo men who came to retrieve the ship after it was recalled to Earth. He and his robotic crew rehabilitated the ship after the original crew was lost – presumably, behind some couch on one of the planets that the ship had visited.Sensing a trap, the crew gets a shared case of the willies and decides to leave during a dinner with Dr Weinhard, except for Bates, who falls deeply into mancrush with Weinhard after hearing of his plans to fly the Smugness through the black hole and after he promised Bates he would sublet some of the ships considerable space to open a bed-and-breakfast, Bates longing for a return to his old profession – having been drummed out of the Bed-N-Breakfast Guild back on Earth for certain activities he didn't care to discuss and were under court-ordered seal anyway.
The movie climaxes when Bait and Norman come to the conclusion that the robots manning Smugness were actually the zombified 7-Eleven managers that had gone missing. The Stallion's crew conceded the point after Weinhard successfully pointed out that their lives as brainless automatons were actually slightly better than those of a 7-Eleven manager anyway.
That established, the movie makes no secret of the fact that Dr Weinhard was as crazy as a Black Forest cuckoo clock.
The Controversial Ending
After the conceit is revealed, the Stallion's crew attempted to make it back to the ship for the dramatic escape. Bates, attempting to escape after Weinhard's cruelty and insanity become evident, is tickled to death by the robot MaxABillion. Bait is taken to the ship's hospital to be forcibly retrained to become a 7-Eleven manager. With the help of the old battered ship's robot, Old BOOB, Bait is rescued just after she fills in the W-2's and just before she's made to complete the 401(k) enrollment forms. Meanwhile, Hairy escapes to the Stallion but destroys it by crashing it into the side of the Smugness after losing control of the ship due to his catching skin when fixing his open fly.
The Smugness is steered toward the black hole but begins to break up just as they approach the event horizon. Both Dr Weinhard and the remains of the Stallion crew decide to try to escape by using the probe ship. The Stallion crew reach the probe ship first when Wienhard dies in a freak (and extremely poorly-timed) incident involving a vibrator, an egg beater, and several Amway products in a cinema sequence that is still being debated to this day.In a case of EPIC FAIL, instead of accelerating away from the wreck of the Smugness and the black hole, the probe goes down the hatch, using the program Weinhard meant to use on his DVR.
The last fifteen minutes involve subjective imagery. It involves flames, apparent robot sex, a group of people marching over a rock bridge, some flying stuff, something looking like an angel, a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright designs, and it's all supposed to mean … ah, well, the contrast between the flames and the cathedral … aah, cellphone … beef stick … Ethel Merman … oh, let's try it this way, it's life and death and heaven and … ahh, Detroit …
Oh, hell, I can't explain it either. You're on your own there. Although you know that part of 2001: A Space Odyssey that had all the acid-trip stuff? It's like that, only if you were just drunk and someone did it with Crayolas.
Good luck, campers.
Crew of the USS Lippizaner Stallion
- Captain Dang "Buddy" Holly (Robert Foister) Captain of the Stallion he's a "just-the-facts", grave, serious commander who is so generic that he almost fades into even the baroque backgrounds of the Smugness. He does have enough good hair to stand out however. Knows how to rub two scouts together to make a fire. Does a good turn daily.
- Lt. Xanax Pfizer (Joseph Bottoms) A dutiful, dull first officer who, if anything, is even more serious than his Captain. As a result, he stays with the Stallion in case it needs to lift off in a hurry except for close-quarters firefights, in which case he's in the crosshairs. Hates V.I.N.CENT with a passion, mostly because he won't shut his electronic yap. Wishes that the robot were a real person so he could give him such a swirly. The actor is beloved by satirists because, in as much as his last name is literally "Bottoms", needs no further work to become a joke.
- Dr Bait McCraefish (Yvette Mimeyou) Scientist without portfolio, an expert in something somehow, primarily included aboard the Stallion for situations for a female to shriek in. Presumed to have an ESP link with V.I.N.CENT, but since there is actually no such thing as ESP is simulated with a Bluetooth ear set and hiding in corners to communicate when necessary. Was provided V.I.N.CENT as a counterpart because it was either that or she got to take along her twelve cats, and nobody else was willing to do the litter boxes.
- Norman Bates (in space) (Norman Bates, as himself, only in space) The civilian leader of the Stallion expedition, with a checkered past in the hospitality industry. Also a scientific expert in something or other, his primary function amongst the crew is to be kind of creepy while also having the biggest man crush (on Dr Weinhard) in the history of spaceflight.
- Hairy Birth (Earnest Borgnine) A journalist from the Yellow school and avowed opportunistic coward, also pays scant attention to his open fly toward the end of the movie – with predictably tragic-comic results.
- V.I.N.CENT (Robot voice actor name withheld by request) Intended to be the scientific dogsbody of the crew, winds up more being a wise-ass know-it-all whose sole purpose in programming is to, apparently, drive Lt. Pfizer over the edge with a never-ending stream of witty aphorisms, quotes from dead philosophers, and unslovable Sudoku puzzles.
Crew of the USS Smugness
- Herr Kapitan Oberst Sturmbahnfürher Herr Doktor Professor Blitz Weinhard (MaxABillion Shell) A tousled-haired, bearded man with Mad Scientist skills. Gains command of the Smugness by invoking a little-known, seldom-used clause in his mad-scientist employment contract which allows him to eject the crew at the first barely-habitable planet and keep the ship anyway. Is compelled to go through the black hole because he's nuttier than a fruitcake – but cuts a commanding figure in red. The actor, Shell, was chosen to play him because of his renowned acting range said, by James Lipton, to go all the way from A to B.
- MaxABillion (Michael Eisner, uncredited) the big red robot with a billion arms, was so named be displayed the same acting range as the actor MaxABillion Shell. Equipped with a million instruments to deliver pleasure as well as pain, MaxABillion was Dr Weinhard's servant … or was he?
- Old BOOB (Robot voice actor name withheld by request) A dilapidated relative of V.I.N.CENT, rescued from the gutter he descended into after being passed over for the part of Bit in TRON, Old BOOB was a plainspoken, trusting robot who spoke in a country twang and knew all the Smugness' secrets. Greatest ambition was to play Dueling Banjos but was frustrated by this by the general lack of arms.
- Assorted Sentry Robots, because Star Wars already got the cool stormtroopers.
- 375,000 Lobotomized 7-Eleven Store Managers, who lived a bleak and doomed existence, but was still, overall, better off than if they had remained 7-Eleven store managers.
The Black Hole and Its Allies
- The Black Hole (itself) The most terrifying destructive force in the Universe, Dr. Weinhard is convinced that something – perhaps Ceiling Cat – lurks at its bottom.
- More Gravity Than You Ever Imagined (itself) Speaks for itself really. You know what gravity is? Well, there's more of it here. How much can you imagine? Yes. More than that.
- None of these Links
- Go anywhere because
- Once you're in the grip of
- The Black Hole, the gravity
- (Which is More than You Can Imagine)
- Will never let you escape, sort
- of like Toledo, Cleveland, or Corpus Christi