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After Tron, The Black Hole
Get ready for more Maximilian

01 December 2009  |  Written by Owen Williams  |  Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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After Tron, The Black Hole

With Tron Legacy still a year away from release it seems premature to be talking about what that team are planning next. And yet, here we are, with producer and director Sean Bailey and Joseph Kosinski set to plunder the Disney back catalogue once again, with a rejig of the nutso The Black Hole.

A lasting psychological scar for anyone who saw it as a child when it was relatively new, The Black Hole was Disney's first film not to carry a U rating, which meant that characters could say "damn" and "hell", and that Anthony Perkins could be violently eviscerated by the whirling deathblades of a giant crimson robot. The plot involves some space explorers (including Ernest Borgnine) stumbling upon Maximilian Schell, living alone at the edge of the titular void, on a ship with an army of faceless automatons. He claims his crew deserted him before his attempts to enter The Black Hole, but it turns out he's lying, and the automatons are the remains of his shipmates. 

A huge tentpole sci-fi investment for Disney in 1979, it remains utterly bizarre in its total bleakness: its only real concession to Star Wars cash-innery being the crowbarred-in cute floating robots, voiced by Roddy McDowell and Slim Pickens. It ends, 2001-like, with everyone entering The Black Hole and suffering a massive existential transmogrification. In a DISNEY film. They used to show it at CHRISTMAS.

Details of the new version are under wraps at the moment, other than the promise that Maximilian (the red robot, not Schell) will be back, and it will be a lot more scientifically "grounded". So no flying wraiths in Heironymous Bosch landscapes then. Travis Beacham, who had a hand in Clash of the Titans, is writing the script.

The Black Hole is a kind of version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so it's interesting to note that Bailey was also the producer of the crashed McG version of the Jules Verne classic. Were both films originally planned alongside each other, or has Bailey just regrouped and changed his focus?


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Your Comments

A Blast From The Past
God, there's a movie I haven't seen or thought about in many years. I too saw it at the cinema as a kid, I bought the trading cards and I have a soft spot for it. Whatever bleakness the original had will be jettisoned in the remake, the cast will be 19 year-old idiots and it will be dodgy CGI all over the shop. Might be better to leave this one alone. More

Posted by BenTramer at 21:25 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

One of John Barry's finest moments, not one of Disney's. Add this to your recent bad science in movies blog. More

Posted by steveg66 at 19:41 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

As a kid
I was brought to see this as well as Star Wars. I'm looking forward to this, it's got to be better than any of the 3 prequels of Star Wars, need some healing. More

Posted by nybras at 17:23 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

Yes, I hate remakes but this was one I always thought might be an exception. The soundtrack was great. The Anthony Perkins bit freaked me out as a kid and the end is trippy/haunting More

Posted by james riley at 13:45 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

Yes, I hate remakes but this was one I always thought might be an exception. The soundtrack was great. The Anthony Perkins bit freaked me out as a kid and the end is trippy/haunting More

Posted by james riley at 12:35 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

And what about THAT ending?
I got hold of this a couple of months ago and was pleasantly surprised as to how it held up. This was my 9th birthday party trip when I, of course, loved the robots. Anthony Perkins getting his insides rearranged was scary, as were faceless crew but it was the ending that stayed with me. The two maximilians joined together stuck in what could only be described as hell, with a long, long receding shot of some very impressive model work. I know they won't, but they really should keep that! More

Posted by Janath at 12:20 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

They must must must....
.... write it as a serious adult film, not aim it at kids. The Black Hole has such potential, and as brilliant as the original is, its undone by the sudden, jarring reminders that its a kids film. This is one seriously scary concept, and justice must be done! More

Posted by andyswright at 12:14 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

Like it!
Twas only a matter of time. I loved this as a kid and had the little figures of vincent, etc, do battle with various star wars figures (greedo, walrus man). This COULD be great if they stick to the same story and not disapper into a hollywood remake black hole (sorry). Oh, I think they shouldn't mess too much with Max, as he was uuuuber cool and scary. Maybe 3-D? That could be a winner. A decent cast would be nice too. In fact, give me some say in this film and I could make it a beauty... More

Posted by breakism at 12:13 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

This film scared the SHIT out of me as a kid - and that John Barry score is as ominous as it gets (and I don't mean that triumphant march that they play everytime someone so much as coughs.) just check out the opening credits. They'll need a good cast too - Hans Reinhardt is a kick ass role. Then again, they'll probably put Zach Efron in the fucker.. More

Posted by The Jackal at 11:58 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

I won the soundtrack in a competition when it came out and what a score it was. I'm guessing this will be in 3D. More

Posted by granny at 11:56 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Bring back Forster
Saw this at the cinema as a child (original that is), being four, it freaked me ever so slightly and I would welcome the opportunity to return to it some thirty odd years later and put all at rest More

Posted by JIm R at 11:51 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Bring back Forster
This film rules.  I used to have one of those programmable round robots.  Be interesting to see a bleak kids film in this day and age. More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 11:11 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

Bring back Forster
In a nod to the original, they could have the sorely under-rated Robert Forster as the crazy loon mad scientist played by Schell in the 79 version. More

Posted by MaxRenn at 10:34 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

Good
The Black Hole original was quite good. A remake could be excellent if done right! More

Posted by Funk_Knight at 09:11 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

sounds suitably badass More

Posted by ieatlions at 08:36 on 01 December 2009 | Report This Post

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