Yeah, I'm right there. Of course, the idea of "so what" has to enter into this somewhere, seeing as how this is, at essence, another Sci-Fi disaster movie with the actual cause being somewhat secondary. So, you get it, science isn't that important. Still, for all the mysteries surrounding "real" black holes (the very existence of which is still mainly theoretical), the characters and thus writer David Goodin seems to know what common knowledge would dictate about them. Not that it stops him, and them, from countermanding and wrecking that scientific understanding at every second turn.
Kristy Swanson is Dr. Shannon Muir, she's still hot and she's still not a bad actress. Here she oversees the accidental creation of the Black Hole and the birthing of the monster (equal parts Energy Beast from Forbidden Planet and "Video Man" from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends). She punctuates the graviton action by saying some really silly things such as asking a man being sucked into the singularity just why he's "going the wrong way"! Luckily, though the beast is hungry for electricity and human lives, the Black Hole itself just sits there and waits for the Plot to keep going. Yeah. Shannon's solution is to call her constantly drunk erstwhile boyfriend, Dr. Eric Bryce (Judd Nelson still pretty cool even in this) to allow him to throw his spiky head around and make cracks.
The thing is, he makes intelligent and logical observations here, such as "Not even light can escape it!". Then, director Tibor Takács shows the CGI Black Hole, perfectly well lit and not doing much real sucking (in the literal and non-insulting sense, that is).
I'd like to point out how polite this Black Hole really is, and thank it for being so nice. In this world of disasters, B-Ho. takes its time to really turn on the gravity well and start to suck St. Louis into nothingness, allowing citizens to evacuate, traffic copters to detail its progress and slow-poke General Ryker (David Selby) to mobilize a crack team of commandoes to... well, fight it and the monster it spawned. I wonder if they cast Selby, who looks disturbingly like Ralph Nader, in this role to remind us that a Black Hole is "unsafe at any speed". If so, I'm buying a Corvair just for spite.
Of course, there's a social commentary and a semi-biting military satire here, just like in The Day After Tomorrow. You've got to also throw in that little love sub-plot and the potential loss of an only child by a divorced dad. Disaster movies... heh. But all of this seems relatively ham-handed and plodding, even considering the suspention-of-disbelief demand that the film makers throw at the audience. Yes, this is intended to be a Sci-Fi Disaster B-Movie like many of the classic films that you probably wouldn't any more question than you would the logic behind the big-ass ants of THEM. However, some how this film, though filled with piss and vinegar, fails to cut the mustard, in spite of its quality, underrated cast.
The special effects here are pretty passable and utilized well, especially considering the $3,500,000 budget. That said, there are still some blemishes in the effects that roll us right back into B-Movie territory. Nothing, not even the premise, is quite as B-List as the finale, which is predictible, but is also incredibly contrived. Even General Ryker describes the plan as "convenient", making me wonder if that was actually Selby breaking character or if writer Ellen Fine left that in accidentally.
But here's the thing. The Black Hole just isn't offensive. It's not a great, or even good movie, but it's a decent enough time passer that won't leave you wishing you hadn't watched it. Yeah, it's laughable in many parts and it just doesn't make the grade in every other place. On the other hand, you won't be reaching for a suicide razor by mid-point either. Enjoy Judd. Enjoy Kristy (though never nude... this is TV). Put the brain on pause. Putting this another way, imagine you've got annoying relatives visiting. Maybe annoying relatives who aren't all that S-M-A-R-T and you're just about to go all OUTLAW on your inlaws. Flip around cable, and see if this is on. If so, it won't be miserable for you, and it's the proverbial shiny object that your fishy guests can latch on to for a good hour and a half.
Remember The Breakfast Club? Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Remember St. Elmo's Fire? Remember Higher Learning? Hell, remember From the Hip and The Phantom even? Let's get Kristy and Judd back on the big screen, before their careers get sucked into The Black Hole. Speaking of which The Black Hole gets Two Stars out of Five! It could be better, it could be worse. As for moi... I'm heading for the Next Reel... which is spinning and sucking me in... ah, no big deal. It looks like it's taking its time. Polite, considerate, friendly gravitational singularity. You're so good to us!
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