THE BLACK HOLE (1979)
It is the year 2130 A.D. An Earth exploratory ship, the USS
Palomino, discovers a black hole with a lost ship, the USS Cygnus,
just outside its event horizon. The lost ship is generating an
artificial gravity field, keeping it safe from the terrible forces of
the black hole. Upon boarding the vessel, the crew of the Palomino
learn that the Cygnus is under the command of the brilliant but
fanatically-driven Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Maximillian Schell). The crew
begins to suspect that things aboard the Cygnus are not right, and
begin to unravel a terrifying mystery about the ship and the plans
Reinhardt has for her.
There are at least 3 robots who are major characters. V.I.N.CENT (voiced by Roddy McDowell) is part of the crew of the Palomino. There is also B.O.B. (voiced by Slim Pickens) who is a similar, but older design to Vincent. And then there is Reinhardt's personal assistant and apparent enforcer, the sinister and utterly silent Maximilian. There are also some lesser robotic presences, but I don't want to give away any spoilers here.
Reasons for Submission
I'm not going to say The Black Hole is top-notch cinema. It's not. It has a 5.9 rating on IMDB, and while I think that's a little harsh, I wouldn't put the film above 6.5/10. So, why even suggest it? Because the film has a wonderfully surreal quality due to a very uneven vision of what the film is supposed to be.
This was the first film Disney made that wasn't "G"-rated all audiences fare, and it shows. There are very traditional elements of Disney film-making in the script, with some dialogues and visuals that are downright cornball. There are also elements of the film that are very dark and scary, to the point that they would have been more at home in a film like Event Horizon than a Disney film. It's as if the screenwriters decided that throwing parts from an "R"-rated film and parts from a "G"-rated film would balance out into a good "PG" film.
Likewise, the visual effects exhibit the same extremes. There are some truly breathtaking effects (for the era) in The Black Hole, and there are some incredibly cheesy ones, too.
And then there's the ending, which I (obviously) won't reveal here, but plunges into the deeply philosophical and unexpected.
To make a long story short (too late, I know), it's not a great film, but I've found it makes for some very interesting viewing all the same.