When I scanned through the specs for The Black Hole, there were more than a few proper nouns that caught my eye:
Lead actors Judd Nelson and Kristy Swanson? Now that's a new one.
Director Tibor Takacs?? The guy who directed The Gate and I, Madman?? Cool.
From Nu Image, the production company that brought me Raging Sharks, Mansquito, and Crocodile 2: Death Swamp??
The flick premiered as a "Sci-Fi Channel Original"?? Well that's just the icing on the cake. I had visions of B-movie wonderment you simply cannot imagine.
And then I watched the thing.
The plot is this: A bunch of scientists in St. Louis are messing around quantum spacial anomaly experiments or some such particle accelerator nonsense -- when all of a sudden out pops a murderous flying beastie made entirely out of electricity. A little while later, a very small black hole starts forming in the middle of St. Louis, sucking everything from Busch Stadium to the Gateway Arch into oblivion.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the background, Doctor Judd Nelson and Doctor Kristy Swanson do a lot of yelling and explaining to various unimpressed military guys that, hey, throwing a nuclear weapon at a creature made entirely of electricity ... won't really do all that much. Plus, look, there's a black hole across the street.
It's all very pat and formulaic and TV-movie-ish. For all its nonsensical sci-fi blather, The Black Hole has very little story to tell and only 90 meandering minutes to spell it out. Of course the military will insist on bombing the problems away, and of course the noble Doctor Judd (who, by the way, is sporting a really bizarrely puffy hairdo) will be the only guy who knows how to stop Electro-Alien and The Stadium Sucker.
Most of the CGI is pretty sketchy, there's a completely superfluous "estranged family" subplot tossed in just to help pad the running time, and heck -- the flick features soldiers who attack an Electro-Beast using machine guns. It's that kind of movie. And yes, there's a romantic side to the Judd/Kristy pairing.
The two leads have the chemistry that only comes between two old-school has-beens who are just biding their time until their own Kiefer-like comeback. Let's just say Mr. Nelson and Ms. Swanson have done better work in the past, and hopefully will in the future. Because The Black Hole is a quick-fix paycheck all the way. Simple, mindless, silly sci-fi hoo-hah, but, y'know, not entirely unwatchable.
Video: The widescreen (1.85:1) transfer is actually kinda solid. I know, I was pretty surprised myself.
Audio: Your choice of DTS or DD 5.1. Pretty slick audio presentation for such a dinky little flick.
Extras: The only extra is the 17-minute Exploring The Black Hole, which goes behind the scenes with director Tibor Takacs, producer Ken Badish, editor Ellen Fine, and composer John Dickson.
Most of the Sci-Fi Channel movies are overwhelmingly stupid and really extra-pulpy. The Black Hole earns points for a clever concept and some actual restraint, but the end product is still pretty goofy all the same. And I don't just mean Judd Nelson's wacky haircut.