Thursday, December 17, 2009

View From the Phlipside - Black Hole Sequel

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

Over the years I've watched a LOT of movies. A couple handfuls of really great ones, dozens and dozens or outstanding ones, hundreds of OK ones, a few dozen bad ones and just a couple AWFUL movies. I'm usually pretty good at spotting the real stinkers before I waste my time and money on them. But not always. The good news is that the really putrid films will die a quick death and never be seen again. But not always.

Now let me make one thing clear. A movie can be bad and still be good. The transcendent qualities of certain old horror movies are impressive. At the very top of this list traditionally is the Ed Wood directed classic "Plan 9 from Outer Space". In a lot of ways it's not really any better or worse than a handful of other contenders but it is gloriously, wonderfully awful. I'm not talking about those kinds of bad movies.

I'm talking "Ishtar", a move so bad that when the rental video tape I was watching broke I never bothered to get another copy of the movie to finish. There have been a few others so bad that I refused to finish them. At the top of my list however is the first Disney film ever to get something other than a "G" rating, 1979's "The Black Hole". I should have known. By '79 any movie with Ernest Borgnine in it was pretty much a lock to be schlock. But I love science fiction. I very nearly walked out and demanded a refund. That's how bad this movie is. Awful acting, awful production and awful pseudo-science.

So naturally it's just been announced that they are making a sequel. It's being made by the same people who are producing next year's sequel to 1982's vastly superior sci fi flick "Tron". The movie, curiously also from Disney, is head and shoulders above "The Black Hole". When you add in the chance to use the latest computer techniques this sequel looks great. Even the early trailer looks great. "Tron-Legacy" is set to hit the theaters a year from now. But where does that leave us with the sequel to "The Black Hole"? I'm encouraged to note that the creative team is already talking about putting more science into the new movie. The original was the most expensive movie Disney had ever made to that point so hopefully they'll make a proper financial commitment to this one. And apparently the very nasty robot Maximilian will also return. So I'll keep hoping this will be the rare occasion where a sequel is better than the original. Of course that's not that hard in this case. I really don't want any more movies on my Awful list.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

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