The Black Hole

The Black Hole (2006)
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Cast: Kristy Swanson, Judd Nelson, David Selby
Extras: Featurette

The Sci-Fi Channel is certainly not known for producing high quality programming, and their latest original production to make its way to DVD is a perfect example. "The Black Hole" has nothing to do with the 1979 Disney film of the same name, which is probably good for Disney. This telefilm is about as routine as they come, with the same, tired characters and recycled end-of-the-world premise we've seen countless times before. Veteran TV director Tibor Takacs, whose previous credits include "Earth: Final Conflict" and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," has nothing new to add to this genre and seems quite content with re-tagging and re-selling the tricks that everyone else has sold in the past.

During a bizarre experiment at a scientific research lab, two men are obliterated by an invisible force that destroys everything in its path. Research assistant Shannon Muir (Kristy Swanson, aka the original "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") enlists the help of her dismissed, alcoholic partner, Eric Bryce (Judd Nelson, former nostril-flaring brat packer) to determine what they have discovered. It turns out they have captured a black hole (?) from which an invisible creature of some sort has emerged (???) and is now heading out to destroy the world.

Yes, it's as ludicrous as it sounds. Between interjections of, "isn't that the guy from…?," viewers will be stumped by how colossally stupid this movie is and even more so at how seriously it takes itself. To say that the characters are under-developed would be a gross understatement, as we never for a second empathize with them or care what happens to them. Kristy Swanson sleepwalks through her role, eliciting about as much excitement as a tree stump. Judd Nelson is better, but that's not saying much. Unfortunately, both are forced to spend the entire movie spouting faux scientific babble that will make no sense to those who do not understand the science behind black holes and will incite unintentional laughter from those who do.

Available from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, "The Black Hole" is presented in what is close to a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image. The overall quality is less than stellar, exhibiting some considerable grain. The image is usually soft, almost blurred in some places, and in general is quite murky. Black levels are not as strong as they could be, even though the picture is dark. I highly doubt that the film looked much better on TV.

Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that, while by no means impressive, is adequate for this type of program. The surround is taken good advantage of. Sound effects come through clearly. Dialogue is a little muffled and nearly drowned out altogether in the more explosive scenes. There is also a stereo track that is basically the same, as well as a 5.1 DTS track. In short, don't expect much.

A 17-minute featurette entitled "Exploring the Black Hole" is included, featuring interviews with director Takacs and other crew members. Like the movie, it's standard fluff.

"The Black Hole" is destined to float around in D-list DVD limbo where it belongs. If you must see it, wait for its next airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. In the meantime, save your money for something more worthwhile.