Director: Charles Crichton
Starring: Brian Blessed, Ed Bishop, Janna Dunham, Don Fellows, Martin Lev, Katharine Levy, Nick Tate
More info: IMDb
Plot: The spaceship Altares, with a photon drive capable of accelerating it to the speed of light, leaves an Earth-orbiting space station. The Altares crew, two families of scientific specialists, journey at light speed with time-dilation to Alpha Centauri, where they launch several satellites to transmit information on the Centauri star system back to Earth and guide future manned vessels in exploring the region. The crew decides to proceed further into unknown space, and the Altares becomes caught in the gravitational field of a black hole, through which the Altares passes and is thrust into another universe!
My rating: 6.5/10
Will I watch it again? Noop.
Now here's something rather interesting. This was the intended pilot for a series created by Gerry "SPACE: 1999" Anderson that was commissioned by NBC here in the States as an episode of NBC SPECIAL TREAT. Confused? Go to the WIKI page for all the details. It's an interesting read.
I knew none of this going into it. All I knew is that it was something Gerry Anderson made in between the two seasons of SPACE: 1999, it's outer space sci-fi and it's only 52 minutes. Not a bad film (it was the only episode made). The acting is just fine. The wiki info eludes to a large number of fans displeased with the young boy's performance (Martin Lev). I thought he was teriffic. It was refreshing seeing a child as a mature, science-minded person. The female child (Katharine Levy) was, too, but she showed more emotion. I haven't a single problem with either of them and welcomed the boy's take on the whole thing. Oh, and it was neat seeing Brian Blessed in a restrained performance.
The special effects were just fine considering what this was. The music, however, by Derek Wadsworth was not. It was very out of place and I couldn't get used it. I thought it was rather strange that, shortly after the crew unanimously agreed to continue past the "point of no return", they were suddenly ecstatic about going back to Earth after all. The only thing I could figure is they almost died by being in the vicinity of a super nova and that scared them shitless and made them realize they don't want the dangers of untraveled space after all. Beats me but it was far too sudden and without an explanation.
I liked that they went through the black hole and the effects used to simulate what would happen. It's all horseshit but they spent what seemed like several minutes going through it and I appreciated the effort. That aspect of their ordeal isn't too unlike the one Disney ripped off from them a few years later with THE BLACK HOLE (1979). It did hold my interest, though, and if they had continued this into a series, I would certainly give it a shot. The wiki page also mentions a longer 80 minute cut that existed but was erased by the BBC in the 90s. I'm sure that would have answered some of the minor beefs I have with this...but I'll never know.