The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.
The Core is the "low-budget" answer to Armageddon, meaning it was made on less than half the cost but desires to be its equal in delivering thrills and big buckets of popcorn fun. Now, whether or not you liked Armageddon is a good determinant of whether or not you should even bother watching The Core in the first place. I myself haven't seen that Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer production in a while, and memory serves that it was an unbelievably preposterous, but enjoyable thrill ride that had a great sense of humor. How does The Core compare?
Well, if I hadn't seen Armageddon, I might have liked this film more, which is not to say that it's a weaker movie, just that the disaster formula plays out in much the same way so there's a sense of deja vu hanging over the proceedings. There are a lot of people out there who hated Armageddon, perhaps for its absurd science or for its quick-cut action sequences, so for those who didn't like the latter, The Core would be more up their alley, though the science here is even sillier.
The premise is the anti-Deep Impact/Armageddon. A group of expert individuals have to go to the center of the Earth to jumpstart the core, which has stopped spinning for some unknown reason. Heading this mission is professor Josh Keys (Aaron Eckhart), who's leading a six-man team, with a woman playing a key role, of course, as the pilot, played by Hilary Swank. Recognizable faces Delroy Lindo, Tcheky Karyo, Stanely Tucci, and Bruce Greenwood round out the rest of this very expendable team.
Already, we realize the plot is fundamentally impossible. The only people who wouldn't recognize this are those still in grade school, so they'll probably get a kick out of the movie while thinking they're getting some kind of education out of this because of all the scientific mumbo-jumbo and technobabble. More discriminatory viewers will scoff at all the sudden new inventions that aid our intrepid group of heroes, particularly the hull Delroy Lindo devises that's actually strengthened by heat. For me, scientific flaws are acceptable so long as it's not so blatantly obvious, but this movie's stretching my suspension of disbelief.
But those who don't care for any scientific inaccuracies will wonder, is the action any good? The answer's a mixed bag. Almost all the action is entirely CGI-related, so the question of whether or not you find it exciting to see an "earthcraft" (named Virgil) get banged around quite a few times is crucial to your enjoyment. The action aboveground is all given away in the trailers, and none of it's particularly exciting, thanks to the weak special effects. The space shuttle crash, the destruction of the Roman Colosseum and the Golden Gate bridge are not examples of CGI-work at its best, to put it kindly. A 60 million dollar budget isn't quite enough to pull a movie of this sort off, and it sometimes shows.
Surprisingly enough, the scenes set below ground do somewhat make up for the slack. A crisis is introduced every five to ten minutes to keep the characters working, so what we get is a briskly paced and often enjoyable second half. The effects work is still spotty, but I found the characters relatively engaging, the situations fairly compelling, and the Mcgyverish-solutions amusing. Still marring this outing on a consistent basis, however, are the film's predictability, the occasionally really bad dialogue, the lack of solid intentional humor, and the stilted finale. The Core is not an unenjoyable timewaster, but it's not exactly a great night at the movies, either.
- Apr 18, 2003