The Core

"Weak"

The Core Review


The Core is Armageddon inside the Earth. If you've caught the trailer, spotted the revealing poster, or even overheard a total stranger briefly mentioning the plot in mixed company, then you've figured this much already. What's most distressing is that The Core is Armageddon without a heart to dangle from its sleeves. Michael Bay's bombastic endeavor may have choked itself on chest-heaving male bonding and fist-pumping patriotism, but at least it gave a damn. Here, we're going through the motions.

When the core of our planet stops spinning on its axis - a reason is given, though it makes little sense - a motley crew of hastily-trained scientists must accompany two astronauts (Bruce Greenwood, Hilary Swank) to the Earth's center so they can jump-start our globe using nuclear weapons.

Casually brilliant college professor Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart), a geophysicist who specializes in electromagnetic science, earns his spot aboard the rescue mission by discovering this environmental plight. He brings his findings to smug but respected Dr. Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci), who in turn recruits the intellectually gifted but reclusive Dr. Edward Brazleton (Delroy Lindo). Brazleton has designed a prototype ship crafted from astonishingly strong materials that can tunnel through rock. Tcheky Karyo tags along as Eckhart's pal, while Road Trip's DJ Qualls plays a techie teenager whose only responsibility is to attract the 18-24 demographic.

Even after a five-month delay to shore up some key CGI moments, The Core only gets half of its formulas correct. For a science-fiction yarn, it skims over the science and pours on the fiction. And as a special effects extravaganza, its effects just aren't very special. World cities, or tiny models made to resemble them, crumble under the weight of high-level static discharges and scorching hot microwave rays. If anything, the eye candy is consistently amateurish in a charmingly retro sort of way.

No one's winning any awards for Core, though Eckhart deserves credit for his cavalier approach to the clichéd material. He's the only actor who remembers to have some fun. Inevitable love interest Swank is unable to connect with him, which speaks more to her lack of chemistry than his lack of effort. The rest of the cast are caricatures that exist to be eliminated whenever Core wants to unsuccessfully tug the heartstrings instead of ineffectively jolting our seats.

Obviously, audiences aren't looking to The Core for mentally stimulating cinema. This is escapism, but even the sweetest, high-calorie treats should avoid obvious missteps. Five minutes into the film, 32 people in a ten block radius simultaneous drop dead because they have pacemakers. Thirty-two? And they all had pacemakers? In a ten block radius? That's just silly.

But one scene stands apart from the rest for being just too absurd. It isn't the controversial space shuttle crash landing, which still sends chills, even though it looks terrible. Nor is it the torching of San Francisco, which zips by quite rapidly and cheats on the after-effects. No, it's a global summit, during which representatives from all the nations of the world agree to keep this mission under wraps, so as not to panic the general public. In light of our current political situations, having seen the amount of hoops our own country has to go through to launch a military campaign, this scene really seemed far-fetched. In a movie overflowing with laughable scenarios, that one takes the cake.

The DVD adds a commentary track from director Jon Amiel, and it sounds like he's falling asleep as well (and questions why you might be watching the film and/or listening to his commentary). About 15 minutes of deleted scenes are curious, taking the film in a slightly different direction, though not a terribly better one.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun. Er, earth.



The Core

Facts and Figures

Run time: 135 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th March 2003

Box Office USA: $31.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $74.2M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, David Foster Productions, Horsepower Films, Core Productions, LivePlanet, Munich Film Partners New Century & Company (MFP) Core Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 63 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. Josh Keyes, as Maj. Rebecca Childs, as Dr. Ed 'Braz' Brazzleton, as Dr. Conrad Zimsky, as Serge, as Theodore Donald 'Rat' Finch, as Gen. Thomas Purcell, as Cmdr. Robert Iverson, as Dave Perry, Ray Galletti as Paul, as Lynne, Rekha Sharma as Danni, Tom Scholte as Acker, as FBI Agent, as FBI Agent, as Stickley

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