THE CORE
(***)-LARRY EVANS
"ÖCore is one of those goofy films that we saw a lot in the 70ís"

Dumb Fun at the Earth's Core

(040403) Some movies are dumb and unenjoyable, some movies are smart and stupefying dull, itís nice to see a movie that is gloriously stupid and fun as hell. The Coreís basic idea is that the Earthís core has stopped spinning and because of that weíre all going to die. It never really explains how (we get this vague explanation about the governmentís earthquake making machine but unless it was used without any one knowing about it that canít be the reason) and the way we get the thing spinning is years away from construction but we have fun while weíre watching it.
 
Core begins with three exceptional special effects sequences involving people keeling over from heart attacks in the middle of the street, birds going insane and dive bombing into glass windows and a space shuttle flying over Dodger Stadium before landing in the Los Angeles river (seen in the opening of the TV series Boomtown). Crack scientist (and the man who was almost cast as Batman in Year One) Aaron Eckhart and Patriotís Tcheky Karyo are consulted then dismissed but Eckhart has a clue of whatís happening and investigates further. After presenting his findings to the Carl Sagan-like Stanley Tucci he is brought in to solve the problem (where he demonstrates what is happening to us by deep frying a peach), which leads us to eccentric scientist Delroy Lindo. Along the way they pick up shuttle pilots Bruce (underground in two films in a row with this and Below) Greenwood and Hilary Swank as well as D.J. Qualls (a computer geek who must keep the world uninformed about whatís really happening).
 
Lindo was a friend of Tucciís at one point and he has been working out in the middle of the desert on a few things that will allow a team to journey down to the center of the Earth to restart the core with a nuclear explosion. One of the things is the ship (called Virgil), another a laser powerful enough to cut through anything and the other is called unobtainium, the material used to allow the ship to not become a huge hot pocket. After being given a big check to create the ship the team begins to work towards their journey.
After a huge electrical storm (one of many hitting us) that destroys Rome the team is told to get ready and the cool thing here is that we donít get the usual Ďthe ship and itís crew arenít readyí speech, they just load up and go.
 
We know from jump street everyoneís not going to make it (hell, the ship is designed to separate into small coffin like compartments just so we can get rid of some of them) and the filmmakers donít pretend otherwise. Every death is noble and agonizing on the survivors but inspires them to go on. We also get the big revelation that the government has created a device that creates earthquakes that must be used after the explosives expert (Karyo) dies. Using the machine might start the core but might kill the crew and we get this vague explanation that it may have started the stoppage in the first place but not how since we get the idea it hadnít been used yet.
 
The crew inside the ship has a good time with the lines they are given, none more than Tucci who hams it up incredibly. The constant drilling (and the stop inside a pocket of Krypton like crystals that has then walking around outside the ship as if they were going to the corner store) through the Earth combined with the destruction of the West Coast looks wonderful.
 
Core is one of those goofy films that we saw a lot in the 70ís. Mass destruction (man would Sensurround have worked well here) on a global scale, subtle hints of romance, major actors in minor roles (why is Alfre Woodard here?) and stultifying dialogue delivered without a hint of disgust, this film has it all. The film isnít doing great at the box office but Iíll bet the DVD sells and rents a ton when it comes out.
 

Directed by:    Jon Amiel
Written by:    Screenplay by Cooper Layne, John Rogers
Starring:    Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo
Released:    03/28/03
Length:    118 minutes
Rating:    Rated PG-13 for sci-fi life/death situations and brief strong language.

THE CORE © 2003 Paramount Pictures
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