Principal Cast : Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Tcheky Karyo, Alfre Woodard, Bruce Greenwood, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, DJ Qualls, Delroy Lindo.
Synopsis: The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.
The Core is the film you’d get if the director watched Michael Bay’s Armageddon and decided an into-the-Earth’s-core narrative would benefit from a similar storytelling aesthetic. Jingoistic humour, slick production design and an avalanche of jnk-science, mixed with some of 2003’s worst big-budget visual effects (the film had a production budget of just under $90m, and it doesn’t look it), and a terrific cast of Oscar-caliber actors all mix it up with some of the worst disaster film cliches around to give us a hell of a fun sci-fi romp that succeeds in spite of itself. If you can say the phrase “great cheesy mindless fun” then The Core is the film for you.
After a scientist discovers the Earth’s core as stopped spinning, causing problems with our planet’s magnetic field, the US Government sends a team of other scientists and a couple of NASA Space Shuttle pilots into the very center of the world in a beyond-belief rocket guided by laser beams and carrying a payload of “kickstart the world” nuclear warheads. If that sounds insane, it’s because it is, but under the steady hand of director John Amiel, this reverse-Armageddon film works a charm because of how silly it all is, and how well the top-tier cast all play with the stupidity here. The likes of Hilary Swank, Tcheky Karyo, Bruce Greenwood and Richard Jenkins ply their best straight-faced performances alongside a suave Stanley Tucci and Aaron Eckhart’s all-American hero role as they descend into the Earth with some of the most implausible and technically improbable scientific reasoning and capabilities ever put to the screen. Amiel’s directorial ability is easily on-par with the likes of late 90’s Roland Emmerich, although the film’s clumsy visual effects, most of which are textureless vacuums of poor compositing and Playstation 1 level animation, threaten to overwhelm what is an otherwise flashy, highly produced affair.
Despite its many, many flaws, The Core is still a bunch of dumb fun, as this really watchable cast all chew scenery and deliver nonsensical dialogue as if their lives depend on it. Inside the film, that’s true. I laughed and cheered throughout this nonsense, right down to the swelling superimposed credits flying by the camera at the end like misaligned asteroids, and can recommend this film simply for the inane, popcorn-munching fun to be had within. Brain off, sound up, and enjoy.