Saturday 28 November 2015

Film: The Core (2003)

This is one disaster movie that I missed when it first came around. It begins with various mysterious events connected with electromagnetic disturbances. It is eventually realised that these events are all connected to one occurrence: the Earth's core has stopped rotating, so the electromagnetic shield which protects our planet from most of the solar radiation is dissipating. Before long, this will lead to the end of life on Earth.

Not to worry, we just visit the core and kick-start the thing. Cue a solitary scientist and inventor who just happens to have devised a machine with a laser cutting device which can drill its own tunnel through rock at high speed, and who also happens to have developed an almost indestructible material capable of resisting the enormous pressure and heat close to the core. He dubs the substance "unobtainium", although "impossibilium" would have been closer. So five intrepid explorers set off in his machine on a trip to the core, armed with a handful of 200 megaton fusion bombs to persuade the planet to behave.

It is fair to say that accepting this scenario involves a truly heroic suspension of disbelief, and most of us won't make it. It is almost as bad as swallowing the Mayan "end-of-the-world predictions" in 2012. However, having said that, in other respects the film isn't as bad as it might have been. The rest of this review contains some spoilers.


So what's good about the film? Thankfully, there are no broken marriages to be repaired, or cute, screaming children who need to be rescued (we see a photo of one of the characters' family, which is bearable); the characters basically get on with the job rather than wasting time emoting; the obligatory attractive female on the crew (Hilary Swank) is the very tough and capable pilot; the hero (Aaron Eckhart) is a charismatic college science teacher (imagine that!); there are some grim tragedies as the team members are killed one by one but, despite this, the mood is lightened by frequent flashes of humour in the reasonably adult dialogue; and at the end of the film the male and female survivors do not form a romantic liaison but plan to return to their previous jobs. Which all makes a pleasant change from Hollywood routine.

I gather that The Core had mixed reviews and turned out to be a commercial flop, which is no great surprise. However, it is not bad entertainment as long as you can swallow the initial impossibilities; the acting is fine, with Swank and Eckhart in particular carrying off their roles well enough. Not an entirely wasted couple of hours.


Fred said...


Thanks for the review. It appears to be another one I can safely ignore, unless I'm completely desperate for something to watch.

Anthony G Williams said...

I can't argue with that, Fred!