23 September 2003 | dfranzen70
Core has chewy center, cheesy surface
Hollywood's gone to the outer reaches of our galaxy (not to mention others), it's plumbed the depths of the ocean, mapped dank swamps and arid deserts, but one place it hasn't gone to with any sort of regularity is the inner core itself.
The Core is certainly one of those movies for which one must suspend disbelief. It's a science-fiction movie that emphasizes fiction over all; that is, the physics of the film don't hold up to snuff. If you're an engineer or physicist, you should be smart enough not to watch it - you'll just spend most of your time second-guessing the inane psuedoscience.
It seems the inner core of the Earth has stopped spinning, for some reason, and this has caused the electromagnetic field that surrounds and protects the planet to begin to decompose. This is evidenced by, among other things, pigeons in Tralfagar Square in London suddenly veering at plate-glass windows and sundry people who wish they were extras in a less-violent movie, like Daddy Daycare or maybe Finding Nemo. At any rate, the world's leading scientists, commissioned by the military (it wouldn't be a Save the Planet from Imminent Destruction without our pals in the movie military), figure out that the core's stopped rotating, and that Something Must Be Done to get it going again.
Ah, but what? We've only drilled down about 8 miles, and according to my calculations the distance from the surface to the core is .... a bit further. We must drill down, sayeth the sage scientists, and lo and behold, through the magic of movies, there's this guy in the desert who's been working on a laser rocket thingy that'll help them blast all the way down. This handy little thing is just the cure, so a crew is hastily assembled: Commander Iverson (Bruce Greenwood), Major Beck Childs (Hilary Swank), Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart), Dr. Serge Leveque (Tcheky Karyo), Dr. Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci), and Dr. Ed Brazzelton.
Like such doomsday movies as Armageddon, what The Core has going for it are likeable characters and a lot of nifty FX. It also has the unknown working for it; we don't know what lies beneath the thin crust of the Earth, because we haven't drilled beyond it. That allows filmmakers a lot of free reign to depict whatever the heck they want in terms of What's Down There.
What The Core has going against it, however, is a predictable plot and some howlingly awful dialog. Now, it's not giving anything away to mention that at least one person doesn't make it back from this mission. It's also not giving anything away to note that there's at least one knockdown, drag-out hissy fit of a scene in which Keyes admonishes Childs for something she didn't do. It's hysterical to watch, although I suspect the emotion the director was attempting to convey was more like empathy, not euphoria. Or ennui, which is unfortunately how some of the movie felt.
The Core is cheesy. No, not the actual inner core - although, come to think of it, maybe it is, since we don't know for sure what it's made of. And wouldn't that be fitting? A cheesy core for a cheesy film made by cheesy people in a cheesy society? Who's up for some Muenster?