a critiQal film review The Core (2003)

Plot: The Earth's core has stopped it's rotation. Now it's up to a team of scientists to journey to the center of the earth in an experimental digging machine to restart the earth's core and save humanity from certain death.

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  • ...far superior to other "planet-killer" movies like Armageddon or Deep Impact

I don’t know about you, but I’m always a little worried about going to spring films. Usually, coming out at this time means they aren’t good enough to be a summer movie. That means, most of the time, they suck. With all the hype surrounding The Core (and considering the last two “planet killer” movies, Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), were both summer films), I wondered if the same would be true for this film.

It seemed good in the previews, but I can’t count the amount of bad films I’ve seen that had good trailers (The Transporter (2002) pops immediately to mind). So, with a little trepidation, I checked it out.

The characters were all decently portrayed, although they tended to be kept quite simple. Anger, fright and relief…that’s pretty much all they needed for The Core, and the actors all lived up to that. Eckart and Swank, the possible romance elements of the film, pretty much took up most of the screen time, and did a decent job. Lindo and Tucci, both great actors at times, were both a bit under-used, while Karyo just seemed to be along for the ride.

The plot had a simple premise (Earth’s core rotation has stopped, they need to restart it), and it was filled in with a lot of detail. The introduction to the problem was well done, with some great eye-catching scenes involving birds and suddenly dying people. They tried to rush through the slow parts, so the trip to the Earth’s core (a days-long process) was greatly condensed, which was a great decision.

The ending was the only part of The Core that seemed to lack a little bit. After the rush of most of the scenes in the film, the ending starts slowing down a bit, and actually almost seems thrown together as an afterthought.

The special effects are very well done, especially showing the effects the stopped rotation causes to the planet, including the huge lighting storms, the birds dropping from the sky, and the sudden deaths of 32 people in a 10-mile radius. The interior of the “ship” was also very well done, and gave the viewer an excellent sense of being with them throughout their amazing journey.

With it’s decent, if simple, characters, it’s great twists and turns, and some truly impressive special effects that should be seen on the big screen for the full effect, The Core is definitely worth checking out.

Comparing it to Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), while inevitable, is useless. It’s far superior to either.

Go see it in the theater, grab some of that expensive popcorn, and you’ll have a good time.

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