[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope: The Core

A dumb, but enjoyable adventure

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

March 29, 2003 -- “The Core” is a science fiction film that is almost all fiction and no science, but it doesn't take itself seriously, so why should the audience? This film is to geology what “The Mummy” was to archeology. The basic story is that the earth's core has stopped spinning, and if it can't be restarted, the earth's protective electromagnetic shield will collapse and the human race will be wiped out by solar radiation and cosmic rays. A small band of “terranauts” rides a prototype earth probe to the earth's molten iron core in an attempt to use nuclear bombs to get the core spinning again. Is that wacky or what?

Obviously, as you can tell from the above plot line, this film is not serious. The science in the story is ludicrous, but if you are willing to suspend your disbelief, it is an enjoyable ride. There are some very good actors in the film who create some interesting characters. Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank (of “Insomnia”) plays Maj. Rebecca 'Beck' Childs, one of the pilots of the experimental tunneling machine. One of the opening scenes of the film shows her as an astronaut trying to land a space shuttle in Los Angeles after fluxuations in the earth's magnetic field throw the shuttle off course.

Aaron Eckhart of “Possession” plays geophysicist whiz Josh Keyes, the one who discovers that the earth's core has stopped spinning. Then there is Dr. Edward Brazleton, the brilliant mad scientist ranting in the desert, who has cooked up the technology to enable to crew to get to the earth's core, played by Delroy Lindo of “Heist.” Then there is the semi-sinister Dr. Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci of “Maid in Manhattan”), a leading geophyisicist with something to hide. Tucci, a fine actor, chews up the scenery now and then, and seems to be having fun doing it. The best proof that this film does not take itself seriously can be found in Tucci's final scene. Some of the minor characters are also good, including Rat (DJ Qualls of “Road Trip”), a premiere hacker employed by the government to keep the whole non-spinning earth's core thing a secret by hacking the Internet. Another minor character is Stick, the project director, played by the very capable Alfre Woodard (“K-PAX”).

While the characters are good, the real star of the show is the visual effects crew. The effects created by a team led by visual effects supervisor Gregory L. McMurry (“Con Air”), includes the destruction of the Colliseum in Rome, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco and lots of neat subterranean effects, including a kind of giant geode. Some of these scenes, including the shuttle landing sequence, are really spectacular. This is one of the those films, like “Independence Day,” and “Deep Impact” that some people are not going to like, but more than that, they'll hate the fact that other people enjoy it. Awwwww, too bad for them. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2003 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
    [Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)