Geophysicists will have a magnetic field day critiquing The Core, which throws scientific credibility out the window during its journey to the center of the earth. But those of us who can't tell the difference between, say, igneous and sedimentary rock ' i.e., the American movie-going public ' may get a kick out of this ecological disaster flick, since it doesn't take itself any more seriously than we take it. The end of the world? Bring it on, baby.
For reasons that won't become clear until halfway through the movie, the earth's inner core has stopped rotating. This, as you might expect, is a bad thing, especially because it means the planet's electromagnetic field is deteriorating. Ozone, schmozone ' the electromagnetic field is our planetary sunscreen (who knew?), protecting us from killer rays. But what if we sent a team of world-class scientists "down there" to set off a nuclear device? Wouldn't that get the ball rolling again?
Dressed like a perpetual grad student, Aaron Eckhart is Josh Keyes, a geophysicist with a slight Indiana Jones air about him. Joining Eckhart on this fantastic voyage through Mother Nature are Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, Tcheky Karyo and Bruce Greenwood ' fine actors all, not that any of them are asked to actually act. Tucci's the scene-stealer, playing a famous scientist who likes to open conversations by saying, "Do you know who I am?" He's so smug, in fact, that you can't wait to see him float off on a mushroom cloud.
Deep Impact, Armageddon and now The Core ' why is going nuclear always the answer when the earth gets its bowels in an uproar? The Core may just have wanted to go out with a bang, since that's what it came in with. First, people's watches stop. Then a select subset of the population keels over dead, Ã la the Rapture. Then a scene right out of The Birds occurs in London's Trafalgar Square. Then the space shuttle has to navigate a landing through Los Angeles.
Later, both the Roman Colosseum and the Golden Gate Bridge say bye-bye, and the movie starts to seem like an al-Qaida wet dream. Director Jon Amiel, heretofore known for such fair-to-middling thrillers as Copycat and Entrapment, apparently hasn't heard the word "restraint." The movie's plot consists of various obstacles being put in the way of our intrepid heroes, who bust through them like...well, like a certain subterranean ship that burrows a path through 2000 miles of terra firma.
That would be the Virgil. Like The Core itself, the ship looks both expensive and thrown together, but junkiness is part of the movie's charm. At a time when the nightly news is trying to get a grip on the reality of war, truly special effects are the last thing we need.