The Core (2003)
Bad to the Core
You want me to hack the planet? He wants me to hack the planet... Ok, *if* I decide to do this, I'll need an unlimited supply of Xena tapes and Hotpockets. - Finch
As the years have gone by the disaster movie has grown bigger and more ludicrous. Gone are the days where a disaster movie would be about a burning sky scraper or a sinking ship and now we are into the realms of world destruction, more often than not an environmental issue brought on by are own bad ways. "The Core" is a prime example of one of these new disaster movies and sadly an example of how to do it wrong. The story may focus around an issue with the Earth's core stalling but in effect it is a generic modern disaster movie with stereotypical scenes of danger and a bunch of generic characters. That itself isn't the worst of things as the special effects are not exactly brilliant, the dialogue is dodgy and borders on being laughable because it's all so flipping ludicrous. But there is something about "The Core" which makes you watch even though it's so bad, in fact as well as bordering on the laughable it borders on being a guilty pleasure.
When 32 people suddenly drop dead at the same time and birds start to behave strangely, falling out of the sky, something strange seems to be happening. Called in to help the U.S. Government to work out what is happening college lecturer Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart - No Reservations) believes that the EM shield around the Earth is disintegrating caused by the Earth's core which he thinks has stopped moving. Along with a group of scientists and astronauts, Keyes mans a mission to drill down to the Earth's core and plant a large nuclear bomb to kick start the core moving again and save the world from total destruction.
One of my biggest issues is that the storyline to "The Core" is just outrageously stupid. Via a series of unexplained occurrences from birds dropping like stones and acting strangely through to people with pace makers dropping dead a college professor comes up with the theory that the earth's core has stopped moving. That in itself wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact to save the world this professor and a plucky group will drill down and basically jump start the core with a few million nuclear bombs. It is not just utterly outrageous but simply silly and completely laughable making me wonder whether "The Core" was originally meant to be a disaster spoof until someone thought they could turn it into a serious disaster movie.
Beyond the preposterous idea it basically follows a modern disaster movie formula. We get introduced to the varied bunch of people who will man the mission through a series of establishing scenes and the bunch expectedly consists of everything from scientists and astronauts through to the unlikely hero the college lecturer. And after that as the mission starts and they begin drilling to the centre of the earth we get the series of close shaves, mishaps, arguments between the team and a couple of deaths as well. It wouldn't be wrong to say that strip away the idea of drilling to the core and "The Core" really is a play it by number movie without a single new angle when it comes to the story.
This basically means that "The Core" ends up about the action and effects. Well the special effects are really not that special and at times seriously dodgy once more making me wonder whether "The Core" was intended as a spoof disaster movie. Watching the Coliseum blow up or birds falling from the skies and acting strangely in London just don't really deliver the wow factor neither dose the journey to the Earth's core. And to be honest the actual action sequences are not that much better and fail to fill you with adrenalin. Even the "exciting" climax just doesn't really excite.
And I suppose it's no surprise when I say that the performances from the various stars are as generic as everything else about "The Core". None of the actors are helped by some text book corny dialogue and as such Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci and Tchéky Karyo all seem to be going for over the top and cliche in their various roles. The only semi decent, or should that be intentionally amusing performance, comes from DJ Qualls as Finch the computer hacker who is asked to manipulate the internet. It's a daft character with a scene featuring him using a chewing gum wrapper to hack a mobile phone being completely absurd but it is funny.
The thing is that all of this makes "The Core" a bad movie, it's corny, cliche, generic, stereotypical and I could go on. But there is something about all of this badness which somehow keeps you glued and entertained. Maybe it's a case of waiting for the next moment of stupidity or dodgy dialogue but "The Core" is a movie which borders on being a guilty pleasure, you know you shouldn't enjoy it but somehow you do.
What this all boils down to is that there is much which is wrong with "The Core" and from a critical view point it is one of the worst and most cliche disaster movies I have watched. But despite being bad there is something strangely entertaining about it causing you to keep watching despite it being ludicrous and corny.
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