movie film review | chris tookey


Paramount Pictures, Photo by Rob McEwen - all rights reserved
  Core Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
4.87 /10
Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank , Bruce Greenwood
Full Cast >

Directed by: Jon Amiel
Written by: Cooper Layne, John Rogers

Released: 2003
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 0

Problems within the Earth mean that we are all doomed, unless....
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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The Core is a big, dumb disaster movie aimed at anyone who found Armageddon too deep. Aaron Eckhart - who's Ben Affleck with a bigger dimple - has already played one unconvincing academic in the little-seen Possession. Here, he plays another - a scruffy geophysicist who teams up with a cute space shuttle navigator (Hilary Swank) and a few expendable subsidiary characters, in order to (don't stop me if you've heard this before) Save The Planet.

As is so often the case, natural disasters are endangering various photogenic parts of the world. In Rome, a colossal storm reduces the Colosseum to rubble. Plummeting pigeons combine with Ken Livingstone's road improvements to create havoc in Trafalgar Square. In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Club collapses like, er, a collapsible scale-model of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As long as the film is concerned only with wrecking things, it's fairly entertaining. But when it's constructing a storyline or trying to create interesting characters it turns into a disaster area itself.

At least with Armageddon you could easily envisage the effects of massive blocks of rock crashing down on earth. But it takes at least a smattering of geophysics to understand the problems we might face if the earth's inner core were to stop rotating. According to this movie, we'd all die within a year, unless someone could penetrate to the earth's core and blow it up.

Frankly, I'm not at all sure if nuking the centre of the earth is a sensible option; but it's a Hollywood convention that the best way to deal with any crisis is to blow things up. The same principle seems to underlie American foreign policy, which may or may not be a coincidence.

It's another Hollywood convention that the members of any rescue mission will die in strict order of star power. This rule is adhered to with such fidelity in The Core, that there is little or no suspense. I couldn't help feeling that the movie might have been a whole lot more entertaining if it had been a straightforward remake of Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth or even the primitive British special effects flick At The Earth's Core.

The supposedly "original" screenplay seems to have been written by a computer programme; and the special effects - which begin impressively - start looking like a cheesy arcade game when the rescue crew penetrates the earth's crust. The whole thing becomes, all too literally, deeply boring.

It's another disappointment from director Jon Amiel, who began his career with enormous promise (his debut was the charming Queen of Hearts, one of my all-time favourites). Over the years, he has been corrupted into becoming just another Hollywood hack. The Core is billed as "a Jon Amiel Movie" but there is as little of Mr Amiel in it as there was in his last piece of disposable rubbish, Entrapment.

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