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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.67%
Worth A Look: 9.17%
Average: 20.83%
Pretty Bad: 18.33%
Total Crap40%

7 reviews, 78 user ratings

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Core, The
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by Erik Childress

"Who Says 'Deep Impact' & 'Armageddon' Are Garbage?"
1 stars

I was once told a story about Brian DePalma’s Raising Cain. Back in 1992 a screening of the film was held for critics. Press notes were handed out and a publicist was in attendance as always. Incessant laughter clouded the screening; the kind of unintentional howling that usually spells disaster. Someone got in touch with DePalma and at the next critic’s screening, the press notes were changed to reflect Raising Cain as a comedy. That was just a small little thriller. Someone better be working overtime on that press book for The Core because Earth isn’t the only endangered thing with a deadline.

Movies like The Core must be aware that it sets itself up for snickering from the intelligencia that fancies their brain above such fluff. Even the best of the disaster-themed flicks come equipped with stock characters, cliched dialogue and inane improbilities. But most of them can still be fun. The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno and even something as dumb as Twister have moments of giddy insanity; designed to do exactly what it sets out to do. Provide an adventure, destroy stuff really well and excite the hell out of us. The Core doesn’t even know where to begin to fulfill those requirements.

Describing the plot is relatively simple or embarrassingly complex depending on which terms you view the film. Earth is about to die and its up to a group of “terranauts” to travel to the center of the planet like Pat Boone and detonate several nuclear devices to save it. I could go into the logistics of why the core is going haywire and what the consequences are for your amusement. But its actually funnier to hear it first hand from college professor Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) and then watch a room full of government officials gasp when he demonstrates with a piece of fruit, an aerosol can and fire.

Once you get through the usual “gathering the team/mission preparation” stuff for the first hour, the film reveals its true purpose to be one of the most phallic films ever made. I thought Armageddon had that distinction, but after seeing the craft designed for this mission, you’ll come to the realization that you’ll have no chance to ever satisfy your date. Not since James Cameron designed the “breast ship” for Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars has there been a vessel in more need of underwear. The ship even has folds.

The only thing I could grasp while witnessing this excursion was that it was all metaphorical. My theory is that The Core is actually a crude representation on what it takes to save a failing relationship. Stay with me here. A relationship has many layers like an onion or the Earth. One of those layers has stopped spinning creating all sorts of friction like a kiniption fit that can destroy cities. What it takes is a long, solid shaft to penetrate into the vagina of the planet (which opens and closes up very neatly) and provide the spark it needs to get it spinning again. That’s what they were going for. Wasn’t it?

I have no hesitation in revelling in the pleasure of mocking garbage like Extreme Ops or Swimfan, but The Core actually gave me pauses in my laughter as the sadness of its entire inception began to take its toll. Much like being either a dog person or a cat person, one either favors Armageddon or Deep Impact. OK, some favor neither, but if you had to choose, etc… I have always favored the latter for providing both the excitement and for having its heart in the right place of the characters forced into the saving the Earth or just trying to survive it. Armageddon started off great and miraculously fizzled once the action got to the rock. Both had great casts full of moviestars and wonderful character actors. The Core is like watching the understudies for those two films desperately trying to pull it together after losing all copies of the script and their director.

It’s impossible for me to blame the actors on this one. I don’t want to use the words “embarrassing” or “slumming” as I can clearly understand the merit of signing onto this project. Eckhart going for leading man status in a big-budget disaster epic. Hilary Swank believing she’s playing a smart, yet leadership impaired young woman who is told she doesn’t have what it takes to make the tough decision. (After this speech, she proceeds to make a tough decision three times.) Delroy Lindo gets to look goofy as the self-sacrificing designer. Tcheky Karyo and Bruce Greenwood are just happy to be invited. Stanley Tucci hamming it up as the pompous, nefarious genius who gets to have his Dr. Smith/Lost In Space moment late in the film and getting the penultimate line to sum up everyone’s involvement – “what the fuck am I doing?” But I don’t blame them.

I’m not even going to second-guess the science associated in the plot. I hated science in school and for all I know every literal word interpreted in The Core could be NASA-researched and I would be none the wiser. What I will point ten fingers at is how a film like this can chug along for 135 long minutes and not provide a single piece of excitement. Nary a sequence or moment can compare with the crew of the Star Trek Enterprise bouncing from left to right on cue when a photon hit.

Even the body count that’s part of the enjoyment of movie disasters either ranks as impassive computer blips or unneeded hilarity. Maybe there are only so many landmarks left to destroy in the movies so it was time that the Roman Coliseum and that damn Golden Gate Bridge got their comuppance for still standing. Doesn’t the idea of the government hiring a computer hacker (D.J. Qualls) to keep all this end-of-the-world info from the public a moot point once Rome and San Francisco are in flames?

One character is dispatched so nonchalantly with a granite-sized piece of magma that we wondered when he actually left the cockship in the first place. Another casualty will rank amongst the all-time guffaw inducers as the victim get trapped in one part of the ship awaiting to be crushed to death, while the audience watches this poor guy literally get furniture pushed closer and closer to him by the crew off-screen while he looks frightened. The Core likely sets the record for the most times a character elects to bravely sacrifice themselves so another can leave the room. One late scene has a missile fall on one guy’s leg. The other tries to help and is told to get out. Then the missile rolls off onto HIS leg and he tells the other guy to get out. Try that trick in the theater and see how many of your friends will take the hit and stay behind so you can leave and see a real movie.

Fire. Water. Air. Earth. Whatever. Everyone is so out of their element with The Core that not even Milla Jovovich could save it. Disaster movies can be a lot of things. Fun, violent, action-packed and even silly. Never should the word “boring” come into the equation. It’s a good-looking, only occasionally cheap-looking production with a horrendous score by Christopher Young so we have to look at the writers and director for responsibility. Perhaps when director Jon Amiel was handed the assignment with the impression that he was to make an adventure film right into the ground or to create a disaster, a less literal interpretation was needed.

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originally posted: 03/28/03 11:22:11
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User Comments

12/17/18 Ajp wales Feels like a 60s sci fi with better fx and seen it all before script. 2 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell dull good effects though 1 stars
1/22/16 David H. A disaster movie that is a total disaster. 2 stars
7/09/10 Peety Bad acting, Bad CGI, Shitty plot, poop 2 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
6/07/08 Yessy This Movie Was absolutely terrible, magnets reflecting light? COME ON 1 stars
4/24/07 David Risser Definately not the best of Hilary Swank 2 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Rip off of armageddon which was shite anyway 1 stars
11/30/06 Stanley Thai Nothing else but a good pop corn flick. Enjoyable. 3 stars
11/07/06 David Pollastrini pretty dull 1 stars
5/19/06 drydock54321 do they have to kill them all (most of them that is) 4 stars
4/18/06 the laughing man It has great sci - fi elements, and character development. Beautiful visuals. 4 stars
3/12/06 Chris Wilbik The usual earth destruction movie but not too bad. 4 stars
2/11/06 sweetgrrl1972 It's based on terrible, nay ridiculous science, but I can't look away! Oddly compelling. 4 stars
12/11/05 est jay mon gabriel m. corpuz awesomes 5 stars
11/09/05 Furquan ITz all gud but the story is kind of Wack 4 stars
9/01/05 ES Unbelievable technology hurts planet, so more unbelievable technology is invented to fix it 2 stars
8/17/05 leah it was a kick ass movie 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Cheesy fun. Needs gratuitious sex. 3 stars
6/15/05 Quigley what a piece of cinema crap! the unearthers took a lot to dig THIS up! 1 stars
5/19/05 Cindy Sheeks This movie was so awful. I even KNEW it would be awful and it still surprised me with it's 1 stars
5/08/05 Steve Newman Even my 12 yr old walked out of this one - avoid!! 2 stars
4/27/05 John the movie works better than any sleeping pill 1 stars
2/05/05 Jeff Anderson Better than expected! The cast gives 100% & the special effects are outstanding. A BLAST!!! 5 stars
10/19/04 Micheal Walter this movie sucked 1 stars
10/18/04 Naka D. Lindo gives a wonderful preformance, but its the only highlight. 2 stars
10/07/04 Valerie Great movie, worth a look for sure! 4 stars
8/13/04 Donna I think it's brilliant i watch it allt he time 5 stars
8/08/04 Bruce Mellesmoen Is it possible to create a new category "0-STARS ~ AKA The Core Score" 1 stars
8/07/04 G-man totally awesome 5 stars
8/03/04 alice MAN THIS MOVIE SUCKED 1 stars
7/19/04 assassin_chick Great idea, but this could have been done SOOOO much better. 2 stars
6/14/04 Kimastov amazing 5 stars
6/02/04 sean Too average for comments 3 stars
5/31/04 Anubis lord a good idea but kinda predictable 4 stars
5/01/04 mincemeat journey to the center of lamesville 1 stars
3/27/04 Gretchen mediocre at best, a total waste of money 1 stars
3/25/04 Erica Thornton So boring, the actors fell asleep 1 stars
3/21/04 Linda Ellis Didn't care for this, it was predictable and boring. 2 stars
3/18/04 Maria I really liked this was a sitting on the edge of your chair kind of show. 5 stars
3/17/04 Alfred Guy Should have been called, The COREny. 2 stars
3/13/04 Greg Politically correct piece of crap. 1 stars
3/12/04 Phyllis Yawn! Very skimpy plot with lame action. 2 stars
2/16/04 the gourd Darkofknight, you're not exactly up to normal intelligence levels are you? Short bus.... 1 stars
2/13/04 Jack Bourbon What a silly piece of crap. Not even amusing B-trash. 1 stars
2/11/04 Jingo P. I've seen better special effects on a Wendy's commercial. SNORE. 2 stars
12/16/03 Dan A very funny movie... so ridiculous, so self-important. Watch it and mock it. 2 stars
12/09/03 john liberal is just fine - it's this movie that sucks! 1 stars
12/04/03 twodogs Liberal/hollyweed trash 1 stars
11/27/03 John it's so bad it's insulting 1 stars
11/14/03 Sylvie Alice Borden Exciting romp, even is much of the "science" is garbage. 4 stars
11/08/03 Ryan The Bore - takes implausibility to new levels 2 stars
10/06/03 Darryl Boring and silly with cardboard characters. And predictable (very few surprises). 2 stars
9/27/03 JJ It's farfetched but entertaining. And watch out for those birds! 3 stars
9/26/03 Jiz Too bad the DVD didn't stop rotating too. Fucking awful shitfest of a movie. 1 stars
6/27/03 Jackie COOL 5 stars
6/22/03 John Bale Son of Jules Verne brother to Armaggedon, and stillborn. Tucci's humour fails to save. 2 stars
6/21/03 alien assassin Not as bad as it could have been !!!! 3 stars
6/13/03 Jerry It really rocks!! 5 stars
6/12/03 Sylvie Alice Borden Exciting romp, even is much of the "science" is garbage. 4 stars
5/11/03 Collin Compared To This Jason X Looks Like A Contender For Best Picture AtThe Oscars 1 stars
4/27/03 Paul Hackett-Evans Great fun! I loved "The Core". See it five times - I did! Can't wait for the DVD!!! 5 stars
4/20/03 George Jung What.............the..............fuck!?!?!?!?! 1 stars
4/17/03 Jack Bourbon For having gazillions of tons of pressure, the interior of the Earth sure has lots of space 1 stars
4/14/03 palaboy101 The movie had a disturbing scene where the pigeons fly aimlessly to their death. Ok film. 3 stars
4/06/03 Cadillac Kid the dumbest fucking movie i have seen in a loooong time! 1 stars
4/05/03 Bloody Vixen Um...the only reason i didn't walk out of the cinema is because of the Rat. 3 stars
4/03/03 Chris Look when you haven't seen a diaster film, since The Perfect Storm, this seems great! 4 stars
4/02/03 Uncle Salty GARBAGE FROM START TO FINISH. Should have been called "The Bore" I'd rather watch sand. 1 stars
4/02/03 Vince fuck this shit. 1 stars
4/01/03 bob mckenzie good lord, disney's journey to the center of the earth was better, made 20 years ago! 1 stars
3/31/03 Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine I kind of liked the ten story spinning dildo. 1 stars
3/31/03 Spiderfan729 Couldn't be any better! 5 stars
3/31/03 sfghghfghg Fantastic!!! 5 stars
3/30/03 HE great 5 stars
3/30/03 Joe What A Piece Of Crap 1 stars
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  28-Mar-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Dec-2004



Directed by
  Jon Amiel

Written by
  Sean Bailey
  Cooper Layne
  John Rogers

  Aaron Eckhart
  Hilary Swank
  Delroy Lindo
  Stanley Tucci
  Bruce Greenwwod
  DJ Qualls

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