You’d think that a serious film dealing with the potential end of the world wouldn’t bring on fits of uncontrollable laughter. Yet that’s exactly what The Core offers, albeit unintentionally. With a plot as predictable as the tides, as clichéd as a poem that compares a rose with love and as inspiring as a ten-year-old public service announcement, The Core, directed by John Amiel, is little more than a handful of disposable heroes in a can in their attempt to save the planet.
The earth’s core has come to a halt. In a few months the electromagnetic spectrum that guards the planet from deadly sun rays will disintegrate and we’ll all be cooked inside a massive microwave. So goes the dilemma in The Core, the latest disaster flick to take mankind to the brink of destruction a la Armageddon and Deep Impact. A team of misfit scientists set a course for Earth’s core to give it a nuclear kick start.
Because the plot revolves around some very scientific theories and terminology, a great deal of the film is spent in explanation mode. Whether there’s some fact in Rome getting ripped apart from a massive electrical storm or if it’s just a bunch of hooey, the story makes sense and that’s not an easy task when you bring a bunch of scientists together. But because the many set ups are vital to make the movie seem plausible, it is the follow-through action that is often sacrificed. With so much exposition, the end of the world isn’t as exciting or scary as I thought it might be.
The action that does come into play is filled with models that are supposed to represent large sets but they still look like models. Back in the ’70s this was acceptable. Today, anything that reminds you that you’re looking at a special effect no longer cuts it. Computer effects also play a large part of the spectacle but they’re far from spectacular. Like the models, many of the computer graphics look like something out of a video game and not part of a story I’m meant to become involved in.
I’m don’t normally pay a lot of attention to a film’s musical score, normally because they seem to feel nature. Yet, there’s something about The Core‘s that screams straight-to-video B-action flick. With a much publicized budget that is rumored to have approached $100 million, you’d think they could scrape together a few extra bucks for something that sets the mood with a little more inspiration.
Even with all these problems, The Core is an escape that is easily consumable. Occasional moments of genuine tension do pop up. One involves a storm of confused birds falling from the sky to the terror of the crowds below. Sure, even this scene is somewhat overdone but it’s got some vital personality that is missing in much of the rest of the film.
History shows that man has been paranoid about his own demise since death was first experienced. That is unlikely to change anytime soon and as long as there’s an appetite for it you can be sure Hollywood is going to be there exploiting it in all its computer-generated glory. Even if the results continue to stink.
The Core Gallery