The Core

Released: March 28, 2003
Budget: $85 million
US Box Office: $31 million
Global Box Office: $74 million

Director: Jon Amiel
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, DJ Qualls, Richard Jenkins, Tchéky Karyo

Synopsis: When the earth's core stops spinning, the only way to save the world is to dig down and start it back up with a couple of nukes
Best Quote: "Hang on, this isn't going to be subtle"

Review: 3 stars

Question: What does a respected actress do to pass the time in between winning two Oscars?

Answer: Star in a corny disaster movie as an overachieving navigator bent on fixing the earth's core to save life as we know it.

Jon Amiel's The Core stars the overqualified Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart as the leaders of a ragtag group of astronauts, professors, geeks, and scientists charged with burrowing to the center of the earth to detonate a few nukes and restore the planet's electromagnetic field. A true disaster on paper, Amiel's film somehow maintains its charm and holds its own as a solid action flick. The key lies in an ensemble with all the proper ingredients. You've got the young hot shot, the arrogant genius, the renegade scientist, the rail-thin hacker, the asshole general, and the blue-eyed, all-American hunk as the film's anchor. By not putting too much weight on any one character, the film's screenplay stays lighthearted and fun.

That's not to say The Core isn't without its problems. The 135 minute runtime is completely unnecessary considering the material, the dialogue is pretty terrible throughout, and the special effects are a mixed bag. There is no shortage of CG eye candy, but you never really believe that you are actually watching a ship flying around in the center of a planet. The effects back on earth's surface consist of the standard destruction of historic monuments and general chaos. The one scene of disaster that really stuck with me is when a few thousand pigeons in Trafalgar Square decide to go crazy and start running into shit. It's legitimately freaky and a good example of how low-budget effects can trump the big stuff when a good idea comes along.

To sum things up, The Core hits a lot more than it misses by sticking to tried and true disaster movie fundamentals. The situation is dire, the characters are heroic, and the movie is good, clean fun.