The Core is a delightfully relaxing B movie featuring an A-list cast, solid special effects, and one hell of a story. We will be following a group of scientists as they drill their way to the center of the Earth. Why are they doing it, well, the Earth’s core has stopped rotating and they have to restart again. Basic IT stuff translated to geology some would say. Despite this cheesy and over-the-top premise, this is an oddly satisfying experience. It feels refreshing to be boring into the crust of a planet instead of flying through its stratosphere. So, no more tacky rockets or spaceships, we’re jumping aboard a huge drilling vehicle that looks quite imposing.
And what’s best about this whole thing, is they’re playing their roles straight all the way. Everybody took this project very seriously, starting with the familiar cast. Aaron Eckhart was great as the lead along with Hilary Swank and Delroy Lindo. They’ve shown what it means to be an actor and kept a straight face despite the bizarre nature of their mission. And its utter scientific implausibility. Of course, if you’re talking about a journey to the center of the Earth, you must mention Jules Verne’s 1864 novel of the same name. I remember being totally immersed in it as a kid and setting off on an adventure to read all of Verne’s novels.
Over the years, the novel has been adapted many times. The most recent one is the 2008 movie Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser. Featuring a running time of more than two hours and solid pacing, The Core is a fun and unique disaster movie. I dare you to name me one other modern movie in which people drill their way to the abyss. I can only remember a flawed but intriguing Russian science fiction movie Superdeep. And perhaps the 2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire as it features some drilling scenes. Who could forget that cute and weird mole with glasses, I am right?
A series of strange events have left scientists and doctors puzzled. These events seem to be affecting not just humans but also animals and plants. And they’re devastating. However, a team of scientists soon discovers that this is all happening because the Earth’s core has stopped rotating. To fix this problem they will have to step inside a giant vessel designed to pierce the very ground we’re standing on. It must reach the Earth’s core before it’s too late a set off a series of nuclear explosions. And so the journey begins.
I also want to say that the budget for The Core was a whopping $85 million so this isn’t some shitty C movie. The special effects stood the test of time and still look believable for the most part. When you’re making a disaster movie, it’s incredibly important to create that sense of all-encompassing danger. To show the huge scale of events as the viewer has to feel that he’s a part of something important, something much bigger than himself. And The Core does exactly that using the nineties science fiction masterpiece Contact as a template. It does take a while to get going so just be patient and things will get better in the second half.
I know I’ve said before that there are no movies like The Core but there’s one, Deep Core released in 2000 that’s eerily similar. It even features a similar method of drilling, so do check it out if you’re into this sort of thing. Moving on, the world we’re about to see is unlike anything we’re used to seeing in other movies. And the sense of claustrophobia is very real throughout the movie, only matched by the sense of adventure. We’re truly going somewhere where no man has been before and that’s what makes The Core a movie worth watching.
Director: Jon Amiel
Writers: Cooper Layne, John Rogers
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Bruce Greenwood, Richard Jenkins, Tchéky Karyo
Fun Facts: During the flight simulator scene Aaron Eckhart got really sick and threw up all over Hillary Swonk’s head. They did their best to clean them up but apparently a little piece of vomit can be seen in the scene afterward.