The Core (2003)

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Directed by Jon Amiel


I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this in the theatres. There was something fishy about the trailers — there were two distinct trailers: one which played on the whole “journey to the core of the earth” fiasco; and one which was much more interesting, touting the whole “government weapon conspiracy which wrecked the world” angle. I was more partial to the second one, and there wasn’t really much of this in the film. It was mostly about putting together enough duct tape logic to get a machine that could travel inside the Earth. Unfortunately, the film played a little rough and tumble with the science, using it only when it suited them, and sweeping it under the carpet in other circumstances, hoping no one would notice.


Case in point: they go through great lengths to explain how this gadget will destroy all rock and metal which gets in its way, then come up with a fantastic new element which resists this laser drilling mechanism. Later, they find out that this drill can’t get through diamonds (or for that matter, amethysts). Why not just build a ship out of diamonds? We can mass produce these now — why not just take the existing science a step further.


Case number two: this miracle metal, “unobtainium”, has the fantastic capability to absorb heat and convert it into energy (somehow … I presume they mean electricity). So later, while swimming in 9000 degree molten nickel, they use a blowtorch (!) to solder copper cables to it. There’s obviously two things wrong here. #1, shouldn’t this guy get electrocuted by standing so close to the bulkhead? #2, how could a blowtorch make the bulkhead hot enough to take the solder? This thing is holding back 9000 degree metal on the outside. Every calorie of heat from the blowtorch would be converted into “energy”. I won’t even go into the whole idea that heat IS ENERGY! This drove me nuts every time they mentioned it.


There’s dozens of these bad science examples running throughout the film. But really, I don’t care what kind of science you use, as long as you at least keep it consistent throughout.


What was even funnier about this film was the fact that they took the greatest minds in the world of geophysics, and simply dropped them into the molten mantle of the planet. Why would you do this? I’m surprised none of them dies during training… what if they were all to die instantly? Wouldn’t it be a better idea since they had a RADIO UPLINK TO THE SURFACE to have some Navy/Air Force/Space pilots drive the vessel?


As much as I hate to say it, I liked Armageddon better than this film. And I absolutely hated Armageddon. But at least it had a little star power, a little campy humour, and some personality to the characters (and you got to see Bruce Willis die). No offense to Aaron Eckhart (who plays Dr. Josh Keyes), but seriously — your best friend gets trash compacted by a green space cadet, and you’re crying your eyes out. You don’t come back 10 minutes later with a big goofy grin on your face.


The film ends with not one, but two (count ’em, two) clichés. First is the classic “will they find the heroes?” trick, where someone who didn’t get enough lines earlier gets to yell “I know where they are!”; Second is the less common “I’ll hack into the system one last time to get the truth out to the world”.


I want desperately to go out and see a good film. I want to wash The Core off.