Directed by: Jon Amiel
Written by:Cooper Layne, John Rogers
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo, Tcheky Karyo, Alfre Woodard, DJ Qualls, Bruce Greenwood
Released: June 12, 2003
Grade: C

Pardon the pun, but this disaster movie really is a disaster.  The fad began in 1996 when Twister “swept” through cinemas.  Since then, we’ve managed to survive through Daylight, Independence Day, Dante’s Peak, Volcano, Hard Rain, Deep Impact and Armageddon.  Most thought the genre had been exhausted but Paramount Pictures believed there was still a window of opportunity and gambled another $85m on the success of The Core.

Their investment has turned to dust in this horribly misguided motion picture.  A secret government agency has been working on a weapon which can plough into the Earth’s crust and generate seismic activity.  Unfortunately, their testing has had a nasty effect on the Earth’s core – it has stopped spinning.  Within months, the resulting cosmic radiation will cook the Earth and all its inhabitants.

The plan is to have a specially designed craft tunnel deep into the Earth’s core and then detonate a truckload of nuclear weapons to “jumpstart the planet”.  As expected, a varying crew has been assembled for this mission to save the world.  We have Ed Brazzleton (Lindo) who has designed the tunnelling craft.  We have astronauts Robert Iverson (Greenwood) and Rebecca Childs (Swank) who will pilot the vehicle.  And, we have experts Josh Keyes (Eckhart), Conrad Zimsky (Tucci) and Serge Leveque (Karyo) who are experts in the field and can offer the best advice to aid the mission’s success.

You need a degree in nuclear physics to understand much of the dialogue.  The crew keep coming up with amazing ideas but it beats me what they are and on what basis they are expected to work.  What I do know, is that it’s the most far-fetched piece of garbage seen on a screen this year.  As I’ve said many a time on this matter, these films will only create the intended thrills and suspense if the storyline is plausible.

I also disapprove of the film’s length.  For a poorly edited production, 135 minutes is too long to hold anyone’s attention.  There’s a heavy reliance on special effects but even they look second-rate.  In its planning stages, The Core must have looked an attractive proposition given the high profile cast it attracted.  I can only assume that subsequent script changes have been a major factor in the film’s demise.  It brings a tear to the eye to watch great independent actors like Aaron Eckhart and Stanley Tucci utter lines that belong in a trashy soap opera.

One could forgive me for wishing a natural disaster to befall the producers who gave the initial green light on The Core.  Complete disappointment without exception.