The Core
3 out of 5 stars
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Like one of those world-ending 1970s blockbusters (think Earthquake, The Swarm, Meteor), this entertaining big-budget thriller threatens humanity with extinction and leaves us in the capable hands of an increasingly diminishing group of heroes. When strange things start happening at major landmarks around the world (pacemakers fail in Boston, pigeons go mad in Trafalgar Square, cataclysmic electrical storm rages above the Coliseum, blistering solar microwaves head for the Golden Gate Bridge), the scruffy but handsome university professor (Eckhart) is recruited by a US government officer (Jenkins) to find out what's up. He and an old Euro-colleague (Karyo) figure out that the earth's core has stopped spinning and needs to be jump-started. So a couple of Space Shuttle pilots (the feisty and brilliant Swank and the zen-like Greenwood), join with a mad inventor (Lindo) and a pompous scientist (Tucci) for a voyage to the centre of the world.

Yes, it's utterly ludicrous ... but it knows it (unlike Armageddon), and continually reminds us that we shouldn't ask questions because there are no answers. Like 1970s disaster movies, there's a whiff of romance, a sense of people getting what's coming to them (with a dose of redemption), and of course a series of mishaps that makes sure that nothing goes smoothly. Amiel directs it with a sure hand, making every scene count and hinting at lots of subtext even if he doesn't go very far with it. The effects are a bit cheesy, but still very effective. The script has enough wit and intelligence to keep us gripped--and even laughing intentionally now and then. Even the scientific explanations are vaguely plausible, within the general unbelievability of it all. The characters are well enough defined that we can identify with them; and the cast play them with terrific little twists and jabs of personality. Tucci is especially good fun. Overall, the film never generates any real suspense, but it remains exciting and entertaining from start to finish. Well worth the trip.

cert 15 themes, language, suspense 27.Feb.03

dir Jon Amiel
scr Cooper Layne, John Rogers
with Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Bruce Greenwood, Stanley Tucci, Tcheky Karyo, Richard Jenkins, Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, DJ Qualls, Rekha Sharma, Gregory Bennett, Terry O'Quinn
release US/UK 28.Mar.03
03/US 2h15

Love in the rocks. Eckhart and Swank toy with romance while saving the planet from imminent destruction...

eckhart swank greenwood
tucci woodard karyo
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send your review to Shadows... earth has a deadline "I have wanted to see this since the first ads - it looked cool, has some great one-liners, etc. It dawned on me about halfway through that, yup, the earth would be saved, cuz how else would it end? Okay, maybe I am kinda slow sometimes - but once I realized that, I started trying to guess who would survive, and who was not gonna make it - cuz you know not everyone is gonna make it - this is a hero-type movie, and someone has gotta die saving the planet. But that being said, if you liked Armageddon, you will no doubt like this. It is one of those disaster-type movies - the earth needs saving, and heroes step in, doing what heroes do. It is a fun ride and I would say worth seeing." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 2.Apr.03
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall