Many people are concerned about "The Earth". I use the quotation marks because when they say "Earth", they're not actually talking about Earth, the planet. They mean the thin biosphere on the surface of Earth, where all life we know of is located. They worry about how global warming affects "The Earth", for example, and will tell you all about how humanity is endangering "The Earth".
What I'm saying is that sometimes these people get a little confused with humanity's ability to have an effect on Earth's biosphere and on the Earth itself. And sometimes these people make movies.
THE CORE was directed by Jon Amiel (COPYCAT) and written by Cooper Layne and John Rogers. And before I say anymore I want to, in the spirit of full disclosure, state that I had a bit of an attitude going in to this movie. The trailer implied a great many obvious science mistakes in this attempt at science fiction so I was practicing my eye roll during the previews.
That being said, the opening was pretty cool. There was no heavy exposition or lame narration. Instead we see a business meeting that goes badly wrong when the man giving the presentation drops dead for no apparent reason. Screams and crashes from outside make everyone run to the window and see that this same cruel fate has befallen a random assortment of people on the street. This all happens on "Green World Day". What is going on?
The military investigates, calling in geomagnetics expert Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart: SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) and weapons expert Sergei Leveque (Tcheky Karyo: KISS OF THE DRAGON, GOLDEN EYE), two old friends. Josh correctly guesses why so many people dropped dead so suddenly and the military, in the person of General Thomas Purcell (Richard Jenkins: WOLF), thanks him and sends him back to the University of Chicago.
Other odd events, including a very Hitchcockian (is that a word?) bird incident and a crash landing of the space shuttle Endeavor in downtown Los Angeles lead Josh to a devastating conclusion: the Earths magnetic field is collapsing and will soon vanish, resulting in the death of every living thing on Earth. Normally I'd respond to such an outlandish statement with a SCIENCE MOMENT, but wait. There's more.
Josh tries to get the government to pay attention to his theories by approaching famous scientist (and Carl Sagan wannabe) Dr. Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci: MONKEY SHINES). Zimsky makes a few calls and General Purcell is back in the picture. Josh explains that the world will end in one year because Earth's inner core has stopped spinning, thus causing Earth's magnetic field to collapse. Without the magnetic field to protect us from cosmic rays and solar microwaves (yes, I know, but there's still more), the Earth will be cooked like a hot pocket.
Just when it looks like all is lost the well connected Zimsky mentions that a former colleague of his (Delroy Lindo: THE LAST CASTLE, ROMEO MUST DIE, RANSOM) happens to have just the technology required to drill through the Earth all the way to the core, which would allow the placement of big nukes which would knock that darn core back into action.
Man, that is all I can take. We gotta have a
1. If there really were solar microwaves being held off by the Earth's magnetic field, why didn't they cook the Apollo astronauts when they ventured beyond the field's coverage? Why isn't Mars being cooked, since it hasn't got much of a field? The answer is that the sun doesn't produce much in the way of microwaves and that what it does produce isn't stopped by our magnetic field anyway. A magnetic field can only affect the paths of charged particles like protons and electrons. It has no effect at all on electromagnetic radiation like microwaves or visible light or ultraviolet light. It's our atmosphere not our magnetic field that filters out the harmful parts of the sun's radiative output.
Continued at SCIENCE MOMENT 2003/THE CORE
THE CORE also gets an
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT!!!:
For the rest of this alert, read the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT/The Core. But Beware! Thar Be SPOILERS there!
The pilot and co-pilot of the drillship are the taken from the crew of the crash-landed space shuttle for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Co-pilot Major Rebecca Childs (Hilary Swank: THE GIFT, INSOMNIA) seems destined to lead a mission of her own someday, or have I said too much?
There are plenty of nice touches. The drillship, which has to withstand the incredible pressures and temperatures of the inner Earth, is made of "unobtanium", an old engineer's joke used whenever a project requires impossibly strong building materials. And a super hacker named Rat, hired to scan the internet for any mention of their project and then erase it, is well played by DJ Qualls (CHERRY FALLS). They also discover some pretty cool and semi-believable things on their journey downward.
At the same time there are lots of little annoyances, like the military commander of the mission basing a decision on "majority rules". They court martial you for things like that. And I want there to be a new rule: Only one heroic sacrifice per movie. Maybe two but any more than that and it just gets ridiculous.
And of course the ultimate cause turns out to be a standard-issue Evil Government Conspiracy (thats not a spoiler its in the trailer) because of a weapons system we had to build before "our enemies" did. The United States has no shortage of enemies but none of them come within a century of our technology, so who was going to build this very high tech weapon before us is an unanswered question. Screenwriters simply dont know whom to use as bad guys since the cold war ended.
If I add up all the points listed here, pro and con, the net result is a movie that could have been better with a little bit of editing and a little bit of fairly easy research. But I have to add some extra credit for the fact that the filmmakers clearly love science even though they dont understand it. I give THE CORE two shriek girls.
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