Thursday, 12 August 2010

No.51 : The Core



Some people will tell you the ‘The Core’ is a lot of far fetched hokum, but I checked it out and it never actually claimed to be a documentary. It’s one of those films that always seem to be on and no matter were you stumble in to it you always hang about to the end. At least until the black guy does his noble sacrifice at any rate.

Anyway the world is in danger. People with pacemakers are falling over and pigeons are going mental in Trafalgar Square. The cause is unknown but dashing boffin Aaron Eckhart has an idea about the electro magnetic field breaking down. He consults with celebrity big head scientist Stanley Tucci who agrees that things look grim. They talk to the dad out of ‘Six Feet Under’ who has been promoted to head of the army and they set about saving the day.

They meet up with a black guy in the desert and effectively steal all his stuff. The plan is to journey to the planet’s core, to kick start the lava and save the day. They enlist Hilary Swank’s unfeasibly young and beautiful NASA pilot and a couple of other guys who are so destined to be cannon fodder that they may as well have been wearing red shirts.

After a couple of big surface disasters, the kind that dominate the trailer, the mission is on. They dive into the sea in their tunnelling machine and are soon travelling through special effects that are markedly poorer than those of ‘Inner Space', which is at least a decade older. As you’d expect there are bumps along the way, the kind that demand the crew get out and stretch their legs and allow for a noble sacrifice or two, no three - four!

I’ve seen ‘The Core’ five times easy and I’m always seduced by its cheesy charms. It’s light weight fun and despite more techno babble than a year of ‘Star Trek’ they still manage to make the implausible totally unbelievable. In the scene where they exit the craft, despite thousands of pounds of pressure, throwaway lines like “at least our suits are holding” without any reason why take you so far away from the premise that you may as well be watching an old man feeding his dog if you wanted scientific exposition. But we never came to learn - we came to see noble speeches and shit getting blown up.

I know landmark destruction is the ‘money shot’ in this kind of film but it beggars belief that the three points of the planet, that’s 70% water by the way, that the phenomena chooses to strike are Trafalgar Square, Rome are the Golden Gate Bridge. What’s the chances of that happening then? In fact if I was living near a landmark and saw a Hollywood film crew I’d be heading for the hills.

The characters are all likable and it’s rare to see Swank or Eckhart is a less than enjoyable film. Tucci delivers well as the up his arse scientist who may turn out nice in the end. His black polo neck and smoking habit were a bit much - they should just have given him a moustache to twirl and be done with it.

The destruction and technology effects were all well done with the microwaving of San Francisco and the frying of Rome both well executed. Less good was the travel though the Earth which looked like a lot of bubbles.

The plot was patently ridiculous with so many holes that you could turn a double decker bus over in them. It is of course moot to moan about the lack of decompression illness when you are talking about a metal tube fixing the planet but that’s half the fun of high concept nonsense like this.

If you’ve managed to miss ‘The Core’ on its endless repeat Film 4 showings you should have a look - the most fun scoffing you’ll have watching a disaster movie. Apart from ‘2012’.

THE Tag Line - No Bore Core Gets Decent Score - 70%

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