Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Worst Part of a Movie: The Core

I want to begin this review with an anecdote.

I spent a year in Israel before college, mainly goofing off. I did volunteer at a fire department in the town of Nitzrat Ilit, or Upper Nazareth.

One thing I learned early on about firefighting is this: There is a LOT of down time.

Since my Hebrew was, at the time, a little bleh, I decided to watch TV in order to dull my brain until the coveted bell rang.

I also learned something about Israeli movie channels.

They show the same movie over....and over.....and over......and OVER!

Thus I ended up watching "The Core" about 57 times.

Give or take.

Even compared to such scientific wonderments as "The Day After Tomorrow" or "Flubber," this movie pushes the boundaries for suspension of disbelief.

The premise is simple: The core of the Earth has stopped spinning. Since the core is iron, it creates our illustrious magnetic field and keeps the Earth in tip-top shape. With it all sorts of jacked up, the Earth "will experience slight turbulence and then ...explode."

Enter professor, Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart of "Thank You For Smoking"). Dr. Keyes realizes what is going on after watching a thrilling reenactment of Hitchcock's "The Birds." He promptly turns to drink.

The good doc is dragged before the eyes of the government to outline a plan. His first option: Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

This does not go over well with the politicians, who had plans to hit on the summer pages. So another "scientist," Dr. Zimsky (Stanley Tucci of "The Devil Wears Prada". Yeah, I saw that one too. And I liked it. I AM WHO I AM. DEAL WITH IT) proposes another solution.

Bore into the center of the Earth, drop off 150 megatons of nuclear arms, then "ride the world's biggest shockwave back to the surface."

Can you smell the intense thrill ride waiting to happen?

Now, this movie needed some human conflict, so the writers decided to throw in a genius (mad) scientist (Delroy Lindo of "Romeo Must Die") who has the technology and know-how to build a machine that can tunnel to the Earth's core in under a few days, withstand the intense pressure and heat, and carry several people both comfortably and precariously, ensuring some will die in painful ways.

He hates the Zimsky fella. So does the rest of the crew. So will you. This is why, by the end of the movie, Zimsky does something stupid and brave that saves lives and the world too. Don't you just love predictable theater?

All crazy, untested craft need crazy, maladjusted pilots. Enter Rebecca Childs (Hillary Swank. Come on, you know what she's been in. Don't even lie). Childs is.....awkward. She does her job well, but is unable to really command anyone, which is why she is overlooked by her peers, employers, and father.

Taste the drama. A little tart? Yeah, my thoughts too.

Keyes brings his own baggage aboard in the form of Serge Leveque (Tcheky Karyo from "The Patriot"). Serge is a weapons tech, and he is pretty much the only character who you would honestly miss if he were gone. Karyo plays him off the cuff, a little absent-minded, and ever the father figure.

Sadly, that is where the acting stopped.

You see, the acting in this movie is bad. Bad in a way that only "Sound of Thunder" or "Mary Kate and Ashley go to Sing Sing" could top. The writing is....well, atrocious is a big word. In fact, it's bigger than the words used in this SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE.

The characters have no memory. As soon as the disposable commander (Bruce Greenwood) takes a lava shower, the crew forgets him and smiles their way on to the next death scene.

The special effects are hit or miss.

Scratch that. They all pretty much foul out. The lightning storm is too over-the-top; the super Global Warming is...well, just kinda bad; and a lot of the stuff aboard the ship is just disappointing. On the plus side, the shuttle crash early on is...ok. Kind of heart... thumping.

The main draw of this movie is..................


No, I'm lost again. This movie shouldn't have been made. The actors deserve better. "Thank You For Smoking" was a hilarious movie, and Ekhart rocked the socks off every scene. Hillary Swank won an Oscar, for crise sakes.

This movie is akin to waking-up-next-to-a-platypus-after-a-long-night-of-binge-drinking-wine-boxes.

I'm actually feeling quite clean (in the movie going sense) as I have seen "The Departed."

I can't review it, as it is an A+++ movie, but I will tell you that it is quite a chaser when drinking down this type of drivel.

Good viewing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for quoting Captain Mal. Yea, I caught that.