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The Core (**)
Directed by Jon Amiel
Written by Cooper Layne and John Rogers
Principal Cast
Aaron Eckhart -- Dr. Josh Keyes
Hilary Swank -- Major Rebecca 'Beck' Childs
Stanley Tucci -- Dr. Conrad Zimsky
Delroy Lindo -- Dr. Ed 'Braz' Brazzelton
Tchéky Karyo -- Dr. Serge Leveque
Richard Jenkins -- General Thomas Purcell
Alfre Woodard -- Talma Stickley
DJ Qualls -- Taz 'Rat' Finch
Bruce Greenwood -- Commander Robert 'Bob' Iverson
Ratings
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

The Core If you thought space travel was boring, try burrowing through the earth.

The movie begins well. It acknowledges how far away the core of the earth is, especially compared with the few miles humans have ever drilled, and how hot it is, at what terrific pressure. The first twenty minutes, while not realistic, convey the impression of realism, though the less you know about science and scientists the more convincing it will be. It reminded me of the first twenty minutes of Fantastic Voyage.

The space shuttle crash is the best thing in the film. It was handled by a different special effects team, not the one that did the underground effects. But the underground effects really aren't bad.

The trouble is that a trip underground by definition lacks scenery. If you are going to be at all realistic, absolutely nothing is going to happen (unless everybody dies, and that would take less than a second). And so the writers, wisely, jettison realism in favor of having a few adventures. Unfortunately, they don't jettison realism completely enough, and so the deeper we go, the more boring the movie gets. No pun intended. Their first adventure, inside a giant geode located halfway to the core, is the best. I have to admire how hard the writers worked to come up with something to liven up the story. But the adventures become increasingly contrived, and the film is replete with title cards that say "12 hours later" or "4 hours later."

Jules Verne and Edger Rice Burroughs had it right. If you are going to write a story about a journey to the center of the earth, there had better be some dinosaurs down there.

Copyright © 2003 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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