The Core Jon Amiel
Published Apr 01, 2003The Core, believe it or not, brings to mind an overlooked scene in the mockumentary cult classic This is Spinal Tap. Marty DiBurgi, played by real-life director Rob Reiner, reads old album reviews to the band. He comes to a particularly scathing and pithy critique of their album Shark Sandwich. "The review consists of just two words," he informs the Tap as they listen slack-jawed: "Shit Sandwich." Nigel Tufnel is taken aback. "They cawn't print that!," he protests. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Shit Sandwich part two.
Hilary Swank leads a rag-tag team of "terranauts" (including hunky geophysicist Aaron Eckhart, mad scientist Delroy Lindo and Stanley Tucci, doing his best Peter Sellars impression) who are recruited to realign the flow of the earth's core after it is disrupted by a military doomsday device called Destiny. Their mission: drill to the centre of the earth in what looks like a giant metal suppository and explode a chain of nuclear warheads, thus "healing the world" and washing it free of its all-too-human sin.
Director Jon Amiel (Copycat, Entrapment) has managed to craft a mega-budget action film that feels like the cinematic equivalent of a carpet remnant. The effects pummel the viewer with workmanlike precision at regulated intervals, failing to disappoint, but who cares when the rest of the movie is this protracted and pointless? No wonder this summer-style blockbuster was dumped in the March morass where bad films go to die. That's not to say that The Core is any worse than global disaster porn like Armageddon. In fact, it plays like the bastard love child of that Bruckheimer-produced, Aerosmith-soundtracked, Willis/Affleck-plastered travesty and the touchy-feely "woman's picture" sensitivity of Mimi Leder's Deep Impact. That is to say, it's the worst of both worlds. A crappy event movie that has the audacity to deign itself better than the crap it actually is.