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The Core

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Core

from Film Forum, 04/03/03

In Jon Amiel's old-fashioned B-movie The Core, the belly of Planet Earth is greatly troubled, and there is no Rolaids tablet big enough to settle things down. So a crack team of heroes, featuring Hilary Swank (Insomnia) and Aaron Eckhart (Possession), get their hands on a deep-drilling machine and plunge beneath the surface. Their solution is so simple: they plan to "restart" the center of the earth by planting a series of atomic bombs in just the right places.

Most religious press critics are amused, but not impressed, with this formulaic entertainment.

Phil Boatwright (Movie Reporter) says, "You pretty much have to leave intellect and reason at the door, but depending on your mood, you'll either get into the exciting perils, or you may just find the constant difficulties and the made-up scientific jargon to be tedious."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says the screenwriters should have considered making their story a comedy. "What they have put up on the screen is the most unintentionally funny film that I've seen in years. The problem is that we're laughing at it instead of with it. What makes this big budget action picture so laughable, aside from its ludicrous premise, is the unapologetic way it employs the clichés of the genre."

Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) calls it "a fairly suspenseful film. But at 136 minutes it's overlong, some dialogue falls flat, and, most of all, it's pretty preposterous."

But Holly McClure (Crosswalk) responds with enthusiasm: "The Core is hot! This thrill-a-minute journey to the center of the earth will take you where no movie ever has. This is a perfect 'popcorn escape' movie to watch and discuss with friends afterwards."

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says, "I liked this energetic B-movie. [It] focuses on noble people rising to meet an enormous challenge without concern for their own safety. The action peril is intense at times, but it exists to make a grander statement: Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend. Or his family. Or his country. Or his planet. If the folks onscreen can unite and solve their crisis, maybe world peace isn't so impossible after all."

And Movieguide's reviewer is thrilled. "Credit … must go to the excellent script by Cooper Layne and John Rogers, as well as the edge-of-your-seat direction by Jon Amiel. [The Core] has lots of excitement, lots of humor and lots of just plain fun." The reviewer is also excited by a scene in which an army officer wishes another soldier "Godspeed."

Mainstream critics classify it as a decent rental for those in search of mindless entertainment. Roger Ebert says, "The Core is not exactly good, but it knows what a movie is. It has energy and daring and isn't afraid to make fun of itself, and it thinks big, as when the Golden Gate Bridge collapses and a scientist tersely reports, 'The West Coast is out.' If you are at the video store late on Saturday night and they don't have Anaconda, this will do."