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:: The Core

In Boston, 32 people with pacemakers suddenly drop dead within a 10-block radius. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses, resulting in hundreds of deaths as cars are sent plummeting into the sea. In Rome, a freak electrical storm zaps the Colosseum, reducing it to pebble mix. But most spectacularly of all, in a scene worthy of Hitchcock himself, thousands of pigeons unable to navigate themselves, smash into windscreens, buildings, and crowds of children in London’s Trafalgar Square. The cause? Planet Earth’s electromagnetic field is rapidly deteriorating as its inner core has stopped rotating. The effect? The earth will literally be cooked by microwave radiation.

To the sound of military-style drumming, important military and government officials rally to recruit geophysicist Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) and his equally gifted friend atomic weapons expert Dr. Sergei Leveque (Tcheky Karyo) to find an explanation and solution to the potentially apocalyptic situation. Aided by a couple of ‘terranauts’, Major Rebecca Childs (Hilary Swank) and Commander Robert Iverson (Bruce Greenwood), Internationally famous geophysicist Dr. Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci) and the hermit-like rogue scientist Dr. Ed Brazzelton (Delroy Lindo), this eclectic team of experts are to pilot an underground vessel to the centre of the earth to set off a couple of nukes to restart the earths inner core rotation.

Director Jon Amiel describes his film as science faction: “a good dollop of science, a considerable amount of fact and a wee bit of fiction”. Albert Einstein was fascinated by the earth’s magnetic field and the potential problem it presents to modern physics and The Core is the story of a custom-built terra-craft and its crew preparing to go underground to deal with the problem first hand. The vessel that is to take the crew to the earth’s core is named ‘Virgil’ (named after the Latin poet who wrote the epic poem The Aeneid, depicting the Roman hero Aeneas’ descent into the underworld). ‘Virgil’ is made from a product nicknamed “unobtainium” by the crafts designer/builder Dr. Bazzelton.

The Core is quite a long film or at least it seems that way when watching it. There was an element of “are we there yet?” whilst the trip to the earth’s centre was underway. The cast perform the self-conscious collection of United Nations-inspired acting roles admirably, but the small role played by D.J Qualls as Rat, the computer hacker at Mission Control, is perhaps the most interesting in what is overall, a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare. An entertaining no-brainer.

Screening on geenral release