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From Under A Rock: The Core

July 29, 2017 | Posted by Michael Ornelas
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From Under A Rock: The Core  


Some movies are dumb, but I (Michael) like them anyways! This is one. Kind of.

You only get one first time, and for some people, it comes later than it does for others. This particular column is about documenting the first viewing of a “classic” movie or TV show determined at the discretion of Aaron Hubbard and Michael Ornelas in alternation.

Last week Aaron chose Tombstone. This week Michael takes Aaron out from under the proverbial rock to show him The Core.

The Core
Released: March 25th, 2003
Directed by: John Amiel
Written by: Cooper Layne & John Rogers
Aaron Eckhart as Dr. Joshua “Josh” Keyes
Hilary Swank as Major Rebecca “Beck” Childs
Delroy Lindo as Dr. Edward “Braz” Brazzelton
Stanley Tucci as Dr. Conrad Zimsky
D.J. Qualls as Theodore Donald “Rat” Finch

Michael Ornelas: At its core…*sigh*…this movie is about a physics teacher saving the day, therefore my introduction to this film was by my high school physics teacher as he made it required viewing and has us watch it in class. What a day. Mr. Misage is a legend.

Aaron Hubbard: Well this was certainly a movie. I can’t say it’s good, I can’t say it’s awful, but it exists and I’m going to enjoy discussing it.
Dumb Premise, Fun Results
Michael: This movie is so unbelievably stupid. From the get-go, the premise sounds like a disaster movie that was conceived by a 7th grader. “What if the Earth’s core stopped spinning?” It’s impossible, I’m pretty sure, and they way they realize this idea is really dumb (people collapsing and birds going nuts), at least at first. But does dumb mean it can’t be a blast? I vote no, because by the end of this movie, I remembered why I wanted to watch it: the destination justifies the ride.

Aaron: I have a really hard time figuring out how I felt about this movie. Disaster movies have never really been my thing, so in a way this was all fresh to me. It’s a dumb, dumb premise, but looking at it like a modern day Jules Verne story helped me deal with that. I think they had some cool ideas with the crystal canyon and especially the explosive ending, and I was never bored. I just wasn’t enthralled either.

Michael: I think they had something with the ending. The crystal canyon is what I remembered most about this movie from a visual standpoint heading in, but the nukes actually heightened the sense of urgency (as did the scene on the Golden Gate bridge where the Earth’s electromagnetic field finally gave out) as we headed to the climax of the film. There was a lot going on in this movie but once you get past the really dumb first act, it gets really interesting.
What is Human Emotion?
Aaron: You know, for the first hour or so of this movie, I really didn’t mind it. It wasn’t spectacular, but it had some interesting fiction to sell me. And when this is a pure sci-fi B-Movie, it’s pretty fun. But the multiple deaths to the crew and their spectacular irrelevance to my life made me realize that this film really lacks human drama. Each death felt contrived and unsatisfying to me, and with it happening every so often it just got tedious and unimportant. Which made it even more jarring to watch the actors poor attempts to mourn their losses.

Michael: I actually really connected with Braz, so his death hit me. His selflessness gave the crew purpose driving forward, so his sacrifice wasn’t in vain. Even Stanley Tucci’s rather unlikable character had an interesting turnabout toward the end of his life. He had a small redemption moment and garnered sympathy at the zero hour. I felt like a couple emotions were forced (like feelings between Swank and Eckhart), but this movie had at least a little bit of drama that effectively connected, in my opinion.

Aaron: I have never disliked Stanley Tucci more than when he goes on his inane rant when they don’t turn around. It was annoying and not in a good way. But as far as this human stuff goes, it just felt like James Cameron or even Chris Nolan could have added a lot more to this area and pushed this to actually being good.
The Hacker
Michael: This section’s about more than just the hacker character played by D.J. Qualls, but rather how cliche the genre is. Some of the more complicated matters in this movie felt like they were solved by the easy fix of “let’s have a hacker do something and that fixes it.” It reminds me of when I tried to tell a friend in middle school that you could use a Game Shark on a house phone and get free pizza. It’s dumb, but if it’s in a movie in the 90s/early 2000s and there’s a hacker involved, you don’t question it.

Aaron: Jurassic Park anyone? But yeah, that trope, much like this genre as a whole, feels decidedly dated. And it wasn’t even that long ago. Hacking can work in the right movie, but most of the time it’s just lazy storytelling in an era where the average American didn’t have internet on their phone.

Michael: Yeah, I’m glad that era is over because it’s impossible to go back to right now without looking upright ridiculous.

Aaron: I am on the fence. I like Aaron Eckhart and some of the ideas are really fun, but the execution is messy, the overreliance on average CGI is distracting, and some moments just made me want to throw a remote at the TV. I was entertained but I can’t recommend it.


Michael: Can I just say “Same.”? I mean, I enjoyed it slightly more than you, but the sentiments are the same.


Aaron: Movies like this are hard to review. In some ways I almost wanted it to be worse.

Michael: Yeah, it’s not quite “so bad it’s good” and it’s definitely not “good” but…I don’t know, there’s something there.

Is there though?

Next week:

Aaron: Hey. You know that George Lucas guy? Legend says he made good movies once. This is one of them.
Michael: I’m skeptical given how I feel about him these days, but let’s do it.

Aaron: It’s definitely an interesting look at how something shaped George Lucas and a film I consider underrated.

Has anyone else actually seen American Graffiti or is it just me?

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The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
This movie... exists. The Core is not good, but it is entertaining in a sci-fi B-movie kind of way. It has some bad moments and some really dumb plot ideas, but it is never truly awful. We would describe it as “so average it's fi5.8ne.” Thumbs decidedly in the middle on this one; we neither recommend nor discourage consumption of this media.