Thursday, April 10, 2003
Written by Cooper Layne and John Rogers
Directed by John Amiel
Reviewed by Mil Peliculas
Well, one of the first big action flicks to hit theaters is this extremely okay effort from John Amiel. I didn't quite hate it, but I found it difficult to really like. Amiel seems to be a good candidate for the Bland Pack. His last film was Entrapment, which I found to be a real snooze, and The Core made a similar ho-hum impact on me. Great cast, honestly. Hilary Swank, Bruce Greenwood, Aaron Eckhart, Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo, I mean could you do any better? Not really. And yet the script is almost hoplessly underwritten. I say "almost" because there are times where some good dialog and interesting character moments do peak through the surface.
The story is both interesting and laughably implausible. Aaron Eckhart plays a brilliant college professor who figures out that something strange is going on with the earth's core. Basically the earth's molten core has stopped spinning, due (naturally) to some covert experiments done by the U.S. Military, a program headed by a famous and pompous (and brilliant) Carl Sagan-esque scientist named Dr. Zimsky, played by Stanley Tucci. The reason that is bad is because that rotation generates the electromagnetic field that encircles the earth and protects us from all sorts of nasty things floating around in space, but chiefly it protects us from radiation. So the upshot is that if we don't "jumpstart" the earth's core by using some nuclear weapons, we're all baked. But the rub is, you need to get to the earth's core, and that is a big problem. Enter Delroy Lindo, another brilliant (good thing everyone is so brilliant in this film) scientist who has coincidently been developing a way to basically liquify rock, enabling a large craft to travel like an earthworm through solid granite. Completely silly, but what are you gonna do? It's a movie for Christ's sake. As I said, there are some moments of good dialog, but the storytellers never stop to dwell long enough on any good moments for fear of losing that 14-year-old target audience who needs to see constant action. One particular bit of dialog that could have been cool but was mishandled, is a scene where the goverment picks up a young computer hacker for some work they need him to do. The hacker gets into a verbal joust with the high and mighty Dr. Zimsky. Hacker says, "How many languages to you speak?" Zimsky says, "Five." Or however many it was. The hacker says, "Well I speak one...100110010, and with that language I can steal your identity, your money..." etcetera. A better writer could really have beaten the crap out of that moment, but it's rushed, shot with a lot of music and camera movement, totally distracting. Can't we just listen to the guy talk for a minute? It should have played like the Dennis Hopper /Christopher Walken scene from True Romance, but that's all out the window. Amiel just does not want to spend a lot of time with these characters, so it's no surprise that by the time we get near the end, and some of the crew starts dying, there's no emotional impact to speak of, and when other characters become emotional about it, it doesn't quite play. Hey, if the director doesn't want to spend time with these characters, why should I want to? I liked the first act better than the rest of it, but I didn't feel like walking out either.
Can't say I recommend this one. But I have seen worse.
Posted by DW Smith at Thursday, April 10, 2003