Probably the most enjoyable B-movie I’ve seen in ages, the ‘Core’ is a deliciously silly FX adventure with a great cast and solid script which unfolds the utterly absurd premise in exactly the right way. With movies like these they tend to take themselves either all too seriously, or are so tongue-in-cheek (ala “The Mummy”) that the threats and dangers within the film have no weight.
‘Core’ walks that fine line where its characters totally believe and take everything they do in all seriousness, but also stop to have a laugh at the sheer silliness and magnitude of what they’re doing. It never tries to be anything more than pure escapist entertainment, and so spends most of its time on developing character traits and keeping the action flying thick and fast.
The cast are also what help really sell this baby. Aaron Eckhart gives us the roguish but smart college professor leader, whilst Hilary Swank does a great turn as the brash young astronaut – both play off each other well and the lack of a forced romance subplot benefits the film a lot.
Stanley Tucci is just awesome as the groups foil, an arrogant scientist who loves the sound of his own voice and Delroy Lindo as a rival scientist from his old days gives the two some fun banter. Tcheky Karo and Alfre Woodard also seem to be having a lot of fun in their parts. Crew conflicts and character interaction help sustain the last act of the movie when the ‘outside’ action slows down.
The first act is filled with some great disaster sequences from a space shuttle crash to a pigeon attack in Trafalgar Square before the ship gets constructed and our characters are introduced. Similarly the second act is filled with similar linear action sequences taking place as our heroes confront obstacles from diamonds to geodes. The pacing is truly superb, Director Jon Amiel giving it a slick sense of timing with no unneeded dips into sentimentality and to-the-point frankness.
Where it falls down sadly is the third act where admittedly it resorts to some cliched plotting and of course ‘noble sacrifices’, but is still a solid closer to the movie. Production values are superb, FX look great (except a ‘Rome destruction’ sequence which feels like overkill) and the humour is nicely placed and timed. If you can just embrace the silliness of the premise, you’ll find a very entertaining flick.