FRIDAY REVIEW

The Core

THIS SCI-FI action film begins with a portentous overture over the Paramount mountain range, and then the camera plunges into inner Earth and slams into the movie's title logo.

"The Core" is frequently hilarious — occasionally on purpose, but not often; it's monumentally dumb.

The premise is simple, if not simplistic: ``The core of the Earth has stopped spinning,'' says Keyes (Aaron Eckhart), a hunky geophysicist with the meticulously-tousled head of an alternative pop star.

A mission to go to the centre of the Earth and restart the core's spinning is quickly conceived.

``The objective is simple; the obstacles are gigantic,'' says Keyes, who has a habit of voicing ideas that have long since occurred to everyone in the theatre except the people onscreen.

Director Jon Amiel has made an old-fashioned disaster movie, a combination of "Fantastic Voyage" and "The Towering Inferno".

Apparently, he feels a whole generation of movie-goers has been denied a brand of sub-mediocrity once provided by movie producers like Irwin Allen.

The brazen silliness of "The Core" is calming and inauthentic, like taking a bath in non-dairy coffee creamer. With Stanley Tucci (as a scientist who seems to be wearing Millard Fillmore's hair), Delroy Lindo, D. J. Qualls, Alfre Woodard, Hilary Swank and Tcheky Karyo star in the film. — New York Times

ELVIS MITCHELL

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