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It’s “The Core”! Nothing More. Who’s Our Friend? Hollywood!

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Question: What happens when you give some left-leaning, tree hugging Hollywood-types loads of cash to make an incredibly cheesy movie?

Answer: “The Core”, another flick about global environmental annihilation.

There’s a world of trouble afoot when the Earth’s core inexplicably stops spinning, disrupting the planet’s magnetic field. After all, it’s the engine that drives the planet’s electromagnetic field.

Nope, they sure don’t build planets like they used to.

Enter Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart), egghead scientist and college professor with Hollywood-standard good looks.

“Even if we came up with a brilliant plan,” he intones, “we just couldn’t get there.”

“Yes,” retorts Saganesque celebrity-scientist Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci), “but what if we could?”

Answer: We’d make a really bad movie about just such a scenario.

Meanwhile, all sorts of wacky earthly disasters are occurring.

People with pacemakers are dropping dead.

Birds are doing their level best to recreate scenes from a Hitchcock film.

The shuttle Endeavor’s tracking system is thrown for a loop, and plucky navigator Major Rebecca “Beck” Keyes (Hilary Swank) saves the day by rerouting it to land in the Los Angeles storm canals. Unlike the last two shuttle disasters, no astronauts die because… well, because this is the movies.

Stone-busting lightning storms are doing to centuries-old Roman architecture what real estate developers have wanted to do for years. The accompanying massive electrical discharge is also making static shock a life-threatening problem.

Tears form in the Earth’s electromagnetic field, letting massive amounts of UV rays in – melting cars, bridges, and people.

It’s like something right out of the book, ‘The Coming Global Superstorm’. Dang, I guess authors Art Bell and Whitley Strieber were right after all. I think we all owe them a big apology.

Luckily, for planet Earth, reclusive genius Ed “Braz” Brazzleton (Delroy Lindo) has been building a high-tech drilling machine for twenty-some odd years, just in case the Earth’s core should ever go haywire. It seats six.

“Braz” refrains from saying, “I told you so!”, and instead says he needs $15 billion to finish a prototype.

The U.S. guv’mint gives it to him. Good thing this end-of-the-world stuff didn’t happen during the ‘War with Iraq’, or it might’ve been a different story.

“Sorry, Braz, we’d like to help, but all our funds have already been allocated to stopping a bigger threat to the world — Saddam Hussein. Maybe next quarter, check back with us then.”

Soon, the worm-shaped ship is plunging into the ocean depths. At one point, it’s surrounded by some whales.

“They’re singing to us,” Beck says.

“No,” Braz answers, “we’re singing to them” as the ship gives off an ultrasonic signature. This fact is what is called “foreshadowing” in the movie business. Or, simply “The Biz” for short.

Thanks to the plucky navigatory skills of Beck, the ship lasers its way through the rocky crust and swims through the hot-chemical soup of the mantle.

But, uh-oh, it hits an unexpected pocket of big crystal filled “empty space”, which turns out to be a humongous geode floating in the murky mantle.

“A crystal filled grand canyon,” Keyes dubs it. The ship crashes on the geode floor, and the team has to move some honking big crystal blocking the path. Since the ship breached the shell, hot molten lava starts pouring into the “canyon.”

Tension mounts. The audience is on the edge of its seat — or, would be, if the whole movie’s premise weren’t so damn hokey to begin with.

Before you can say “shock and awe”, Commander Bob Iverson (Bruce Greenwood) gets beaned by a big rock and tumbles into the lava flow.

“Commander Iverson died,” Beck says, “but I think he’d want us to complete our mission, so…”

No, Iverson would’ve wanted the rest of you to turn that ship around and go home. So, never mind. Screw the planet. Bob is dead.

Thus begins a series of noble deaths that, eventually, leave only Keyes and Beck alive in the end.

At some point during the film, it comes out the U.S. guv’mint’s secret “deep earth seismic” warfare project might’ve been what killed the engine-core in the first place. But I won’t HAARP on that.

About Pete Petrisko