Why The Core is one of the best-worst movies around
First off, I'm not a film critic by any means. I can rarely talk about the effect a movie had on me after I watch it -- my thought process is binary and simple: The movie is good or bad. However, there are a few movies I can't help but find inexplicable, stupid enjoyment in -- one of these is National Treasure. The other I recently found out was The Core.
I first saw The Core back in 2003 when my band was on tour. We went to the theatre to get out of the hot sun for a couple hours. It was terrible, not entertaining even as a heat respite and entirely contrived nonsense.
However, the movie is streaming on Netflix right now, and like a good patron of science fiction, I decided to give it another chance. My mind has been changed completely.
A couple months ago, a professor on NPR was talking about how scientists needed to be working with filmmakers more often. He (and many, many others for that matter) cited The Core as being the prime example of bad science, bad filmmaking and bad research (they get hit by something called an energy flare at one point).
All of these things are true -- the movie is just trope after trope after trope. So why bother watching it? Because it's completely and utterly off-the-charts-bonkers-insane.
The premise alone breaks a billion and one scientific rules: The earth's core stops spinning, we send a crew of people to ignite a nuclear bomb in the core to jump-start it, people return to the surface, and there's a parade.
First off, no, the earth's core is not likely to stop spinning. And, no, a nuclear bomb probably wouldn't jump-start it, anyway. What's more, they definitely wouldn't make it back alive. So -- we've got the science out of the way -- it's bunked, screwed and stupid.
Perhaps this is a character study, like Lost. Maybe that's the appeal? Nope. The characters are idiotic archetypes that fail at even being archetypes. Although, I have to give The Core credit for making a chain smoking cocky scientist one of it's main redeeming qualities.
So why the hell do I think this movie is the hottest shit since Blade Runner? Because it has no clue how terrible it is. While movies like the Human Centipede are so self-aware it hurts, The Core is true B-movie magic.
It's got it all, terrible plot, awful dialogue and some of the most terrible moments in cinematic history (they even include the obligatory scene of something flying over a baseball game and causing a big distraction, and subsequently end that same scene with an aircraft landing in downtown LA).
Do you want to know how many people martyr themselves in the name of saving the planet in this movie? Most of them. I won't spoil it with the details here, because really, the series of self-sacrificing moments as the crew make its way to the earth's core is so god damn amazing, it simply has to be experienced first hand.
Even if all that doesn't float your boat, then the high-speed magma flow surfing at the end of the movie featuring some terrible CGI and a flying electric razor will make you smile.
2003 was a time when Armageddon was on Hollywood's mind. We've gotten hundreds of disaster flicks over the years, most of them terrible. The only difference here is the fact that The Core doesn't even bother hiding behind real science.
It doesn't posture itself behind anything other than the fact it's a fear-mongering attempt at a Hollywood epic. Does it fail? Of course it fails, it's the dumbest premise this side of Avatar (there's unobtanium in this, too), but it does so in such a spectacular fashion that it's hard not to take note of its stupidity and enjoy it.