Wednesday, April 2, 2003

The Core

Posted By and on Wed, Apr 2, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Geezer: 2 1/2 stars/Weezer: 1 star

Director Jon Amiel, whose main claim to fame was letting Bill Murray be funny in The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997), helms this sci-fi disaster flick that tries to keep your adrenaline pumping, but not much else. Somehow the earth’s core has stopped spinning, which means terminal doo-doo for the planet. So a team of specialists (played by Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci and Tchéky Karyo) is recruited to go down — all the way down — and give it a nuclear kick-start.

Weezer: There’s very little here to set this film apart from every other Deep Impact-Twister-Volcano disaster flick — though the heroes, played by a better-than-average cast, are cooler than your usual nudniks trying to save the world.

Geezer: Actually I was wondering, why hire such good actors for a silly, special effects-driven project? It’s like paying Roger Clemens to pitch batting practice. But in the end, it’s the acting — particularly by Lindo and Tucci — that saves this movie from being unwatchable.

Weezer: Eckhart’s a tool. I know he’s supposed to be a scientist-nerd, but even while seeing his friends die right in front of him, he only musters up a whimper or some half-assed tears that they sprayed on two seconds before saying “Action.”

Geezer: The story here is Journey to the Center of the Earth by way of Flash Gordon. Though it’s a good adventure, the science starts to feel like plastic ray guns.

Weezer: The heroes keep coming up with these world-saving epiphanies — not once or twice, but maybe five times: “Oh wait, all we have to do is reverse the polarity on this … then reverse the thrusters and we can pull some miracle out of our ass.” That’s a little much, even for Jerry Bruckheimer and Bruce Willis in Armageddon.

Geezer: But this has a completely different feel from Armageddon.

Weezer: It’s about crisis on an international level, while in Armageddon, they’re like, “We’re saving the world as Americans and the global community can kiss our ass.”

Geezer: The basic idea here is anti-militarism, showing that the military, screwing around with a doomsday machine, kills the planet at its core — and all the cool people of the world (scientists, international cooperation, the French guy, the black guy, the eggheads, the women) have to save it. It really goes out of its way to show that we’re all one planet and dependent on each other. Released in the middle of the war in Iraq, it’s obviously intended as a statement.

Weezer: I guess I appreciate that more than if it didn’t have a message, but it seems like too little too late. If you want to make a statement like that, don’t set it in a disaster film. The genre is so terribly clichéd that I can’t find anything remotely interesting about it anymore. Only physicists should go see this movie, so they could tell us how it would really happen.

George Tysh (Geezer) is the Metro Times arts editor. Bruno Tysh (Weezer) is a high school senior. E-mail them at gtysh@metrotimes.com.

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