If you like to nitpick the “that couldn’t happen” stuff in a sci-fi film, this is not the movie for you. The only thing you’ll get out of The Core is a ride. The plot is completely absurd and unlike the very similar Armageddon, this film doesn’t deliver near the action. Special effects range from quite cool to the obvious animations and matte paintings. What impresses me most is that the cast got through this with a straight face. The Core deservedly didn’t perform well at the box office but it is still worth a watch.
The Earth’s liquid core has stopped moving. The electromagnetic field of the planet has gone haywire. A team journeys to the Core in a souped up train to plant a nuclear device designed to begin the core’s rotation before the planet is destroyed.
The sound is a relatively unagressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track. While the score is often brilliant and sound effects dynamic, I was not impressed with the placement. Everything is too centered. There was ample opportunity to spread the sound outward, but instead everything is designed to sound too closed in. Perhaps that was the filmmaker’s intention. Dialogue for the most part is clear, but a few effects were mixed loudly, overpowering the characters voices. I found myself adjusting the sound a couple of times.
There is a fine commentary track by director Jon Amiel. You’ll find it entertaining. Amiel obviously had fun recording it and did his best to make it somewhat interactive.
The Core is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Colors are outstanding and blacks are rich in depth and detail. I did notice a bit of edge distortion on a few extremely wide shots. I found no film specks or artifacts. This is a very clean print. The visuals on this film are quite exciting to watch at times. The brightness of the red lava mixed with the darkness of the caves or even the space shots display a great deal of contrast and variety. I was very impressed with the ability of the cinematographer to make what could have been a visually bland film alive with a plethora of visual candy. The transfer certainly handled that task particularly well.
Here is what you will find in terms of extras on this disc…
- “The Making Of The Core” is a 10 minute look behind the scenes at the special effects of the film.
- “Deconstructing The Visual Effects” takes a look at 5 different effects shots from the film and breaks them down to their most basic elements. I like this kind of feature that allows one to see an effects shot layer by layer from raw footage to a polished segment.
- There are 10 deleted and/or extended scenes, but my complaint is you must watch them in a “play all” fashion. Once you’ve seen them you can learn the chapter stops to access them again, but this is unnecessary work. These scenes do come with the option of commentary or not. It really didn’t add anything for me.
The menu is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. Paramount once again uses an intro menu that takes you to previews if you’re not careful. This is an annoying feature.
Basically this is a good popcorn movie. Don’t ask too many questions and you won’t be disappointed by the lack of answers. The characters are entertaining enough, but played by relative unknowns. I’d recommend this one mostly as a rental. I don’t see it having much repeat viewing value. To watch it again “I’m going to need lots of hot pockets”.