The Core 2003 ★★★★★

A wonderful 'B Movie Disaster Movie' ride. The term B-movie is not a criticism. Some of the classic Sci-Fi movies of the 50s can only be described as B-movies, including some of my favorites, like The Thing (from Another World), Them and Forbidden Planet. The Core is an exciting story, with good actors playing interesting, non-heroic characters thrown in a heroic situation and acquitting themselves well.

I almost missed this one because of negative reviews. I don't know what such reviewers expect of a SciFi film. I've seen complaints that the premise is far-fetched and the technology impossible -- this last while comparing the movie to Armageddon! Please! If you are to enjoy science fiction films at all, you have to choke down one or two unknown technologies on faith. Is the nuclear-powered Core-driller any harder to believe in than the Stargate? Than the notion that aliens allergic to water would invade the only planet in the stellar neighborhood that is covered with the stuff (Signs)? That computers can take over the world, but are dependent on human bodies as a power source (The Matrix)? That you can defeat an seemingly invincible alien race by uploading a computer virus into a single ship (Independence Day)? Why then is it so inconceivable that you could set off nuclear explosives in the Earth's core to counteract a catastrophic failure of the Earth's electro-magnetic field?

Science fiction movies are not required to mimic real science. They ARE required to stick to their own rules about what is possible an what is not, and here The Core plays fair. The film establishes its rules early on, and given the premise and the characters, I found every outcome reasonable.

Is the moral center of the story a bit cliched? Yes. Is the ending pure Hollywood confection? Also yes. But more importantly, I was intrigued by the story's central problem, became invested in a cast of characters I liked and enjoyed cheering for, and left the theater feeling that the human race could probably tackle a real challenge like the one depicted. And that is what science fiction movies are (traditionally) all about -- optimism in the future of the race.

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