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For every successful disaster movie, there's a forgotten one and The Core is, unfortunately, the latter. Released in 2003, the film wasn't exactly the lucrative blockbuster it planned to be and critics weren't too thrilled with it.

Many have criticised the film for being scientifically inaccurate and preposterous but that's completely missing the point of The Core. This is an homage to old-fashioned disaster movies from The Birds to Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and The Fantastic Voyage with updated technology and slicker visuals, of course. The film is clearly tongue-in-cheek and is not meant to be taken too seriously so the fact it received more scrutiny than Independence Day or other equally silly releases is frankly unfair. Armed with a solid cast and some genuinely tense set-pieces, The Core is far more fun than critics gave it credit for and it manages to avoid being annoying and over-patriotic like most of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich's output. The actors play their roles earnestly but the script is sharp enough to keep them likeable and entertaining throughout so when they start dropping like flies, you surprisingly do care.

This is a big concept action movie with the same outlook on reality as the old Jules Verne novels prioritising adventure and character interactions, finding magic in things we take for granted. Of course releasing nukes near the core of the Earth wouldn't kick-start it again should it ever stop but I certainly buy the science of The Core more than whatever nonsense happened in Armageddon if only because it's handled much better. Aaron Eckhart makes a good lead as the teacher-turned-leader of a world-saving expedition. Stanley Tucci steals the show as a pedantic scientist and Hilary Swank gives a convincing performance as one of the astronauts technically in charge. Some highlights include some effective catastrophes brought on by the core's malfunction and a crystal-themed pitstop deep below the Earth.

It may be ridiculous but The Core is one entertaining B-movie to say the least and it's a refreshing alternative to the shallow disaster movies we're usually stuck with. This is one that's certainly worth trying out if you'd like to see a more retro take on that particular genre.


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