28 March 2003

I had no such qualms about seeing The Core, of course. This is one of those dumb adventure movies, like Mission to Mars, that please me out of all proportion: it isn't quite as good as Mission to Mars (I say this with a completely straight face, you understand), and not nearly as good as The Mummy, and there isn't a line or scene that I could defend on a rational basis...but I still found it inordinately pleasing, probably because I could see myself happily writing a story like this someday. (Indeed, the first hour of The Core has a number of plot points involving the earth's electromagnetic field that are uncomfortably close to a science fiction story I submitted to Analog magazine a couple of months ago. Obviously, I'm underpaid.)

What did I like about this movie? I loved the breathless climax, in which footage of a high-tech craft speeding through the earth's core is interrupted by a subtitle reading "16 Hours Later," followed by a cut to more speeding. I loved the moment when the main character finds himself trapped in a tiny capsule, in the middle of the ocean, with power failing, with no hope of rescue, and with Hilary Swank...and doesn't even think to make a pass. And I loved Stanley Tucci, who plays a rather...effete evil scientist sporting a silver coiffure and a cigarette held loosely between two fingers. This scientist has discovered a way to restart the spinning of the earth's core using a series of nuclear charges, which leads to one of the greatest exit lines in recent movie history: "To make the bomb bigger, use the fuel rods from the reac--"

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