Hack the Planet

One of cinema’s long-standing rules is show, don’t tell. The Core, unsure if the concept of Earth boiling is clear enough, does both. Aaron Eckhart, with an assist from Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci, hoists an apple representing Earth, and Tucci shoots it with flame representing the sun. Thank The Core for that explanation in case the “boiling the planet” dialog was somehow unclear.

The Core found itself in an awkward place, dealing with the internet’s earliest seismic cultural shift and a post-9/11 audience less interested in devastation, even though the disaster genre exists purely to see cities fall. That leaves most of the movie confined to an Earth-burrowing drill, heading to the core as the crew faces repeated calamities.

The Core is too long, the sights uninteresting, and dialog crummy

It’s an oddity, with the science worse than most pre-moon landing sci-fi about the moon and an isolationist streak that’s outright aggressive. In facing global catastrophe, the U.S. government goes it alone, refusing to tell the world the end is near less there’s a panic, but also failing to acknowledge the countless scientific minds who might have a solution other than “nuke it.” But this is America. Bigger weapons can solve anything.

A few things do crumble. Rome falls in a brief visual effects sequence and the Golden Gate bridge melts before an audience’s eyes, but that’s it. While the news reports on total coastal obliteration, the actual event itself isn’t shown. The Core is sensitive to collapsing buildings, more or less feeling out audience’s apathy and emotion toward rebooting the genre. Instead, the budget turns to the underground world, filled with giant crystals, pockets of nothing, and magma. That’s not as engaging.

Were The Core more indebted to the human element, maybe it works. Instead, there’s DJ Squalls, painfully begging for Hot Pockets and Xena tapes while he, quote, “hacks the planet,” to prevent an information leak. Or Tucci, forced to speak about, “floating septic tanks,” and Oscar winner Hilary Swank facing a leadership crisis so cliché as to demean the disaster movie’s already soap opera-like chatter.

It’s a terrible movie, to be direct. The Core is too long, the sights uninteresting, and dialog crummy (but not even funny in a z-grade way). However, The Core is a fascinating time capsule, showing the U.S. injured, worried, and defensive after a real world tragedy. Shame the end result is nothing more than schlock.


A tough, rugged grain structure factors in to Paramount’s master. Luckily, the disc handles it well, maintaining a reasonable texture that can convincingly convey film. The Core can resolve fidelity as a result, enhancing close-ups and their texture. Wide shots look equally superb. Only the murky early ’00s CG effects wane in their obvious composites (banding included from the underwater lights).

Less impressive is the color, staying on the murkier side, and that’s especially true for flesh tones. They look pale, flat, and dry. Other primaries thrive on density instead of saturation, attractive and bold. Shots of Earth from space do present a dazzling blue, and that’s not the only primary to pop, but it’s inconsistent.

Pep in the contrast makes molten liquid look super heated on screen. The overall brightness shines too, leaving no question as to this Dolby Vision’s master power. Black levels perform excellently. Shadows deepen to a pure black.


Sustained bass kicks off with immediacy, the power showcased through a shuttle’s engines and crash landing. Power isn’t enough to match the top-end discs on this format, but the DTS-HD’s potency isn’t worth dismissing. Disaster on a global scale sounds appropriately beefy, enough to shake a room as lightning blows up Rome. When the ocean floor opens due to an earthquake, it’s a spectacular jolt of bass.

While only 5.1, the soundstage widens to flawlessly track objects panning across the frame. Directionality pokes from every speaker. Debris bounces around, filling the theater from every direction. Rain effects sound wholly real.



The Core
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Among the most empty and ludicrous disaster movies ever made by a major studio, The Core is almost stupid enough to entertain.

User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 49 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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