A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has sustained and intense peril. There's widespread destruction, and many characters are killed. There's some strong language, including the obligatory single use of "f--k" permitted in PG-13 movies. There are female and African-American characters who are exceptionally talented but who have had to face obstacles to their professional advancement. Diverse characters work together well.
What's the story?
In THE CORE, Aaron Eckhart plays rumpled University of Chicago professor Josh Keyes, who is called on when dozens of people just drop dead all at once. It turns out that for some reason the core of the earth has been slowed down (possibly by something we did), throwing off the electromagnetic charges that govern everything from navigation by birds and aircraft to pacemakers. The first part of the movie is smart people figuring out what is wrong and how to fix it, and then they all climb in a sort of rocket ship that can melt thousands of miles of solid rock and dive down to the center of the planet to essentially reboot it.
Is it any good?
The Core is a big, dumb, explosion movie. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- often big, dumb, explosion movies are fun to watch and do very well at the box office. But this one suffers from very bad timing. At a time when the world feels a little fragile, watching CGI versions of Rome and San Francisco be all but destroyed and a (successful) crash landing of the space shuttle, no matter how impressive the technology, is not fun at all. And without a, well, core of substance, wit, or energy, this movie cannot recover.
It's basically Journey to the Center of the Earth without the dinosaurs crossed with Armageddon without Bruce Willis. The script isn't bad. Co-writer John Rogers has a degree in physics and is a former stand-up comic, and both are evident. If it is formulaic, at least it understands the formula reasonably well. There is something of a Ten Little Indians feeling, as members of the crew start getting picked off in various dramatic ways. Stanley Tucci wildly overacts as a fame-seeking scientist with a book deal. Everyone else in the cast does their professional best, but the only standout is D.J. Qualls as a super hacker who lives on Xena tapes and hot pockets.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: March 28, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: September 9, 2003
- Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci
- Director: Jon Amiel
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 136 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi life/death situations and brief strong language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.