The Core

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Core Movie Poster Image
This is a big, dumb, explosion movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 136 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Many characters killed. Intense peril.




Some strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bydnava January 1, 2021
Adult Written byTiketT July 1, 2020

Good actors / predictable

One use of f**k and mention of how the world can't end until [I've] had sex. One person is seen chain smoking cigarettes throughout the movie. This mo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byEunoia February 2, 2018

Really Unsettling... (spoilers!)

I’m very late to the party, (about 15 years since this movie came out) but we had to watch this movie in science class in part of our lesson. I didn’t think too... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMichaels19 November 23, 2013

Don't See It

This movie sucks. Don't see it. It's boring and unrealistic. There's a brief amount of violence in it. A guy gets hit in the back of the head wit... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about whether they think that future generations will have the technology to access the Earth's core.

Movie details

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