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The Core

The only way out is in 

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jon Amiel 
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Greenwood  
An image from The Core

This fun sci-fi film breaks the mould of disaster movies by not being set in space, but at the centre of the planet. As strange events occur around the world, geophysicist Dr. Keyes (Eckhart) and a team of other specialists plan and travel to the Earth's core in the hope of restarting it and saving the lives of all those on the surface.

Its not a simple expedition: there's diamonds, lava and other obstacles to be dodged in a ship containing multiple nuclear warheads. The team must cope with all the setbacks they encounter on the way, unable to return to the surface until they complete their mission and save mankind.

The writers take a lot of liberties with the science involved, which is occasionally cheesy, but those on a science-based degree will find these amusing - unobtanium plays a key part in the mission! The plot is engaging and emotional, and you can sympathise with the PhD students who do all the geographical modelling in exchange for a guaranteed doctorate!

Whether you want to watch this film for the scientific inaccuracies, or for the exciting yet traumatic trip they undertake, it is well worth your time. WSC hasn't shown The Core in over 8 years, a mistake that we are keen to remedy.

Edward J McCutcheon


Disaster films are nearly always fun. Watching a selection of clichéd Hollywood stock characters getting burned / drowned / crushed / pummelled to death is always a joy. Of course, the miracles of modern film technique have made the pyrotechnic events even more important than the characterisations, something that particularly crippled Michael Bay’s extraordinarily brash Armageddon. Thankfully, Jon Amiel’s exciting, suspenseful and flashy epic manages to redress the balance, finding impressive drama both in the visual splendour of the effects and, most crucially, in the relationships and idiosyncrasies of the characters.

Across the world, many very bad things are happening to many people. Birds are attacking people for no reason (in a nice little homage to Mr Hitchcock), while elsewhere a group of people randomly collapses in the street dead – all they have in common is that they all wear pacemakers. It takes the obligatory boffins little time to determine that very bad things are happening beneath the Earth’s surface – in fact, the Earth has stopped spinning, and it has to be kick-started again before everyone dies. So a group of disparate individuals is brought together to tunnel through the various strata of the planet and set off explosions that will make the core rock and roll once again. Of course they encounter numerous problems (usually fiery) along the way, and their number decreases as sacrifices have to be made to ensure the salvation of the world.

The plot is, naturally enough, a veritable hokey-pokey, but this doesn’t detract from the pure, unadulterated entertainment that this film brings. It starts off with a selection of arresting set-pieces, then gives its characters room to develop, before sending them hurtling into the unknown and letting loose the fantastic special effects. The phallic rocket penetrating the Earth’s surface may provoke titters, and the human self-sacrifice may provoke sobs, while the effects may well provoke awe – witness the decimation of Rome – but whatever, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed by this wonderfully compelling, genuinely exciting roller-coaster ride to The Core.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2011/2012 Autumn Term (35mm)