The Core

The Core (2003)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes

When I popped in ’The Core’ into my DVD player I didn’t expect much else than an ’Armageddon’-style popcorn movie with more special effects and action that logic or common sense. And that is exactly what ’The Core’ turned out to be. A movie that requires you to turn off your brain in order to stay with the absurd pseudo-scientific statements the movie makes and the wondrous, one-miracle-a-minute plotline in which a group of heroes dig into the Earth’s surface to go down to the core and save the world. The film starts out really well, with nicely set-up believable interferences in the Earth’s environment, but as soon as the word ’Unobtainium’ came up, I knew that this movie was going into brainless Nirvana fast.

Paramount is presenting ’The Core’ in anamorphic widescreen on this DVD in a transfer that is free of defects or blemishes and manages to maintain every bit of detail of the original film. Detail and sharpness are so good indeed that some of the special effects look unnaturally pasted-on, breaking the suspense of disbelief. Color reproduction is good and the presentation paints colorful hues and shades on the screen without bleeding or over-saturation. Black levels are also solid, creating firm shadows and deep blacks. The image is sharp but no signs of edge-enhancement are evident, maintaining a natural look throughout, while the compression is equally well-done without introducing artifacts.

The film boasts an impressive and very aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is as explosive as you would expect. Bombarding the viewer with sound effects from all directions, the track certainly adds to the experience of the movie. Bass extension is very pronounced with a big rumble and high ends are always clear. However, dialogues are a bit under-mixed and there’s always a big, distracting jump in volume as soon as music comes into play. Dolby Surround tracks in English and French are also supplied.

The DVD contains a commentary track by Jon Amiel that is exciting for those interested in special effects. A number of deleted scenes are also included, as well as a series of featurettes on the production of the film and the special effects in particular.

I found ’The Core’ to be entertaining, but that’s the extent of it. It is by no means a good movie and it is so hair-raising at times that you will shake your head. But as a popcorn movie, it is great. Bombastic, loud, fast and furious, sometimes we just need to give our brain a vacation, and ’The Core’ is the perfect occasion for that.