The Core (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.

March 23, 2023 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It’s movies like The Core that make you appreciate the really good movies that are available out there. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that we had a rash of “Earth Destruction” movies in Independence Day, Twister, Deep Impact and the king of them all – Armageddon. Well, no less than five years later, we’re in for round two and the premise is still the same, but the movie is not. Yes, each one of the aforementioned movies did have charm on some level (“Twister” did have some great sound, “Independence Day” showed us that a movie about all of Earth dying can still make $300 million, “Deep Impact” showed us…well, something and “Armageddon” like it or not, did establish Ben Affleck as a star and gave us a pretty good music video). So what does “The Core” have to offer you for your hard-earned dollars? Not too much. The film simply has a new twist on the disaster movies of the 50’s – 70’s. Yet this time the cast is a little more star-studded and the effects are a better (albeit by just a little).

We begin as a space shuttle crashes to Earth (at a point in time where the real thing happened not even two months before the movie was releases). The pilot (Bruce Greenwood) is determined to land in Los Angeles, whereas his co-pilot (Hilary Swank) has other ideas. Now why did this happen, you might ask? Well, there is a problem with the Earth’s magnetic field and it has reeked havoc on the guidance control system. Naturally, this will put a damper on the landing and when all is said and done, they ask the inevitable question “ … what caused this …” As Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) explains (by lighting a peach on fire, no less), the Earth’s core has stopped spinning and in less than a year, we’ll all die from microwaves (the solar kind) that will literally cook us alive. It’s at this point in the movie that I can see a super slow-motion shot of a group of “hot shots” walking down an elongated corridor dressed in some cool regalia without smiles on their faces that are going to save the day. Pardon the previous run-on sentence.

You see, when the Earth’s core has stopped spinning, things go to hell (or at least they’ll feel like it). So it’s up to this group of people to take a machine that can literally burrow into the core of the Earth and detonate nuclear weapons to hopefully jumpstart it again. Yeah it might work, and monkey’s might fly out of my butt as Wayne might say…In any case, we know that they’re not going to show us a movie where the entire planet is incinerated and aside from a few precious landmarks getting burnt, we generally know the ride we’re in for. It’s movies like The Core that show us how stupid Hollywood really thinks we are. But we showed them, critics and audiences alike didn’t really like the film and now it’s on DVD for us to demolish. The cast, I feel, is wasted on another cookie-cutter storyline. We even have a few Oscar-winners in here as well (so don’t blame the actors). But there’s a part of the film that does warrant a watch, I can’t totally dislike the film, I did make it to the end. If there’s nothing else at the video store, then give this a rental; otherwise know that if the Earth’s core ever does stop spinning, we probably won’t be alive long enough to worry about it.

Video: How does it look?

The last time I sat down and watched this was when it first came to DVD (yes, DVD not Blu-ray). And, looking back, that’s been two decades. Having said that, the film has now moved onto 4K and I do have to say that it looks better, but not by much. The color palette is warm (no pun intended) and the colors are somewhat soft and I was surprised at how good this looked. Granted some of the effects are cheesy and we can tell when the computers take over, but this isn’t the fault of the transfer. There’s some motion in some of the darker scenes, and while detail has been improved, it just didn’t have that same impact that I was hoping for. It’s good, but not great.

Audio: How does it sound?

As good as this film  sounds good, it was primed to contain a Dolby Atmos mix. Nope. Not here. As you might imagine, the LFE do take over from time to time and the surrounds are almost constantly active. Dialogue is not all that important, but what we do care about does sound very clean and natural. The movie lives up to most everyone’s expectations when it comes to sound and the DTS HD Master Audio mix doesn’t disappoint. Like the transfer, it’s passable but could have been a lot better.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Oddly, there are no supplements on this disc. Generally, when a movie is released on 4K they’ll throw in a Blu-ray with the supplements. Not the case here. Oddly, the old DVD and an Shout! Factory edition both exist with several supplements.

The Bottom Line

This is a head-scratcher for sure. We get a new release of a forgotten science-fiction movie from the early 2000’s with no supplements (even though plenty exist), a passable transfer and a by-the-book audio mix. This one is for serious fans only.

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