Remember how I was, like, 'I love this horrible stupid piece of shit movie so much let me eviscerate it on my blawg O NOES WHERE DID IT GO!?' And how I felt like all meaning was gone from my life and I was a shell of my former existence because The Instant pulled the movie practically the same day they put it up? Well, the balance in the universe has been redressed. Order has been restored. Meaning has returned to my life. It's back in the queue. *sobs a little*
Delroy Lindo's gaping mouth. The dildo ship. Science so dumb that dinosaur-riding Nazis on the moon seem to have a better handle on things than the people in charge of this shitshow. THE CORE!
Recently I watched the 'Honest Trailer' for 'Interstellar,' starring that Texas Longhorn in the gif above, and, like all the 'Honest Trailers,' it was on point. I'm going to approach 'The Core' the same way: with a straight-up throw-down. Any overblown movie that purports to be all science-y and gripping, full of skilled actors mouthing terrible dialogue, deserves to get beat like a redheaded stepchild.
This is one of those movies - there are several on this blawg - which came out much later in history than I believed possible when watching it, meaning I can't reconcile the available technology with the execution. This one's from 2003, a full decade after 'Jurassic Park.' All movies with big effects in them get to have 'Jurassic Park' used against them as a measuring stick. Deal with it, crappy filmmakers! Digital dinosaurs from ten years earlier look better than every single thing in your movie, including the real shit!
A quick plot refresher: the urf is going to die because its core stopped spinning and some Academy Award-nominated people have to go there and fix it with nukes (the solution to everything in the movies). Cool?
The title sequence, which is on fire with Photoshop filters, bleeds into the opening shot, which is at a carnival with balloons and stilt-walkers in it. Joel Schumacher didn't have anything to do with this, did he? Nope! Just director Jon Amiel, a guy who graduated Cambridge and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and writers John Rogers, a guy responsible for 'Transformers,' and Cooper Layne, a guy with a stripper's name. I'm glad we're in such capable hands. Inside an office building, a dude we don't care about keels over dead, while outside at the carnival, a bunch more people do the same. Because the guy who keeled over checked his stopped watch seconds before he died, everyone watching this movie knows instantly that something magnetic happened, and therefore all the dead people probably had pacemakers. This clearly telegraphed piece of information is 'revealed' like 5 minutes later, for the audience members who got up to go to the bathroom 1 minute into the movie.
Cross-fade to a classroom, where Indiana Jones is teaching some disinterested college students about the urf. Or, rather, 2003's idea of Indiana Jones, which is an unshaven, square-jawed guy with frosted tips in a Goodwill sweater, using big words like 'oscilloscope.' He is SO COOL because he uses a trumpet for a demonstration! Then some G-Men come in and this exchange happens:
G-Man: Dr. Joshua Keyes?
Indiana Jones: Maybe!
G-Man: Yes or no, sir.
Indiana Jones: Uh, the first one.
I said the dude who wrote this, wrote 'Transformers,' right? Just checking.
Indiana Jones is flown to a warehouse, where Bob from 'La Femme Nikita' (I'm giving the guy some credit here) is banging angrily at a Pepsi dispenser.
Bob yells "You're always late!" at Indy. Late for what, his Pepsi break? Then they walk away from the Pepsi dispenser, because I guess Bob wasn't thirsty after all, or maybe he remembered he had an endorsement deal with Coke instead. Bob asks why Indy isn't married, because that follows, of course, and then he says some misogynistic shit that the writers probably thought felt French somehow. Bob and Indy go into a room full of tanks and dead bodies - because the government usually stores those two things together - and exclaim, "We're in the wrong place!" But the great Richard Jenkins - who must throw up in his mouth a little every time he remembers he made this movie - tells them, "If you were in the wrong place, you'd already have been shot." Meaning, if they'd been in a Coke warehouse instead? Jeez, the Soda Wars really were dangerous!
Richard Jenkins tells them everything is "totally classified" (urk) and gets them to guess how all the people died. Then, that scene is over. Awesome.
Over in London, all the pigeons in Trafalgar Square spaz out and go on a kamikazi spree that feels like it lasts for like a third of the movie but is actually like a minute long, which tells you just how well the pacing is handled. It just keeps going on and on, with digital pigeons smashing into everything and people running and screaming and running some more, even though the scare factor for birds spazzing out was put paid to in 1963. Back in Indiana Jones's lab, he and his motley bunch of assistants Get It Together (TM The 80s) by rushing around typing furiously on computers, and figure out something about the Sedona Vortex, or some shit like that.
Indy tells them that if they Get It Together, he will "sign their doctorates blindfolded, go directly to PhD." Wait, really? That's all it takes to get a PhD? If only life were like a 90s movie! (Or, a movie from 2003, whatever.)
Meanwhile, in SPACE, the dear old space shuttle is twirling around, manned by some guy and the Karate Kid III. There's usually something very capable-sounding about how Hilary Swank speaks, but her fake astronaut style here is as believable as the premise of this movie, so I'm instantly put off. Her co-pilot shits all over her request to land the shuttle, but that's OK, because we're fairly sure the rest of this plot will revolve around her getting to help save the planet (note: HELP. Not save. HELP. She's a girl, so she can't do it all by herself.). What peril befalls our poorly-done digital spaceship? O NOES THE SEDONA VORTEX HAS MOVED THE SPACE SHUTTLE TO LAND IN THE MIDDLE OF LOS ANGELES!?!
We know the shit is really going down because some terrible "music" starts hammering into our skulls and everyone starts rushing around typing furiously on computers. Karate Kid GOT DIS, though, because women in these kinds of movies are forced to show their condescendingly-written co-stars that they also have good ideas about how to land space shuttles. The shuttle flies over a Dodger game, which is a totally never-before-seen cliche, and heads to the LA River. Karate Kid says the same pile of numeric mumbo-jumbo that all movies like this use to convince us about SCIENCE and, in a torturously long sequence, the space shuttle lands in what's left of our river. It slows to a stop like 6 inches from a dude working on scaffolding who somehow couldn't tell that the fucking space shuttle was about to run him over. I believe everything about this movie!
Indiana Jones goes running after Stanley Tucci, who's looking dapper in a black scarf and a lace front, and tells him to read his paper about how the world's gonna end because it's "about the end of the world." Sure! Utterly convincing. In Tooch's office, he seems fairly distraught about the end of the world. Tooch pulls out a secret file full of secrets, which we know is secret because it says 'SECRET' on it in huge red letters. WOT IS DIS!? I'm sure we'll find out at some critical juncture.
So! Because Karate Kid thought fast and saved her crew and the space shuttle, she's being punished by the military. Richard Jenkins, the bearer of these bad tidings, isn't too broken up about it, though, because in the most terrible line of dialogue (in a movie full of terrible dialogue), he's informed by Tooch that "destiny may have caught up with them." Why is this so terrible, you ask?
JUST YOU WAIT!?!?!!11!!
Our intrepid scientists Bob and Indy are getting drunk. Because the government apparently knows everything, the same G-Men from earlier (or, as Indy calls them, "my best buddies") show up at whatever random bar they're at, and another stellar exchange happens:
Indiana Jones: Why don't you join us for a drink?
G-Man: We'd be grateful if you could join us for a ride, sir.
Indiana Jones: And if I were to say no?
G-Man: Well, we have no sense of humor. And we're armed.
I don't even understand that dialogue! If only I had an insta-PhD like Indy's motley assistants.
The scientists gather with some military brass so everyone can learn some SCIENCE through expository dialogue. This is the scene I always make fun of when teaching story development, because it's so ludicrous: in a nutshell, a Scruffy Hero tells a Gruff General that the world's gonna end, while a Sexy Librarian (Tooch, in this case) reads from a Secret Book about some hidden code that will bring the aliens to help, or whatever, and someone asks, "Are you telling me the world is gonna end?" Sound familiar? Like from every movie like this one, EVER? So Indy comes in the room while the camera suspiciously lingers on what looks like craft services in the foreground. Why is there so much food laid out at an urgent meeting about the end of the world? COULD THERE BE AN ULTERIOR PLOT MOTIVE? Or maybe Richard Jenkins wanted one of Bella Swan's architectural salads for lunch? Nope, it's so Indy can use a convenient peach to teach us idiots about the urf, because nobody ever learned about the crust, mantle, and core in school.
I couldn't find a picture from the movie of him doing that, so instead here's James and his giant peach. Much better anyhow, right?
The core of the urf has stopped spinning (just go with it and all the rest of the dipshit SCIENCE in this movie - what the director told 'National Geographic' was science faction, not science fiction), right? Richard Jenkins wants to know why. Indy says "WE DON'T KNOW." Richard Jenkins shakes his head. Ookay, never mind, then! Some other imaginary SCIENCE gets discussed while Indy and Tooch, the camera trucking dramatically around them, torch the peach like Rob Lowe torching Demi Moore's bedroom in 'St. Elmo's Fire' to demonstrate the sun incinerating the urf. Indy then tells everyone they have his permission to throw up. Yeah, those architectural salads full of big pickled corn are puke-worthy, that's for sure!
But they can go into the center of the urf, right? Because they've already gone into space? Indy says some offensive shit like "Space is easy! It's empty!" (Sure, tell that to all the astronauts who went into space) but despite that, they're still gonna try. They just need someone to build them an urf ship! Enter Delroy Lindo, who has the dumbest opening line of dialogue an actor could hope for: upon seeing Tooch he asks, "Why the hell aren't you dead yet?" Uh - what, exactly, does he mean by that nonsensical question? Does Tooch have a hit on him by the Sons of Anarchy? Is he a daredevil BASE jumper in his spare time? Nobody cares, because Delroy's about to demonstrate his giant laser thingie that can drill through a mountain. Aside: I don't understand why the mountains around them aren't riddled with giant laser holes from him testing it. Anyone? No? Then Delroy shows them how the laser won't cut through some magic metal he made called unobtanium (I know), and if he had 50 billion dollars he could make some more magic metal and build an urf ship. Richard Jenkins wants to know if he'll take a check. For 50 billion dollars. Sure! FYI, the real Indy played that bit SOOO much cooler in 'Clear and Present Danger.'
I bet that was Harrison Ford's real helicopter that they used, the one he gets baked in and flies around Jackson Hole, buzzing herds of cattle.
Crazy techno music tells us it's time to introduce the hacker character, who - according to the rules of shitty story development - actually should have been at that SCIENCE meeting about the end of the world. Hacker (who has a dumb Inter Net name I don't care about), when confronted by the Man, asks Tooch how many languages he speaks. Tooch speaks 5, but Hacker speaks one! Binary zero one zero one zero beep boop! Uh - doesn't he mean two? Because he also speaks English, if I'm not mistaken.
While Hacker uses a gum wrapper to play the harmonica and give Indy "free long distance forever" (oof) on his cell phone, he tells them their plan to have him save the world won't work, because "nobody controls the Net." You guys KNOW I love it when the movies calls it THE NET!
Well, with some Hot Pockets in hand, Hacker WILL control the Net, so we're good there.
The military decides not to throw the beat-down onto Karate Kid for fucking up the space shuttle, which is good, because we need her to do something really important: tie Indy's tie for him. I shit you not! Incredibly misogynistic line of dialogue to follow:
Indiana Jones: You're an astronaut and you can tie a Windsor? Is there anything you can't do?
Hm. I dunno, is there? I mean, how on urf could someone know how to tie a man's tie along with knowing other things like, say, math, or physics, or smart people stuff like that? How the FUCK could she cram something other than being an astronaut into her tiny brain? It is:
All righty! It's time to Get It Together (TM the 80s). In a montage we get: the dildo ship built, computers doing calculations, voice-over exposition explaining every single thing we already see on-screen, the Hacker using his kung-fu to Hack The Planet (TM this movie), and the terranauts learning to drive the dildo using teamwork. The urf is experiencing weather shenanigans of the Disaster Movie variety, where everybody starts getting electrocuted with purple lighting - including a bunch of exploding monuments in Rome, confusingly - and, according to both Karate Kid and the Hacker, "This does not look good! We should check this out!" Time to hop on board Virgil, the corkscrewing dildo ship of dreams, and journey to the center of the urf!
Here's a picture of Virgil, bt-dubs, resting elegantly in a forest of amethysts like a giant resting his dick on a shag carpet.
Virgil penetrates the surface of the ocean (ggh) and then, after swimming with some digital whales (ghghgh), penetrates the bottom of the ocean in a glowing pile of splooge while everyone screams "DO IT!?" (ghghghhhg). They're in!
As the terranauts plow (tee hee) deeper into the urf, we get a lot of fascinating (/sarcasm) shots of the dildo in rock, in, uh, space (TOLD you guys SPACE was hard!), in more splooge, and in the amethyst forest, where it gets busted. The guys put on some loose-fitting astronaut suits and go wander around outside, despite having just told us that the pressure outside is like 800,000 pounds per square inch and the temperature is 5000 degrees. That's not what causes problems, though. It's the fact that magma starts splooging around them from a hole the dildo ship made in the rock (tee hee)! And that, my friends, is what kills the misogynistic captain, who sinks to his death like Gollum in Mount Doom. Indy does some heroic shit, which provides him the opportunity to get his shirt off while having a tender moment with Karate Kid, and for them to flirt and smile as though that other dude didn't just melt to death like 90 seconds earlier. BUT THEN! Bad stuff happens and the movie kills off ANOTHER guy - Bob! Poor Bob is trapped in the ass-end of the dildo while Delroy, attempting to jimmy the stuck door, starts crying like a bitch and sobbing, "I don't know what to do!" Jeez, I'm glad the future of the planet is with these girl's blouses. Then, because Indy is mad that his friend got killed, he shame-screams at Karate Kid, who cannot seem to catch a break from these assholes. I mean, it's probably because she's a woman, and deserves it, right?
After some computer graphics tell us that the nuclear warheads won't re-start the core, and Tooch verbally lists all the reasons to continue the next 50 minutes of the movie, Richard Jenkins initiates Destiny. But wait a sec - isn't that a line of dialogue from earlier? Something about destiny? Why yes, it is. Are you ready?
Tooch: It's a device. Deep Earth Seismic Trigger Initiative. D.E.S.T.I.N.I. (Wait, that doesn't really spell that.) We had reason to believe our enemies (tl;dl, something about a thing that makes earthquakes)...So, we built one too! M.A.D.! Mutually Assured Destruction!
Also, more calamities are happening. According to Hacker, invisible microwaves were looking for a hole and they found one. (tee hee, he said 'hole.')
You're goddamned right it did! The invisible microwaves (which are visible in this movie, because SCIENCE) penetrate the hole (tee hee) and start creeping across the ocean towards the Golden Gate Bridge, frying all the fish in it, in a scene eerily reminiscent of that one movie where Jake Gyllenhaal had to outrun ice:
I was gonna try and find a picture from that movie, but you're welcome.
San Francisco gets zapped by the invisible microwaves, and Richard Jenkins - acting as hard as he can - tells us that D.E.S.T.I.N.I. (tee hee) needs more juice to fire. Hacker and Indy have a super-sneaky code to pass super-secret messages - this being a time before you could covertly just text someone with your phone in your lap - so they pass messages about circumventing Richard Jenkins's evil plan to destroy who cares what. The Hacker's gonna Hack The Planet and help save the day! Meanwhile, down in the dildo, everyone is sweating and computing, but it takes Tooch lecturing them about fluid dynamics 101 (yes, that's a line of dialogue too) for them to crack open the case of the Why Won't The Nukes Asplode The Core? The guys figure it all out, while Karate Kid was apparently in the bathroom, because girls can't do math. While computers compute even harder and everyone sweats even more, Hacker starts crying (I SHIT YOU NOT) because he can't Hack the Planet. I thought there was no crying in hacking!
Delroy sacrifices himself to do some shit with the nukes. He puts on his droopy astronaut suit, goes back to the ass end of the dildo, and somehow manages to stay alive in 9000 degree heat while metal is melting all around him. Then he goes out in a blaze o' glory while Tooch ponders the cinematic truism that since he evidently isn't good-looking enough to end up with the only female left inside the planet, he's probably the next to go!
BUT YOU GAIZ Richard Jenkins is pulling the trigger on D.E.S.T.I.N.I.?! It's time for Hacker to save the day. At the last second he Hacks The Planet, busts into NASA or wherever, and stops D.E.S.T.I.N.I. while it's time for Tooch to bite it. Now there are only two of them left, and we know neither of them will die, because they haven't made out yet. We're good to finish this shitbomb out! Indy does something with radiation, or nukes, or something, and has a crazy idea about how to Asplode The Core that I'm fairly sure is a made-up piece of SCIENCE that all these geniuses should have figured out ten minutes into this movie, but didn't until the end, because otherwise everyone would have left the theatre to go see Return of the King for the 8,462th time. As with all movies of this ilk, the very end becomes a wacky scramble to Save The Planet wherein all the super-advanced technology in the world can't do the job of a bit of old-fashioned American elbow grease. See Exhibit A, 'Independence Day':
We can take down ANY UNSTOPPABLE FORCE if we just put our minds to it!
So, because Indy and Karate Kid figured it out, they get to kiss, and then they get to take a crazy ride back to the surface in their dildo, streaking through the urf like the Magic Schoolbus rocketing through someone's colon. Because the Core Asploded, according to Hacker, "The planet's healing itself!" Thank god for handy-dandy tropes!
The dildo blorps its way out of the urf to gently rest, turd-like, on the bottom of the ocean. How are they gonna contact everyone? What do you guys think - will it be through some dogshit plot point brought up during Act 2, at the start of their Journey To The Center Of The Urf? Do you think - wait, guys - could it be -
That's right, fools! THE FUCKING DIGITAL WHALES SAVE THE DAY WIF SONARS!
At the very end of the movie - because that's where we are, you guys, it's finally the end of this excruciating journey - it's all down to Hacker. He goes into a cyber cafe in Venice - which feels charmingly last-century, somehow - and puts a bunch of top-secret files full of secrets right out in plain view on the table. What is he doing with those files, you wonder? Nothing, he's just put them there so he can put a Hot Pocket on top of them. Then, he pushes a button on his laptop, like ya do, and Hacks The Planet to widely spread pictures of the terranauts who bravely piloted a dildo into the deepest crevasses of our great Mother.
So, to recap, here is the SCIENCE embraced by this movie - or, at least, what I took away from it, and let's remember I got booted out of 10th grade Chemistry:
1. Invisible microwaves are visible when movie cameras capture them.
2. Girls can't do math. Or drive the space shuttle.
3. The core of the urf can be asploded and make the urf go in the opposite direction. Or, something.
4. Whales are our friends.
Is it the worst movie ever made? No, there are probably others. Is it the worst movie Richard Jenkins ever made? Well, he was in 'Eat, Pray, Love,' so, you got me there. But it definitely sucks some serious wang, and therefore it gets: