It is quite possible that this movie appeared a safe bet at the first pitch meeting.
The Earth’s core has stopped spinning – team up as many cool “A” list actors as possible, place them into a giant burrowing machine, surround them with state of the art effects and watch as box office receipts climb as they drill their way heroically to the centre of the earth.
Unfortunately, with the exception of a slumming Hilary Swank, most of Hollywood’s elite must have been out when the casting call came. In their place, we have Aaron Eckart, Delroy Lindo, Tcheky Karyo & Stanley Tucci, all fine actors in their own right but unlikely to excite the Multiplex crowds.
Despite this limitation, very special effects might still save the day. Sadly what would have been jaw dropping 5 years ago, will leave most modern movie goers, feeling short changed. Stuff blows up and we see the “Terranauts” burrowing to the Earth’s centre (together with handy progress indicator at mission control) but none of it looks remotely real and is all curiously un-involving.
In this situation, the last roll of the dice would be a cracking script full of 21st Century irony. Throw in a few nods to the environment and personal sacrifice for good measure and we could have a movie. What we get is the Earth with a damaged core, which can only be restarted by drilling to the centre of the earth, tossing in a few nuclear weapons and be home in time for the ticker tape parade.
Following a botched (in every sense) landing of the NASA Space Shuttle in a downtown LA storm drain, the Earths slight health issue is detected. This initially manifests itself by people dying in presentations, pigeons flying into windows and Rome & San Francisco having a really, really bad day
Shocked into action, a plan is hatched to jump start the core which requires the use of a sophisticated drilling machine. Fortunately, Dr Ed (Lindo) happens to have one under tarpaulin, just requiring a lick of paint. Within three months the machine is ready, and the crew trained. In reality Major Childs (Swank), would still be on her book signing tour for her Space Shuttle exploits. The mission is launched in the Mariana Trench, which in a rare concession to reality, should save a mile or two of drilling. Needless to say, nothing else goes according to plan. Before long, clichéd deaths behind bulk head doors & suicidal repair jobs further rob the cast of talent.
Why, when the laser equipped drilling machine could blast through anything, would it weave a seemingly erratic path?
If you could make road by going through anything, why would you make corners?
Perhaps to test the machines rock holding?
There are some oblique references to avoiding black stuff but this was obviously considered technical enough for the Saturday night crowd. The cause of the whole initial disaster might have been as a result of Dr Zimski’s (Tucci) government work, “Project Destiny”. This however is not explored in detail, presumably so as not to possibly distract audiences unnecessarily from the main story.
The only moments of interest occur when the actors are allowed to interact with each other without some risible effect in the back or foreground. When will directors learn that you cannot sustain an entire movie on effects?
The audience must believe in the characters before they get crushed by pressure, skewered by crystals or incinerated by 18,000c heat.
There is nothing of note to recommend here, apart from how not to make a movie of this genre.
A truly boring story in every sense, with clunky dialogue effects and story. Avoid, unless you are studying film and need further examples of poor characterisation and miscasting for your end of year thesis.