The subject our most recent Doomer Fiction / disaster film review is “The Core” (2003). Oddly enough, this is one I’d never seen before, which is unusual, since I’m a big movie buff.
The story begins with a strange cross-section of 30 or so people all inexplicably dropping dead within a radius of only a few city blocks from one another.
The government calls in leading scientists to advise, fearing that the deaths may have been the result of some new EMP weapon — it turns out that all of the deceased individuals had pacemakers that suddenly stopped working. Upon hearing from the experts that a weapon is unlikely to have been the cause, however, they lose interest in delving further into the mystery. One of these scientists (played by Aaron Eckhart) is unhappy about leaving one side of the equal sign blank, though. Soon after, a flock of pigeons goes nuts in London, randomly flying into stationary objects as well as people and causing a fair bit of damage and injuries (only the latest in a string of unusual bird activity), and this same scientist begins to realize that the strange events occurring are tied somehow to the Earth’s magnetic field. And he fervently hopes that the theory formulating in his mind is wrong.
Meanwhile, astronauts returning to Earth on a reentry vector are thrown way off-course, due to some sort of atmospheric interference and only narrowly avoiding a fiery crash into downtown Los Angeles. This, coupled with auroras appearing over Washington, D.C. serve to bring the severity of the problem into stark contrast.
It is, quite simply, the end of all life on Earth as a result of the core of the planet no longer spinning, the end result of which will be the loss of our EM field that protect us from solar radiation.
What follows is a very entertaining story involving an audacious plan (involving scientists, astronauts, and a hilarious computer hacker) to use experimental technology to burrow into the Earth’s core and restart it spinning with a large nuclear detonation.
Some elements are more science-fiction than science and the computer hacking scenes are ludicrous, but the Geology/Earth Science stuff is spot-on. In fact, one of the reviewers on Amazon is a teacher who mentioned showing it in their Earth Science classroom every term. Most importantly, though, it passes the biggest test for a film: it makes for a really fun couple of hours.