the earth's core has stopped spinning which means no geomagnetic forces, which means no protection from the sun's deadly rays, birds turn kamikaze after losing their sense of navigation, and some people just drop dead, starting in boston of all places. and wouldn't you know it? it's the US government that screwed up the core rotation, which we don't find out until later in the movie but the plot is so easy to read that it's not hard to figure it out. a team of specialists are assembled: professor josh keyes (played by aaron eckhart, who is an ugly version of thomas jane, or as dan pointed out, an older version of seann william scott) who originally figures out that earth's days are numbered, french nuclear weapons specialist serge (tcheky karyo, the ubiquitous french actor whenever an american movie needs a frenchman), braz (delroy lindo) the inventor of the ship that will take them down to the center of the earth (and please don't ask, no, they don't find mole people, but there are diamonds the size of cape cod, "cape cod" being the new standard in which diamond sizes are measured), space shuttle pilot rebecca aka "beck" (hilary swank), her more experienced and older pilot mentor bob iverson, a deliciously smug carl saganesque doctor conrad zimsky (stanley tucci), with hacker taz "rat" finch (dj qualls, so ugly that he's beautiful) back at mission control "hacking the planet."
the core features a few touchy subjects, which probably at the time it was made was probably a non-issue. it features a scene of the space shuttle crash landing (oh, be sure to listen carefully to the creepy crash landing music, i know i'm going to have nightmares now because of it), which in light of the most recent shuttle disaster i could see why the studio postponed the release of the movie. the core also features a loveable french character, which once again in light of the anti-french sentiments sweeping much of the brainwashed country, seems like a questionable choice of character. lastly, the movie portrays a world where countries work together in order to solve this problem of the earth's core not spinning anymore. the notion that the US plays well with other countries seems so last year compared to developing situation within the past month.
the core is also heavily steeped in analogy. whenever they need to explain something, they resort to analogy, which i guess makes complex scientific concepts more palatable, but after a while it gets a little ridiculous. the earth is at one time like the human body, like an engine, and also like a burning peach. denotating nuclear weapons in order to jump start the spinning of the earth's core is likened to skipping stones.
when watching the core, also keep an eye on the tragic pairing of the expedition team. not to give anything away, but each character has a friend who will through the course of the trip find tragedy in one shape or another.
the bottomline is the core is a fun movie, and a good time can be had by anyone who watches it, whether to be engrossed in this special effects ladened action movie, or maybe to read into the suggestive imagery as the phallic shaped ship plunges deep into the earth's core. for my money though, i still like armageddon, despite the fact that at times its too heavy on the bruckheimerisms.