Written by: Cooper Layne & John Rogers
Directed by: John Amiel
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, TchÃ©ky Karyo
My Advice: Matinee.
The Earth is dying. A strange unexplained shift in the rotation of the earth’s liquid outer core–which is different from the inner core, but still at the core–is causing havoc for the inhabitants of the surface world. That’s us, for those of you following along at home. So what is a team of brilliant scientist backed by all the industrial nations of the world and the might of the U.S. military going to do? Yep, you guessed it. Save six billion people.
I only say it like that because rarely in the movie did they say “save the world.” It was usually save six billion people, with utterly no regard for the twenty-four million domesticated dogs in the world, or cats, bats, lowland water buffaloes or any other species of life on the planet. But I’m just being picky; back to the movie.
You want it in one line, okay: witty, well paced and fun. That about sums it up. Oh, it has its problems, it’s definitely not the perfect movie, and plot holes abound–plot holes big enough to, well, drive the earth through. The science isâ€¦ wait for it, science fiction. Fiction being the key word here, since you put this movie in front of a bunch of geophysicists and they’ll laugh you out of the room. But the film never tries to be anything other than a setup for a planetwide disaster movie, so it’s okay.
The setup, the hook is good. The first thirty minutes of the movie have you reeling. It’s like Perry Mason meets MacGyver. It’s a mystery, but a different one in that it’s not really whodunit, but whatdunit. This progresses in a nice escalating style until all is explained, including what the problem is and how to fix it.
The cast was nicely picked. I have an affinity for Delroy Lindo and Stanley Tucci. I think both are excellent actors who rarely get their due. Tucci especially had one show stealing scene in this movie. But that’s just Tucci being Tucci– no surprises there. Eckhart and Swank were solid, handled their dialogue well, Eckhart a little better than Swank I thought but both did their jobs.
The movie is paced well, with no annoyingly unnecessary flashbacks, and no overly sentimental moments. There is the one “sane man’s” moment mentioned above which is delivered by Tucci, but that is so well done it had to be there. The key to the movie, or any movie of this genre, is balance. And while this one may tip the scales a little to the heavy handed approach, it doesn’t completely stray over into a high suck factor. It’s not beating you over the head with things. The director leaves enough of the movie to the viewer to keep you interested and not insult you.
For anyone who is willing to check their disbelief and preconceived notions at the door, you could have a lot of fun with it. See it on the big screen–because it’s a disaster movie, for crying out loud.