24. Geodynamics – A Question of Scale

In this episode of the podcast we discuss the 2003 sci-fi disaster film The Core, directed by John Amiel and released by Paramount Pictures. In this film, Aaron Eckhart stars as geophysicist Dr  Josh Keyes, who is tasked with leading a team to the centre of the Earth to re-start the Earth’s core, which has mysteriously stopped spinning. The absence of this spin has resulted in a weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field, which allegedly will collapse within a year, thereby exposing the planet’s surface directly to devastating solar radiation. Teaming up with a rag-tag bunch of heavily stereotyped scientists and other ‘experts’, the film plots the successes and deaths of the group as they nobly sacrifice themselves and their research for the good of mankind…


The film is, to be frank, ridiculous. And not even faintly so. This film is so ridiculous that any suspension of disbelief dissipates within the opening five minutes never to return. Be it hacking prodigies who can silence the entire Internet, electrical storms that wipe out major landmarks, or ultraviolet radiation that is in fact visible, the film appears to make absolutely no effort to even adhere to scientific reality.


We speak to Professor Steve Hoon from Manchester Metropolitan University about his take on the film. As a Professor in Applied Science and an expert in magnetic physics, Steve is well qualified to talk about the film’s excesses, and he ultimately puts everything down to a question of scale. Whilst certain elements within the film are believable, the filmmakers take absolutely everything to the nth degree, pushing past the realms of credibility and turning the film into a comedy, one in which The Core itself is the butt of all jokes.


If you have an evening free and you want to laugh (a lot) about just how wrong science fiction films can get it, then The Core is an absolute must see, if only for Aaron Eckhart’s explanation of cooking