The Core knows exactly what it is, and it's not ashamed. It's the kind of movie where someone says it's impossible to drill down to the center of the Earth and someone else says, "But what if we can!" and proceeds to show everyone how. Major world cities meet horrible devastation, and the Joint Chiefs convene emergency meetings, while our intrepid heroes go from place to place in helicopters. The entire plot is pure cliché.. but it's just so fun!
It knows how silly it is; the burrowing "ship" withstands huge pressures with a material called "unobtanium". The Core doesn't make the mistake of getting bogged down in too much exposition. I appreciated how the three month construction of the ship is squashed into a one-minute montage sequence. I wanted action and adventure without too much filler, and that's what I got.
One important thing is that the dialogue is quite pleasant and makes you like the characters. It's not just a bunch of dull banter with a few one-liners tossed in. It feels like someone actually spent some time writing the screenplay. The death scenes are each quite good in their own way, too. I particularly liked the last one, which succeeds in being funny in a sort of poignant way.
The action is well-paced and pretty interesting, partly because the journey to the center of the earth thing hasn't been done to death as much as space flight. The movie takes a lot of liberties with science, of course, but it does show us some pretty inventive new things that might be be described as "inpired by" science. :) I enjoyed all the apocalyptic city destruction. The Earth loses its magnetic field in the movie, and this gimmick allows for a variety of disasters, which is nice. I also thought the first problem they encounter underground (the static, for those who've seen it) was pretty clever.
(One thing I noticed in both this and in Shanghai Knights is that I enjoy scenes set in London more now that I've lived there, since I can get the satisfaction of recognizing the Houses of Parliament and such.)
Hm.. I was just thinking it's kind of interesting that I didn't feel as much of a need to complain about the bad science in The Core as I did when I watched Armageddon. I think it's because when a movie is boring, I amuse myself by thinking about all the scientific errors, but when a movie is actually fun to watch, I can just lose myself in it, and that's what happened when I watched The Core.