|AT THE EARTH'S CORE
|Copyright 1976 Amicus Productions.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'
- Dr. Perry - Peter Cushing! Bumbling scientist that invented "The Iron Mole," a wondrous tunneling machine capable of moving at seventy-eight feet per minute through solid rock.
- David - Doug McClure! Brawny younger man and financier of the tunneling invention. If your tribe is ever beset by hypnotic and intelligent pteranodons you should call him.
- Princess Dia - Caroline Munro! Honestly she does very little besides run around in a prehistoric woman outfit and capture David's heart.
- Ra - Chief who helps David in convincing the tribes to fight their enslavers. He defeats several enemies in man to pig-man (explain in a minute) combat and is consumed in a wave of molten lava.
- Hoojah the Sly One - A skinny sly guy. Almost eaten by Barney's ancestor, but lucky him, he dies by being covered in lava.
- Jubal the Ugly One - A big ugly guy of course. Not donating to the gene pool any more after David spears him.
- The Majars - Intelligent pteranodons with telepathic and hypnotic powers, their air horn voices command respect. Until Dr. Perry reinvents the bow and arrow that is...
- The Sagaths - Pig-men and servants to the Majars, these guys speak the ultimate in Pig Latin.
|When the film starts the plot is already on its feet and running, so you had better be ready folks. What appears to be a huge auger is constructed and moved by locomotive to a promising mountain, only then do characters appear to answer some desperate questions. The massive contraption is a revolutionary drilling machine and the function tests are about to be conducted, not by a miner or engineer, but by the inventor and financier.
You should have guessed that something goes wrong, overcome by heat and battered unconscious the explorers are carried deep into our planet. Despite almost hitting the center they never encounter molten rock, it's astounding. I'm quite certain a number of geophysicists are driven into apoplectic seizures by this film, it amuses me.
What they do encounter is a subterranean world populated by all sorts of fantastic beasts and primitive people. Any place with lava flowing freely is hardly paradise (disclaimer: except Hawaii), but when a race of merciless creatures like the Majars rules over it things are much worse. Oppression and avian tyranny are everything the Victorian Man was against, so the two wayward trailblazers struggle to overthrow the Majars' empire.
I decided to do a bit of math concerning David and Dr. Perry's unguided trip through the Earth, since a handy display was kind enough to indicate they traveled almost to the core before heading back up. Nasa's website tells me the planet is 12,756 km in diameter. We can safely assume they traveled at least half that distance (6,378 km) and multiplying by 0.62 gives us 3,954 miles. The machine can tunnel through solid rock at 78 ft per minute, let us say it can travel ten times that fast under ideal conditions. So we get a top speed of about 780 ft per minute, rounding up you will identify this as 9 miles an hour - not bad under steam power. All this is to illustrate that the two men would have been unconscious for almost three weeks to travel such a distance!
Most people would call that a coma.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Some of the worst offenses against humanity were committed by Victorian fashion designers.
- The center of the Earth is a solid block of ice.
- Light in underground caverns is provided by lava flowing across the ceiling, held in place by centrifugal force. (Hey, you try explaining it.)
- Rhinoceroses were made with four legs for a reason.
- Prehistoric humans did not have surnames, but everyone received a descriptive phrase attachment.
- Having excitable pig-men around is bad, but it is worse when they have whips and spears.
- Reeds can be quickly converted into arrows and are capable of killing large animals.
- Big guys carry big maces.
- Explorers always pack an extra set of fine clothes for joyous departures.
- 7 mins - Your drilling machine is a long tube, of course it can't turn on a dime.
- 15 mins - I think Polly wants to bite your head off.
- 30 mins - Molten lava was pouring over the bridge moments ago and now it's cool?
- 40 mins - That looks like a carnivorous plant.
- 41 mins - Hey guys, the plant is trying to eat you.
- 42 mins - David! Ra! Man-eating plant! Oh, now you see it.
- 57 mins - Conclusive proof that Barney's ancestors were viscous predators.
- 64 mins - Giant fire toad out of nowhere!
- 68 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST FOLIAGE!
- 73 mins - Great battle plan David, you must have been Alexander the Great in a previous life...
- David: "Well if we're not on Earth doc then where the hell are we?"
Dr. Perry: "From my observations dear friend I can positively state that we are under it."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Reporter: "Ah, that is what you call it, the 'Iron Mole.'" |
David: "That's what I call it, Dr. Perry here calls it a high calibration digging machine."
Dr. Perry: "It'll bore through solid rock at a rate of seventy-eight feet per minute!"
||David: "I escaped from the Majars' city." |
Ra: "No one can escape from the Majars' city."
||Majars doing their air horn telepathy thing.
||Dr. Perry: "You cannot mesmerize me, I'm British!"
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