The Core (PG-13)

Somewhere, Irwin Allen is smiling. The cheese wizard's spirit hovers approvingly over this disaster movie in which a crew of 'terranauts' rides a giant drill bit to the center of the Earth to atomically jump-start the stalled core. The cast is made up of reliable character actors rather than Allen's typical mix of big stars and 'Love Boat' old-timers in need of a life raft, but only Stanley Tucci's superstar scientist (who has Ñ tingle, tingle Ñ a secret to hide) hits just the right note. For the most part, the special effects are just as not-quite-state-of-the-art as you would want, and the whole thing neither pounds you into submission like 'Armageddon' nor leaves you awash in soapiness like 'Deep Impact.' On the other hand, the world won't stop if you wait to watch it on video with friends and pizza. (PH)

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