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I'm kind of on the side of thinking that I'm a fan of this one. The film does seem geared towards boys under the age of 14 years, but an adult can place himself in a certain frame of mind for this. I liked the whole beginning, taking place in Burroughs' Victorian Age, as the two heroes (McClure & Cushing) prepare to descend into the Earth in their machine, to the acclaim of a small Victorian crowd (didn't the first sci-fi film, A Trip to the Moon-1902 have a similar scene?). Most of the FX involve back projection, looks like to me. There are 'men-in-suits' - some of these reminded me of The Land Unknown, from the fifties, in terms of the dinosaur suits.
Once down below, we're presented with an ochre-colored or scarlet-tinged sub-world, filled with faintly mythological-looking beasts. The creatures in this one, rather than looking scary and monstrous, come across as sympathetic to me. McClure, for example, battles one in an arena; it resembles a clumsy hippo and I felt sorry for it when it lost. Likewise, later, there's this toad-like beastie which shoots flame and is killed by Cushing with a bunch of arrows; poor thing, I thought. Yes, the beasts look fake, but you gotta be in a frame of mind, remember? I had no sympathy for the ruling chicken-like Mahars, however, who were pretty annoying. Kill 'em all, I say - I'm with McClure on that one.
The middle third of this film I find to be a bit on the slow side; the scenes in the arena are too long. The nicknames of some natives are amusing: the toughest guy whom McClure has to fight is called 'The Ugly One;' another is named 'The Sly One' - this may have been taken from Burrough's original story; I did read it, but that was over 30 years ago. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
This was director Kevin Connor's follow-up to THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT (1975); but, it wasn't a sequel to that one; the sequel to that one was THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT in 1977. The latter film had Dana Gillespie as a cave-girl; AT THE EARTH'S CORE, of course, has Caroline Munro.
Please, no comments on the phallic nature of the machine, pointed at Munro. Purely accidental
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