One of my favorite lost world settings is Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar. It is a primordial world existing on the underside of the earth's crust, with the central core of magma providing a perpetual noonday sun. The land is full of ancient mammals, dinosaurs and beautiful cave girls. The story begins with a eccentric inventor and his friend who plan to explore the earth's crust in an 'iron mole.' They go off course and plunge toward the center of the earth, finally surfacing in Pellucidar. They discover a world in which telepathic flying reptiles dominate, and human cave tribes are either on the run or enslaved. What do our plucky explorers do upon encountering this primeval world? They attempt to liberate the humans and civilize them!
There are a lot of cheesy 'Lost World' type movies. At the Earth's Core is certainly one of the cheesiest. I would never argue with those believe that this is a bad movie, but I love it.
The setting has a wonderful inner world feel with weird plants and a pale red sky. The caverns and tunnels are well developed. The iron mole looks very cool. The cave people and Sagoth costumes are adequate and cheesy in a fun '70s way. How about the dinosaurs and creatures? Hmm. The monsters in this movie are the lamest monsters to ever grace the silver screen. They set a standard for lameness that will probably never be surpassed. But as lame-o as the monsters are, they are a fun and active group. Several of them seem to have a propensity for exploding at the moment of death. That's always fun, isn't it? The Mahar telepathic powers are clearly presented with the eyes lighting up, the zzzzzz-zrt! sound, the eyelids closing. 'Cmon, admit it, it's a cool effect. And the way the Mahars swoop down upon the sacrificial cave girls, this scene actually provides a moment of horror, in spite of the lame Mahar costumes.
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing and Caroline Monroe are perfectly cast in the roles of David Innes, Abner Perry and Dian the Beautiful. I can no longer read the books without picturing these actors in the story. I could have watched many Pellucidar sequels with these actors. McClure is the perfect actor for any cheesy lost world adventure. Nobody - and I mean nobody - fights lame-o monsters like Doug McClure. The guy is brilliant. Check out the arena scene, where he faces off against a lame saber-toothed hippo thing. McClure swings, he grits, he staggers and strains. I love how he jukes the monster off balance to retrieve the spear head from underneath it. Yeah! What other actor would have put so much into that scene? Peter Cushing is certainly a far better actor than this movie deserves, and yet he gives a surprising and outrageous performance. Don't critique him too much for hamming it up, some of his lines are right out of the book, and the character calls for a goofball. Caroline Monroe looks like she just stepped out of a Frank Frazetta painting. Too bad her role is limited to being a mere one-dimensional love interest.
Sure, it is a cheesy movie. But if you can suspend disbelief and stay with this movie, you just might like it. No question, it is a challenge to hang in there, neither mocking the movie nor beating your head against the wall. If you can get in, and stay in, this is an amazing lost world movie. But you have to fight the cheesiness, you have to fight the lameness.
Review by retrorocketx from the Internet Movie Database.