Armageddon

“Are ya gettin’ it? I’m armageddon it! Really gettin’ it? Armageddon it!”

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director: Michael Bay

Actors: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Will Patton, Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Buscemi

Year: 1998

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

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So of course I had this Def Leppard song in my head through much of Armageddon—partially, I’m sure, to block out the creepiness of the all-Aerosmith, all-the time soundtrack. Now this would be fine in any other movie, but when one of the stars is Steven Tyler’s own daughter Liv, am I the only one who thought it was even just a *little* creepy to have dad singing a power love ballad on the soundtrack while his daughter is on screen making out with Ben Affleck? OK, I know Steven grabbed Liv’s ass on the cover of Rolling Stone back in the day, also a major ew, but still… Ew.

Armageddon is one of those films, nay, one of those Jerry Bruckheimer films that never pretends to be anything less than what it is: a hugely expensive, and hugely popular blockbuster where things that go boom are top priority over any sort of realistic plot or character development. But do we expect anything less, really?

So, there is this asteroid heading straight for the Earth, and it is the size of Texas. A couple offhand comments seemingly explain why it was never noticed until it is days away from impact, but dammit! Something must be done! Especially because some international landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and downtown Manhattan have already been pummeled by space debris. Just an aside: Why don’t film disasters ever happen in, say, Dubuque, Iowa, or that big field to the left of Walla Walla, Washington? I’m just sayin’.

Anyways, Billy Bob Thornton (bless his heart for showing up) is left in charge of the U.S. government’s effort to solve this problem, and he and his people decide that two space shuttles must be deployed ASAP with nukes on board. The shuttles will then boomerang around the moon, and LAND on said asteroid. THEN the astronauts will drill hundreds of feet into the asteroid, plop a nuclear device down the hole, and BOOM! Problem solved. REALLY.

Because of course someone at NASA has a list of the best hole-drillers in the world on hand, they know to call Bruce Willis and his scrappy gang of hole drillers, including Ben Affleck (who is making out with Bruce’s daughter Liv Tyler), Steve Buscemi, Michael Clark Duncan, and a bunch of other colorful roughnecks. They are given insta-NASA training, then shot into space to git’ r’ done.

Now that is the whole plot, which is rather simple, really. But director Michael Bay, as we know from his other bloated flicks like Transformers and Pearl Harbor, seems to need at least 2-1/2 hours to tell his tales, so the film goes on and on, even if you can call the ending in the first half hour.

Armageddon can be best summed up by the scene where Ben Affleck is saying goodbye to his girlfriend Liv before getting on the space shuttle. He starts warbling “Leaving on a Jet Plane” in a cutesy way. First it is kind of funny. But then it keeps going. And going. You start thinking, “Now this has got to stop soon, right?” But it doesn’t. Then to encourage the gratuitous moment, the rest of the characters join in, and a vaguely entertaining moment turns into an overly long scene that makes you want to poke your eyes out. Basically, expand that feeling to a feature film, and you’ve got Armageddon.

BLU-RAY NOTES

The Blu-Ray release of Armageddon spares no expense, as in, they didn’t even make an effort. Sure, you’ve got the hi-def image for your home theater and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound, but as for extras? An Aerosmith video of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (again, ew). Except for some trailers, that it!

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