Armageddon (1998)

armageddon_1998_poster
Armageddon (1998)
  • Time: 150 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler

Storyline:

An asteroid the size of Texas is heading directly toward Earth at 22,000 mph. NASA’s executive director, Dan Truman, has only one option – to send up a crew to destroy the asteroid. He enlists the help of Harry S. Stamper – the world’s foremost deep core oil driller – and Stamper’s roughneck team of drillers to land on the asteroid, drill into its surface, and drop a nuclear device.

4 comments

  • “Armageddon” was good entertainment. Lots of action, explosions, special effects and suspense. For me, it was not Bruce Willis’ best performance, but still good, while Ben Affleck delivers a solid performance. I have to say the plot was not really realistic. Also, the ending could have done better… So, it surely wasn’t a bad movie at all, but it was not really satisfying neither!

  • With an asteroid the size of Texas heading towards Earth, NASA hires the best driller they know to help stop it destroying all of mankind. Armageddon has always been put off due to the fact the ending is known to all. Just like The Sixth Sense, even if you haven’t seen the film, you should know how it ends.

    There are some great actors, some you wouldn’t associate with this type of film (Owen Wilson) and others who are much bigger names than they were back in 98. It was Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) who stole…
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  • Back around the late 1990s, Hollywood started becoming obsessed with making movies about the end of the world. Some of which bordered on the edge of unrealistic while others wanted to really scare the crap out of its audience with what sounded and looked like plausible science. Whether it be shifting plate tectonics like Volcano (1997) or the devil himself in End of Days (1999), someone thought up of some way the world would end. For director Michael Bay, his idea was more patriotic, although perhaps a little too self-righteous. Although the plot of the movie is not mentioned to be in accordance with the Mayan calendar, the way it comes across is pretty much “the end of the world”-ish. What’s more surprising is that Michael Bay finds this to be his worst movie. I think he should check his list again.

    After NASA discovers a gigantic meteor the size of Texas is headed towards Earth, the head of NASA named Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) orders the recruitment of oil driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) to head up to space to knock the “global killer” out of orbit. Stamper accepts but only after the rest of his drilling crew comes with him. The rest of the drilling crew contains AJ Frost (Ben Affleck) who’s also dating his daughter Grace (Liv Tyler), Chick (Will Patton), Rockhound (Steve Buscemi), Bear (Michael Clarke Duncan), Max (Ken Campbell) and Oscar (Owen Wilson). The supporting cast also includes William Fichtner, Jessica Steen, Peter Stormare, Keith David and Jason Isaacs. Thankfully, for a cast this huge Michael Bay had some credible writers for this production. Penning the official screenplay for this film was none other than Jonathan Hensleigh (Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) and Jumanji (1995)) and a young J.J. Abrams. As a whole, the story is proficient at working with what it has. Most of the characters mentioned prior do have a definitive personality and also portray genuine emotion.

    Then again, there are some moments that hint at the typical Michael Bay shtick that always feels unnecessary. Being that the movie is 2 and a half-hours long, there definitely could have been some trimming on the sides. Some scenes either had no relevance or meaning to the story and did not further the plot. All they did was emphasize how silly some characters can be written. Most likely the running time could have been cut down to 2 hours. The only other part that wasn’t needed was the love subplot going on between AJ and Grace. It felt forced and cliched. Making matters worse was Liv Tyler’s acting ability. She wasn’t horrible but she had a very stiff face and in some cases she became quite obnoxious portraying her character. Delightfully, there are enough supporting characters to make-up for her. The most interesting belonged to William Fichtner’s role as a space astronaut caught between his code by NASA or what his gut says. His exchanges with Bruce Willis are quite the attention grabber.

    The most entertaining act of the film (and rightfully so) is the final act. It is there that we see Harry Stamper and his crew work as a real team and seeing that happen and how they handle various situations is an intense ride from beginning to end. This also goes pretty much for the cinematography and special effects. All of which blended in nicely as well. The director of photography for this production was John Schwartzman and for what was depicted on screen, it still holds up today. There are large wide panning shots of landscapes but most of it belongs to the meteor, which does look heavy on CGI. Again though, the special effects are something to admire too. For it’s time, it could have looked a lot worse but even today it still looks decent.

    Musically related, the score was composed by Trevor Rabin. Rabin, who’s main forte is in the synthetic aspect of film score, does not deviate from what listeners would normally hear. Much of his music contains the same kind of generic electronic keyboard rhythms and action cues. Surprisingly however, Rabin provides a very memorable and emotional power anthem that acts as the movie’s main theme. Although there was no Armageddon 2 (and hopefully never will) the fact that Rabin made such a memorable theme for the movie is commendable. It has a very heroic like tune that makes the jobs being done truly feel a difference is being made. As a recommendation for anyone looking to collect Rabin’s score, the best would be to go with the bootleg edition. Most of Rabin’s score do not contain more material than 30 or so minutes. But the bootleg for Armageddon (1998) is a little over an hour and a half. It’s hard to find film scores with such detail so if you can get a hold of it, I suggest you do.

    Like other Michael Bay films, it has a few areas that needed trimming with unnecessary scenes that make the movie longer than it needed to be. Plus, Liv Tyler’s acting is noticeably irritating on screen. Other than that, Bruce Willis and the rest of the supporting cast work well, the music is recognizable and the third act to this sci-fi nail biter is quite a ride.

    Points Earned –> 7:10

  • “Is [director] Michael Bay the devil?” Entertainment Weekly asked in a recent article. He may well be. The devil, after all, is the ultimate showman and Bay’s showmanship is the genuine article. With Bay, it’s all about presentation, content be damned. Strangely, the more shallow his films get, the better they are. Armageddon is no exception.

    Armageddon begins with some doomsday background: 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid. “It happened before. It will happen again. It’s just a question of when,” Charlton Heston warns in his best God-like voice (hey, when you’ve played Moses and Ben-Hur, all that’s left is God). Well, folks, it’s apocalypse time again and Bay wastes no time in letting the destruction begin.

    “Saddam Hussein’s bombing us,” a taxi driver (Mark Curry) wisecracks as a meteor shower destroys New York City. The Chrysler Building comes crashing down — you can see the bodies shake out of it. That’s preceded by a spectacular shot of Grand Central Station, hallowed then hollowed. Shanghai and Paris get their due as the film progresses. The Paris scene, in particular, is well-crafted: the camera sits beside one of the Notre Dame gargoyles and surveys the impending doom, which resembles nothing less than a tidal wave.

    NASA’s executive director, Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton, admirably restrained and quietly commanding), attempts to keep the situation under control. The only available remedy to divert this Texas-sized global killer, Truman explains to the President, is to drill a hole inside the asteroid, drop a nuclear warhead inside and blow the mother to kingdom come. He recruits Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis), the world’s best deep-core driller, who then brings along his ragtag crew: the neurotic but reliable Chick (Will Patton), mystical dude Oscar (Owen Wilson), tough but tender Bear (Michael Clarke Duncan), fat mother’s boy (Ken Campbell), perverted genius Rockhound (the man — Steve Buscemi), and the cocky goofball A.J. (Ben Affleck, a heartthrob both sensitive and humorous). “Talk about the wrong stuff,” one of the real astronauts mutters.

    The wrong stuff, yes. Recycled stuff would be more to the point. These are stock characters with stock backgrounds. Characterization is not as essential to the action film as it once was. Despite the script’s deficiencies, character-wise, the actors manage to flesh out their wafer-thin roles with their individual personalities. Buscemi, in particular, is an indispensable delight. Only Liv Tyler, cast as Willis’ daughter and Affleck’s love interest, suffers. The pneumatic beauty is relegated to weeping and waiting. Women in Bay’s films tend to be decorative. The talented Vanessa Marcil in The Rock went through the same paces that Tyler undergoes in Armageddon. Only Tea Leoni in Bad Boys, Bay’s debut, spun gold out of straw.

    Bay ups the ante once the crew hits space. A botched fuel transfer kickstarts the numerous unforeseen obstacles that await our intrepid crew. The fuel transfer also heralds the introduction of Russian cosmonaut Lev (Peter Stormare), who delivers most of the second half’s one-liners. From that point on, Armageddon becomes a giddy, no-holds-barred, all-out assault on the senses. Yet for all its jittery bluster, it’s a single shot that lingers in my mind: Affleck in danger, his face filled with fear, sparks reflected on his helmet. It’s the hero shot and you wish for all the world that death does not call at this moment for this young man.

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