Armageddon, Blu-ray (1998/2010)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi
Director: Michael Bay
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Studio: Bruckheimer /Touchstone 053645 [4/27/10]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio. Spanish or French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Theatrical trailer, Teaser Trailer, Aerosmith’s music video “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
Length: 151 minutes
Bruckheimer and Bay love to blow things up in the movies, and they get to do it in spades in this one. It follows the usual form of disaster spectaculars and though it was the Big Movie of the summer of 1998 it doesn’t stand up too well now.
It is suddenly revealed that the earth has only 18 days before a rogue asteroid the size of Texas slams into it and completely destroys the entire world. Why this isn’t suspected earlier is not explained. Neither is the spectacular destruction of New York City and Paris by small chunks of the asteroid which strike the earth 18 days ahead of schedule. I think they were just needing some spectacular destruction early on to get the action moving. Thornton plays the head of NASA who comes up with the insane idea of sending a bunch of wild roughneck oil drillers in two space shuttles to the asteroid to drill an 800 foot hole down which to drop a nuclear bomb to be detonated remotely and blow apart the asteroid before it strikes the earth. Whew!
Bruce Willis plays his familiar role of a hero who gets seriously roughed up while being the hero. Most of the roughnecks are caricatures, but Steve Buscemi stands out with some very witty dialog, and Billy Bob Thornton is quite believable in his role. The pasted-in love story between Affleck and Tyler is just that. The humor concerning NASA and astronauts was a welcome experience after having just reviewed Apollo 13. I hadn’t expected a disaster film to have so many funny bits in it. The film’s length is a bit long, and the drawn-out near-disaster on the asteroid and its last-minute solution is too artificial and contrived to be compelling. The special effects are all over the place of course, but some look a bit dated vs. what can be accomplished today. The surround sound will be a gas for some audiophiles and videophiles; I was viewing with headphones so I escaped things blowing up behind me.
— John Sunier