1998; Rated PG-13; 144 Minutes
Bruce Willis: Harry S. Stamper
Billy Bob Thornton: Dan Truman
Liv Tyler: Grace Stamper
Ben Affleck: A.J. Frost
Will Patton: Charles "Chick" Chapple
Steve Buscemi: Rockhound
Produced by Kenny
Bates, Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Hensleigh,
Gale Anne Hurd, Chad Oman, Pat Sandston, Jim Van Wyck, and
Barry H. Waldman; Directed by Michael Bay; Screenwritten
by Jonathan Hensleigh, Robert Roy Pool, Tony Gilroy,
Shane Salerno, J.J. Abrams, Paul Attanasio, Ann Biderman,
Scott Rosenberg, and Robert Towne
by DAVID KEYES
Earth's Darkest Day Will Be Man's Finest Hour"
-Armageddon Promotional Phrase
it take 144 minutes for a disaster film to resolve? Does
it take nine people to write such a ridiculous script?
Why do these movies flop so immensely when they have big-name
casts? Why does a disaster picture need to be so ugly?
Why does it have to be snipped together like a coming
attractions trailer? Does every character of male gender
have to have the mental capacity of tapeworms? Does it
take a picture like this to achieve such a level of dimwittedness?
questions, as well as several others, raced through my mind
as I sat there and watched the mess that is Armageddon
unfold before my eyes. Here is a film with so many problems
that it manages to slip past all of the other disaster pictures
and penetrate itself into a void where movies are more like
dead-zones. It is a waste of 100 million dollars and the
talent of great actors like Bruce Willis.
I canít think of a disaster picture Iíve enjoyed less. Ones
that come to mind when I hear "bad disaster film" are Hard
Rain and Volcano, but even those films have their
redeeming qualities. Armageddon deserves whatever
criticism it gets, because itís disconnected, stupid, boring,
and entertainment-free. In other words, it is undoubtedly
a complete turkey.
film casts together several talented actors to prevent the
biggest disaster that has ever faced earth: a meteor the
size of Texas. When it is projected to hit the planet and
destroy every living creature, NASA calls in Harry Stamper,
played by Bruce Willis, who runs an oil rig along the ocean.
When contacted by NASA, he and his crew mates, including
one named A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck), who is in love with
Harryís daughter, are sent on a test-course on Earth to
see how well they can handle the fact that they need to
drill into the meteor and set off bombs to break it up before
it hits zero barrier and collides with Earth.
this pitiful period of time in which astronauts are trained,
we are provoked with feelings of utter disbelief. Nearly
every male character on screen occupies the film like some
sort of condom add; they think that theyíre so macho that
Earth has nothing to fear. Yet, when they finally hit their
destination, half of them have already been killed.
see, when the shuttle takes off, right from the beginning,
the group is encountered with several technical difficulties.
For one, when they refuel at the Russian Space Station,
it explodes. Then, when they use the moonís gravitational
pull to circle around it and get to the meteor, one of the
ships accidentally hits the meteor on hard impact, killing
several crew members and damaging several pieces of needed
equipment, which they manage to either fix or improvise
fact, the crew faces so many problems that not all of them
can even be listed. Most of these take place in space itself,
where the huge special-effects driven meteor occupies the
majority of the filmís effect scenes.
often see disaster pictures for their special effects. Think
for a moment of what we saw in Danteís Peak, when
the mountain erupted violently and the ash cloud flattened
the city below. Those moments were spent in awe, because
those effects were almost real to us.
can all be done at the right time and direction, but with
Armageddon, we canít enjoy any bit of the special
effects, because the film moves simply too fast and is edited
together like a 144-minute coming attractions trailer.
sparse sequences exist where we can actually keep up with
the special effects are the moments when they are murky
and depressing. Example: we see a shot of Earth, and then
the meteor passes overhead, which is so big that not even
half of it can be seen on the screen. Everything in space,
no matter how exciting it may seem, is done in tone darkness
and murky colors, like the effects in Lost In Space.
Why do these film studios keep on making films where the
majority of the effects occur in an environment not made
for them? On top of that, why do they have to shoot everything
in such depressing colors?
donít know what people are going to enjoy about this film,
if anything at all. See it, and I fear that it will be your
own Armageddon. You have been warned.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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