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Armageddon (1998) – Movie Review

Armageddon movie poster

Written by: J.J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy, Jonathan Hensleigh, & Shane Salerno, based on a story by Jonathan Hensleigh & Robert Roy Pool, with additional writing by Paul Attanasio, Ann Biderman, Scott Rosenberg, & Robert Towne
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi

My Advice: Don’t miss it.

Michael Bay does it again and producer Jerry Bruckheimer is pretty much forgiven for his part in making Con Air a reality. That’s right, it’s the first big-ass plastic mindless destructorama flick I’ve seen this summer to actually make good on its promise and thrill. But be forewarned–you’re entering Jerry Bruckheimer’s world, a world that gives physicists in our world ulcers and headaches. We’ll tell them to bugger off in a minute. First, the synoptic thing: A rock the size of Texas is headed towards Earth (played by itself) and will wipe out everything including politicians, movie critics, and other forms of bacteria. There’s only one thing to do–drill a hole in the sucker, plant a nuke in it, and blow it to hell. Or wherever space rocks go after they die when they’ve been bad and menaced whole planets. And I know what you’re thinking, true believers–you already reviewed this movie, Widge, and were disappointed! Ah, not this movie but its bastard cousin. More on that to come. Anyway, the head of NASA (Thornton) calls on the best deep driller in the world (Willis) to save all creation. Nuff said.

[ad#longpost]Silly, right? Yes, and I find that to be the strong point of this movie. Granted, it’s about the end of the world, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Instead, it simply does the job it set out to do: entertain, and provide a hellacious ride. It keeps you preoccupied with great one-liners, character development, so that you don’t notice the plot holes–as any good brainless action flick should do. It has kickass cinematography by John Schwartzman that knows when to provide a bumpy insane shuttle trip and when also to give us stunning images of loss. It has Steve Buscemi, who has a tendency to get the best lines no matter what movie he’s in. And the effects? It makes that other rock movie hide its face in shame. Now, there are some moments that almost drove it over the edge into Velveetaland. No need to go into them here, they’re glaring on the screen. And when the movie slows down to handle a relationship between Willis’ daughter (Tyler) and his driller protege (Affleck), the movie trips over itself a bit. It’s hard to shift from fifth straight to first.

Still, make no mistake–this is a high-testosterone pulse-pounding action movie–which is what it said it was going to be from the get go. If you go in expecting anything more, it’s your own damn fault you won’t like it. And don’t come out puling and whining that you wanted a movie more about the human side of the story, because they tried that and screwed it up. It was called Deep Impact. Blame the people behind that movie for what they failed to do and enjoy this movie for what it is. Nothing else. And I say Don’t Miss It because the special effects should be witnessed on the big screen.

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