In 1998, "Armageddon" was the second highest grossing movie that year (to date: $201 million), just behind "Saving Private Ryan" (to date: $216 million). It has since grossed $554 million worldwide.
The original Touchstone DVD release was non-anamorphic. The Criterion release was slightly improved, but still the video was non-anamorphic. This long awaited blu ray release is worth the wait, and represents the definitive version of this movie.
Video: This 1080p AVC MPEG-4 transfer (aspect ratio 2.35:1) looked fantastic, considering the age of this movie. The blacks are inky black with lots of details. The picture was full of vibrant colour. The special effects, although dated, still looked awesome. (4.5/5)
Audio: The DTS MA 5.1 mix is much improved from the previous lossy Dolby Digital mix. The result was simply awesome. One could close one's eyes, and just hear discrete sound from individual speakers. The bass also rocked the entire house. To hear Aerosmith singing their #1 hit "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" was very satisfying. (4.5/5)
"Armageddon" is a fun fun adrenaline-filled pop-corn film experience with stunning imagery. This blu ray video is totally superior to all previous "Armageddon" home video releases, which featured non-anamorphic video. They looked so bad today that I do not even feel like a double dip. If you like explosions, space shuttles, with a love story, this is the movie for you.
One minor point: When the Russian astronaut banged on the computer in the Space Shuttle to restart the engine, he noticed that the parts were "Made in Taiwan". And when I looked at the 3D glasses that I sneaked out from IMAX a few weeks ago, guess what, they were also "made in Taiwan". Some things simply don't change.
This blu ray disc is highly recommended.
"So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go"
Leaving On A Jet Plane Lyrics - John Denver
Once again the world is threatened by Armageddon. A dangerous asteroid, it is heading straight for Earth. Our only hope will be to send a team of roughneck drillers to dig a hole big enough to place a bomb and shatter the meteor.
This movie is lots of fun on many levels. It is a parody of disaster movies; however the characters don't know that they are parody and play it straight. This allows us to have fun without having to listen to a bunch of campy over-the-top one-liners that don't match the movie. It's a father daughter story; and of all things the father would have to be Bruce Willis who brings his killer formula to the story and fits his part perfectly. The daughter played by Liv Tyler (before her The Lord of the Rings fame) adds a great catalyst to the story. The rest of the team is rounded off by contemporary actors of which you will recognize immediately.
The graphics and action both explosive and human will hold you to the end.
This movie is worth watching over again so you can see the nuances that were missed the first time through.
on May 24, 2004
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan.
Running Time: 151 minutes.
Rated PG-13 for violence and some language.
"Armageddon" opens with a NASA spacecraft being torn apart by numerous small asteroids, destroying the ship and killing all of the inhabitants. Large cities across the country are then bombarded with meteors, causing NASA to investigate the strange phenomenom. They conclude that a massive, mother asteroid the size of Texas is on course to directly hit the planet Earth, killing all civilization and life as they know it.
NASA excecutive director Dan Truman (Thornton) decides that the best way to defend the world against this devastating threat is to hire a group of oil diggers (?) and actually send them onto the meteor (?) in order to plant an explosive inside the middle of it (?) so it can be destroyed before it makes contact. Bruce Willis stars in an adequate performance as the leader of the ragtag team of riggers, taking his team (which includes daughter Tyler and her lover Affleck) to the core of the planet's brink of elimination. While the story is so farfetched and ridiculous to be that realistic, fine performances throughout coupled with some hilarious, quirky dialogue saves this film from being a run-of-the-mill special effects guru blockbuster.
Superb special effects, riveting and off-the-wall cinematography created by the one-and-only director Michael Bay ("The Rock"), a fantastic musical score featuring the Aerosmith great, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", and a touching, powerful ending. Fun, enjoyable; this rock-em, sock-em roller-coaster of a film is what summer movie-going is all about--even if its on DVD.
on April 17, 2004
What would you do if you knew that tomorrow the world was going to come to an end? Who would you talk to? What would you accomplish or attempt to accomplish before the end was to come? Where would you place yourself as you waited for that fateful moment to arrive? These are the questions that are constantly ignored within disasters films throughout the history of cinema and most recently in the latest surge of disaster flicks that have ranged from erupting volcanoes to catastrophic natural disasters to world-ending cosmic forces such as asteroids and comets colliding with Earth, thus ending all life on this planet. 1998 was a classic year in which two disaster films faced off against each other within a two month time span dealing with the same basic plot line (space-rock colliding with Earth while a space team tries to prevent such a disaster from occurring) but selling each one in a decidedly different style and audience base. The first was Deep Impact (Dreamworks) which rushed out of the gate with $40 million in its opening weekend but failed to show legs by ending its run with $140 million. Less then two months later, Jerry Bruckheimer set to conquer space with his action-drama, Armageddon, and show how these disasters flicks are to be done correctly.
The story centers around the rag-tag team of "astronauts" that are sent into space to divert a space rock from colliding with Earth, which, in result, would end most life on the planet, if not all. It seems like any other day in New York City ... That is before large explosions occur throughout the city destroying office buildings and towering structures and resulting in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. The United States Government, believing this to be an attack of terrorism, asks NASA to discover the source of the problem but when they do, they get a decisively different answer then they had ever anticipated. What caused the explosions in New York weren't missiles ... they were small meteorites (about the size of basketballs) that trailed off the enormous asteroid (about the size of Texas) that is on a direct collision course with Earth. With only about two weeks until the asteroid is estimated to hit, NASA brings aboard Harry Stamper, the best deep core driller on the planet, to train astronauts to drill into the asteroid, drop a nuclear device, blow apart the asteroid, and divert the two pieces from colliding with Earth. Claiming he is only the best because he works with the best, Harry forces NASA to recruit his rag-tag team of drillers to fly into space and save the world. But that is easier said then done as they not only face difficulties in the training program but unforeseen tricks that the asteroid throws at the "astronauts" in their attempt to accomplish the task at hand. The story for Armageddon, as outlandish and over-the-top as it may be, works exceedingly well in presenting a combination of fast-paced action sequences, sarcastic and, at times, irreverent humor, and dialed in emotions, even if they may be over played in several moments within the course of the film.
One of the great things that Jerry Bruckheimer films are known for, outside of the well-choreographed explosive action sequences, are his talented group of actors that are brilliantly cast in their roles. And Armageddon once again proves the truth of that statement, despite a few performances here and there that apply to the contrary. Bruce Willis, in the same genre that basically defined him as a key actor in Hollywood, takes center stage in almost every action sequence he's featured in and fills the screen with his sarcastic-toned humor and gritty, rock-solid attitude that works extraordinarily well with his character. Despite this being one of his few major release performances, Billy Bob Thornton still manages to give an excellent performance as the director of NASA who coordinates the mission to save the planet. Though his character isn't featured as much as the others, Thornton still realizes he is a centralized character and the emotions he expresses in his scenes will be needed to reflect the actions that are occurring or will occur later in the feature. Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler are perfect together as the film's romantic couple, though at times Affleck's performance was a tad on the wooden side, of which his acting ability has often been described by critics, but this time that being so only when he was asked to cry and near the end of the film when everyone, not just Affleck, seemed to wind down as the feature wrapped up. And another note ... Never let Affleck sing in a film ever again. Singing is definitely not his strongest talent and he proves that so in this film. And the most notable and worthy highlight of the cast has to be the marvelous, facetious and humorous performance given by Steve Buscemi, who has yet to portray a role that doesn't work for him in the least.
Overall, whatever quips you have with Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay or the disaster genre in general, Armageddon is decisively one of the best action flicks in years and raises the bar for all others like to follow in its footsteps. Though his films are famous for their outlandish action sequences, the combative scenes in this film go beyond the normal expectation ten-times in that their choreography and set up transcend the amazing special effects that are used to execute the sequence. Though there are many things to compliment the filmmakers on in this film, the feature is far from perfect but not so much so that it is an utterly unbearable disaster (no pun intended). At times the situations involved are too unbelievable and far-fetched, though it to be suggested that they may not have been intended to taken seriously in the first place, that it takes away some of the film's credibility. It would have been better if the situations were more down-to-earth (once again, no pun intended) for the audience to take the plot of the film more seriously. And, yes, several moments in the feature are over-drawn and clichéd but with the overall tone of the film being quite entertaining, one can forgive the filmmakers for such mistakes. Clearly if you don't enjoy action films or can bother leaving your head at the door (not entirely but for portions of the film) then Armageddon isn't for you but Bruckheimer flicks have the weird effect of making the most unlikely people fans of his work, so give it a shot before passing judgment.
on March 23, 2004
To be foreward, Armageddon is not a bad film but it's one of those films that if the visual effects look cool that's the only reason a moviegoer would have for seeing it, and we don't want THAT to be the only reason.
This is a movie with visually stunning special effects and music but to me the plot is tired and the movie gets ridiculously long at some parts.
However, it seems many only saw this movie for the simple fact of Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis isn't a bad actor and while he doesn't overshadow anyone else you can't help but admit its why most people saw the movie.
The tired plot of an Asteroid approaching Earth so you send up people to blow up this Asteroid could've flowed better. You don't get the sense to care for these characters, you don't grow attatched to them like "Deep Impact". More over, the movie drags on for far too long. Some parts are tediously long and could've been shortened.
The music in the movie is POWERFUL music and definitely gives you this urgency feeling. The music is certainly one of the beter parts of this film and I recommend the soundtrack.
So if visual effects and...Bruce Willis is your thing in movies you'll absolutely LOVE this movie. If you want a movie with the same basic plot but a bit more plot driven then go with Deep Impact.
on February 1, 2004
Easiest way to sum up this very, very bad film : it's a two-hour car commercial.
"Cue big, stupid flagwaving, cue big-budget stars, cue overpowering musical score! All right, now explode stuff! Now stick Aerosmith Ballad Format #3 in there!" Voila! Another gold-plated Bruckheimer poo. Maybe one of these days we'll get a decent treatment of "Lucifer's Hammer" on the silver screen, but this is most definitely not it.
Ripped off a scene from "The Right Stuff", to boot. I'm sure it was an "homage" or something, right? Whatever. The science is crap, so we really can't list this stinker as "science" fiction. The cast of supporting characters is our usual colourful melange, all gleefully sterotyped and portrayed by solid character actors. That's the only watchable thing about the film, and then it's only after you've had to kick aside the unease at some of the stereotyping. It's syrupy, every plot point is telescoped a year in advance, Willis is just there to sell the mess, and BAffleck...proves once more that he's of limited use in movies that don't revolve around obsenity-spewing drug addicts (you know--Kevin Smith films).
Yes it made piles and piles of cash. Goes to prove just how abysmally lacking in discretion, imagination, taste, and brains the movie-watching public is, don't it?
on January 30, 2004
Although, I do remember someone lending me this DVD ages ago, and it had a gag-reel on it. Mine doesn't :( Poor me. Anyway, watching this film on DVD was terrific, having only previously watched it on video (which no one wants to buy!!!) This movie has some of the cutest guys in it - Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan and Billy Bob Thornton?! My eyes must deceive me, as he always looks virtually unrecognisable in films, to what he looks like normally - unkempt, sleazy looking, and a craggy looking old man. (Is it just me?) And yes, I do have a thing for older men! This movie shot Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck to A-list stardom, and gave them Lord Of The Rings and Jennifer Lopez respectively.
I was quite surprised to see a couple of scenes that I hadn't seen before on the video. During the segment where the "astronauts" get the night off, you see Oscar praying, and Harry visiting his Dad. I literally did a double take when I saw these, especially since I've watched the movie many times. There was also another scene, but I forget what it was, or where it was now.
I own the 2-disc edition (which I can't find for the life of me on Amazon), so there's a lot more extras than listed here. Most of them are pretty tedious though, and I'm still fizzing about the gag-reel. It's so funny! I'll maybe watch the commentaries sometime, as there's two on this - the one with the NASA experts will be terrific on a night when I can't sleep. But the other one has Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis, which should be interesting. The extras are tedious, as they go through the special effects used for various scenes in the movie, and you've got some glorified assistant, who really had nothing to do with the movie, going into lengthy detail about the smallest thing. And use lots of fancy jargon, which definitely stupid people (like moi) can't understand. And never will understand. The DVD should have a warning sticker on it - "Do Not Watch Extras If Stupid".
You also get the music video to "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" (one of the best love songs), and I'd seen this video many times, so I wasn't expecting there to be an introduction to the video by the members of Aerosmith! Cool.
Name one girl who hasn't cried at this movie. I am definitely not in that category. I originally saw this movie in the cinema, and had to go cry away to myself in the toilets afterwards (highly embarrassing). And then when I got it on video, I couldn't stop crying!!! People may say it's only a film, but it's so sad!!! Thankfully, I didn't cry at the first watching of this DVD. I did get a little teary, but not full-on crying. Oh guys crying get me going!! Anyone crying gets me going, who am I kidding!
A terrific film, definitely a good one to watch for the guys or the special effects. Or Liv Tyler if you're that way inclined, but any girl will feel the green eyed monster rear its ugly head.
Now, about that gag-reel ...
on January 27, 2004
This 1998 film shows the threat to the earth from an asteroid. It opens with small meteors hitting Manhattan and causing damage. (Who can watch this after 9/11 without shuddering?) NASA tracks this back to a Texas-sized asteroid that will hit Earth in 18 days, and Extinction Level Event. A side plot introduces us to an oil-drilling platform in South Asia, with their personality conflicts. The owner is the most experienced oil driller; he is summoned to solve the problem: drill a hole in the asteroid to blast it into relatively harmless pieces. There is no excuse for failure.
The middle part is padded with the training for these volunteers. This explains the plans to the viewer. There is one interpersonal relationship problem. The crew is given time off to visit their kin, and develop their characters. Another asteroid hits Shanghai; now (?) the world knows of the peril. The special NASA crew leaves on their mission. They dock at the Russian space station to fuel up (unleaded?). A fuel leak causes a fire; they escape just in time. One spaceship runs into an asteroid and goes off the grid. The other overshoots the landing spot, and lands where it is hard to drill. They fall behind schedule. NASA now considers whether to remotely detonate the bomb. The film questions the judgment of Official Authority. The special effects of this film is better than 'Star Wars'. There is a blow-out on the drill; the attempt has failed! But the other drilling rig shows up just in time, and completes the job. The remote detonator has a problem; someone must stay and set it off. Harry Stamper volunteers to save the world. The space ship takes off, the bomb explodes the asteroid. This is an entertaining film in spite of the many, many cliches.
This story recalls "Ragnarok" by Ignatius Donnelly, which analyzed the common legends of mankind and explained them as the remembrance of a comet hitting the earth and causing great climatic changes.
on January 27, 2004
In the mid-to-late nineties, the millennium and the theory of Y2K had a tremendous impact on popular culture, and seemed to bring a continuing fascination with the destruction of the world in cinema. Twister, Volcano, and Dante's Peak all proved that disaster can be turned into box office success, but as the decade continued, Hollywood decided to tackle the biggest subject of all: the end of the world.
Such epics as Independence Day, Deep Impact and of course Armageddon represented this movement. The latter was the biggest and best of the three and both obliterates and greatly, greatly strengthens all the stereotypes of the genre. Unlike Deep Impact, which was basically two hours of self-pity in the face of certain death, and unlike Independence Day, which was littered with horrible acting, Armageddon at least gets the cast right, and luckily, despite what sappy or cheesy plot lines it may have, the acting is passable for an action flick. Bruce Willis is typically puffed-up but believable, and so are Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi and Owen Wilson.
Armageddon cost over a hundred million dollars to make, earned even more, and was seen by countless numbers of people, so obviously it is not an everyday movie. It's a BIG movie.
First, the good stuff. It's an excellently-produced science fiction/action/adventure movie. The special effects are top-notch and truly breathtaking. At a 140 million dollar budget, an all-star cast, and an almost three-hour length, this is truly a BIG movie. This is the same kind of overwhelming, big budget action that gave birth to the Matrix series.
Like the Matrix, it's action-packed, loud, breathtaking, and out of this world. But unlike the Matrix, which lived up and surpassed the expectations of viewers, the design of Armageddon often tries to stand up too high and falls flat on its face. This can make the whole idea of this movie seem overblown and pretentious. But with a movie as BIG as this, can plot matter much? Maybe. It depends on the viewer.
The best thing about Armageddon is that it expresses the true nature of humanity and the natural instinct of self-preservation and survival of the species by all means necessary. But of course, the absolute worst thing about Armageddon should be obvious to anyone who watched it: the plot. It is like the classic action movie situation that even though your brain might be screaming with the far-out premise of the plot, your heart is racing and adrenaline is pumping so you're not listening, but with a twist. Because Armageddon is not just a shoot-em-up, kill em all; show no mercy revenge type of story. It's a story about the end of the world.
This film is filled with more over-the-top action, suspense and impending disaster than perhaps any other film in history, and Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer both deserve credit for being able to pull the budget and resources together for such a project. But with so much effort put into special effects and action, couldn't they have invested more in research of other countries, minorities, and women? Like the Amazon review says, it seems that if it is not white, American and male, they simplify and stereotype it.
The story is basically:
A huge asteroid the size of Texas is hurtling towards the Earth and if it impacts will wipe out every living thing on the planet, not even bacteria will survive. NASA decides to send a shuttle onto the asteroid itself and plant a nuclear device inside. Since a highly trained team of astronauts apparently don't know how to drill a hole in a rock, NASA instead is convinced to let a oil rig crew learn a crash course in being astronauts. Bruce Willis leads the crew along with Ben Affleck, who is dating Bruce's daughter played by Liv Tyler. The crew land on the asteroid, where they encounter disasters galore.
Sadly, predictability abounds in the story, and there are plenty of scenes to make viewers groan. The blatant flag-waving patriotism and oversexed machismo of the characters is laughable, Aerosmith's music gets so much play on the soundtrack at times it feels like a music video, and the scenes depicting other countries are stereotypical to the extreme. The theme of Armageddon is sadly similar to Independence Day in that Americans, American values and American technology save the world. That is enough to make any leftist instantly loathe a movie like Armageddon.
The hyperkinetic edits during the action sequences are a statement on how low Hollywood is willing to stoop to entertain the nanosecond-long attention spans of the younger generations. Seriously, can't you stop on one thing for more than three seconds? The movie does have its humorous moments, most of them brought on by Steve Buscemi and Owen Wilson, but the "tragic" ending sequences might make you want to weep crocodile tears...or groan in disgust.
Ultimately, this movie depends on the person, but as for myself, I'm glad that I didn't pay my seven bucks to first have my eyes dazzled with special effect and Liv Tyler's beauty and then have my brain numbed by the action and then finally have my heart ripped out of my chest by the unnecessarily long and sappy "emotional" ending.
on December 26, 2003
This has got to be one of the corniest and sappiest movies I've ever seen. Even if you don't mind the extreme camp value of it, the scenes of young children running around dressed as astronauts and playing with space shuttles was too much. the film is filled with factual errors and flaws that look as if the producers just didn't even care. Isn't everyone aware of the line "in space no one can hear you scream." So how come we hear it in this movie?
The ONLY way you will be able to enjoy this film is if you suspend your belief in science (and reality for that matter), and just enjoy it for the action-filled special effects-laden popcorn movie it is. This is not a movie that will win any awards or critical acclaim, but it is somewhat entertaining.
I have to say that while definately not the worst movie ever made, it certainly is one of the most ridiculous.
That being said, this makes for a very poor DVD. I don't know if they were planning on releasing a "Special-Edition" DVD in the future, but this one is just devoid of all special features. A music video and a trailer. That's IT. And for a Michael Bay film with a 100+ million dollar budget, that is unaceptable. At the very least, throw in a small special effects featurette.