Armageddon (1998): Michael Bay’s Big, Silly Actioner

Disney (Touchstone)

Michael Bay’s “Armageddon” is a big-budget, star-driven, glossy and noisy special effects Hollywood blockbuster that is utterly calculated, mechanical and impersonal.

The premise of this hybrid of a movie, a combo of sci-fi, action, thriller, and disaster genres, is that though 65,000,000 years ago, an asteroid killed the dinosaurs, the catastrophe could happen again—soon.

At the tale’s start, NASA engineer Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) that the world has about 18 days to survive—unless and until a viable asteroid –busting plan.   He thus decides to send a crew to destroy the space invader.

 

The little joy to be had is observing the social dynamics among the members of the eccentric, colorful crew, headed by macho wildcat oil driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis).

 

Needless to say, all crew members are misfits or outsiders of one kind or another, including Ben Affleck, who plays the sexy surrogate son who courts Stamper’s daughter Grace (Liv Tyler).

 

The dialogue is often preposterous and unintentionally funny. When A.J. drops animal crackers into Grace’s panties, she notes: “I wonder how many people are doing the same thing right now?”

 

It’s good to see some quintessential indie actors, such as Steve Buscemi and Will Patton in a big Hollywood movie, not because they are challenged by it but because of the paycheck involved (I hope).

 

Cast

 

Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis)

Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton)

A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck)

Grace Stamper (Liv Tyler)

General Kimpsey Keith David)

Walter Clark (Chris Ellis)

Robald Quincy (Jason Isaacs)

Charles “Chick” Chapple (Will Patton)

Rockhound (Steve Buscemi)

Max Lennert (Ken Campbell)

 

Credits

 

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, MichaelBay

Directed by Michael Bay

Screenplay: J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Hensleigh, based on a story by Hensleigh and Robert Pool

 

Oscar Nominations: 4

 

Visual Effects

Sound

Sound effects Editing

Original Song, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Diane Warren

 

Oscar Awards: None

 

Running time: 150 Minutes