Sunday, January 15, 2017

Movie Review: "Armageddon" (1998)

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Director: Michael Bay
Year: 1998
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes

When an asteroid the size of Texas is found to be hurtling towards Earth, NASA enlists the help of a team of oil drillers to go into space, land on the asteroid, drill a deep hole into it, and drop a nuclear weapon down inside the hole so they can blow the asteroid apart in an effort to save the world.

"Armageddon" is an epic disaster film directed by Michael Bay. When you read the above summary and see how absolutely ridiculous it sounds, the fact that NASA needs oil drillers to save the world, it just sounds absurd. Then, when you realize it's directed by the king of the needless explosions, Michael Bay, and you may start to think, "there is no way this can be a good movie."

Look, we are the first people to readily and gladly mock Bay for his dopey "Transformers" series and his involvement in many projects we have completely hated, but there is something about "Armageddon" we really, really enjoy. It is one of our favorite guilty pleasure movies. Sure, the story is full of plot holes, the dialogue is mostly ludicrous, and it's filled with more genre tropes than we can count, but damn it, it's just such a cheesy, fun time. We start to overlook these factors, however, as the movie progresses along its runtime. A lot of this may have to do with the awesome cast. It stars Bruce Willis as Harry Stanton. Willis always has a certain charm about him and a way to deliver his lines with this slightly annoyed, dry wit that is quite funny and fits this film perfectly. Maybe it's the massive supporting cast that includes the likes of Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Will Patton, Billy Bob Thornton, Peter Stormare, Owen Wilson, Liv Tyler, Jason Isaacs, William Fichtner, Ken Hudsen Campbell, and Keith David. This cast comes together wonderfully to create a rather motley crew of surprisingly relatable, likable characters. If you have good characters that the audience can connect to on some level, then half of the job of making an enjoyable movie is done right there, even when there are awkward scenes involving animal-cracker-cozy-love-talk, someone bringing a gun into space, and Steve Buscemi riding a nuclear warhead. Beyond the cast and characters, this movie knows it is not meant to be taken seriously. The tone stays fun and light as the film is loaded with clever quips and quotable, goofy one-liners.

If you are looking for a planet-destroying asteroid movie from 1998 that has a more serious tone, check out Mimi Leder's "Deep Impact." For us, we'll take the big, incredible explosions, the silly dialogue, the charismatic characters, one hell of a heartbreaking ending, tons of over-the-top action, and the cool visuals of the Oscar-nominated "Armageddon." You read that right, Oscar-nominated, bitches. Michael Bay, ladies and gentlemen, Michael Bay made a movie we like.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 39%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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