I have to grade Armageddon on a curve. The reason is that no matter how limited or contrived the story is, one can not escape the sheer entertainment value of this implausible action adventure science farce.
Released in 1998, Armageddon became a watershed moment in the moviemaking careers of both its producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, The Rock, The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise), and director Michael Bay, shaping a storytelling style that lasts to this day, and one that has brought in countless billions of dollars in box office revenue.
Available for the first time on Blu-ray High-Definition, Armageddon brought together a roster of the biggest stars of the time, including Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Will Patton, all rocking to the iconic voice of Charlton Heston, in one of the prototype blockbuster action-adventure films of the 1990s. That said, I’ll save the sarcastic cliché-laden summation that would usually supplement my review of such a hard-to-believe-but-mostly-fun film.
Armageddon begines when NASA’s executive director, Dan Truman (Thornton), realizes the Earth has 18 days before it’s obliterated by a meteor the size of Texas, giving him only one option – to land a ragtag team of roughneck oil drillers and geologists on the asteroid and drop a nuclear warhead into its core and destroy it before it reaches earth. For the team, they select Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) and his crew, which includes tough guy-softie Bear (Michael Clarke Duncan), the brilliant and sarcastic Rockhound (Steve Buschemi), A.J. (Ben Affleck) the fiancee of Stamper’s head-strong daughter (Liv Tyler), and out of touch with reality Oscar (Owen Wilson). It’s a race against time to get the drillers trained, land them on the asteroid and get the hole drilled before earth is destroyed.
Armageddon features a series of artfully placed comedic cameos, including those by Eddie Griffin, Mark Curry, and Ellen Cleghorne. Between those and a set of spectacular special effects and attention to details that would become the hallmark of the director, the film plays like a calculated thrill ride you have no choice but to enjoy.
Like many first edition Blu-ray releases, Touchstone has gone light with this initial Armageddon Blu-ray release, choosing only to include Aerosmith’s MTV award-winning music video I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, along with the teaser and theatrical trailers.
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video: 1080p HD
Sound: English 5.1 DTS-Master Audio; French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams
Cast: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Stormare, Ken Hudson Campbell, Jessica Steen, Keith David, Chris Ellis, Jason Isaacs, Grayson McCouch, Clark Heathcliffe Brolly, Marshall R. Teague, Anthony Guidera, Greg Collins, J. Patrick McCormack, Eddie Griffin, Mark Curry, Ellen Cleghorne, Ian Quinn
Theatrical Release Date: July 1, 1998
Blu-ray Release Date: April 27, 2010