Film Review – Armageddon (1998)

Title – Armageddon (1998) 

Director – Michael Bay (The Rock) 

Cast – Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson 

Plot – With an Earth-destroying asteroid on its way to kill our planet, NASA sends an expert drilling team lead by Harry Stamper (Willis) into space armed with a nuclear bomb so they can destroy the chunk of rock from the inside out and save mankind. 

“United States astronauts train for years. You have twelve days.”

Review by Eddie on 15/07/2022

I’m sure there’s no one out there confusing Armageddon with something akin to cinematic excellence but there is a certain charm and enjoyment to be had from Michael Bay’s box office shattering film that knows exactly what it is and provides its questionable goodness in spades, as Bruce Willis and his merry band of men set out to space to blow up a rock “the size of Texas” and save mankind before it’s too late.  

Described by renowned reviewer Roger Ebert as “the first 150 minute trailer” due to the films average scene lasting 1.5 seconds when all is said and done, Bay’s epic bout of cringe, heroics and sleazy Steve Buscemi is also a four times Oscar nominated Hollywood event that continues to remain popular to this day with TV repeats and diehard fans not letting anything sully their enjoyment of a film unafraid to be what it is, even if its own director and many of its cast members have virtually disowned a product they would all rather put behind them. 

Featuring an all star cast that’s lead by one of the last fun Bruce Willis lead roles and early career moments from the likes of Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson and Michael Clarke Duncan, Bay throws everything into his doomed planet event picture as he wastes little time or worry setting up much of a prelude, getting stuck straight into the action as a shotgun totting Willis does his best work on an oil rig that soon leads to him and his trusty band of men (introduced to NASA in a seriously radicle montage) being trained to become astronauts as their sent to space to drill on an active chunk of space rock hurtling towards our beloved planet. 

Around every corner of Bay’s ride is a moment of cheese, a cliché or a zinger from a group of screenwriters that includes J.J Abrams and Tony Gilroy (such gems as “your wife’s gonna be opening your ketchup bottles the rest of your life” or “what’s up, Harry? Did NASA find oil on Uranus, man?” are just a few tantalizing examples) and there’s barely a moment of respite from the film the seems to revel in its hyperactivity and lack of sensical decisions and there’s absolutely reason to believe that for anyone that doesn’t get on board with Armageddon’s mission, they’re going to find this film on their most hated lists much like Roger Ebert. 

For everyone else, everyone that is just willing to accept Bay’s film for what it is, there’s a high chance that Armageddon will be the perfect dosage of big dumb fun, much like most the often derided director’s entire filmography that when taken in context, is actually a fairly entertaining and memorable one. 

Final Say – 

Pushing subtilty out the window and kicking it along once it hits the ground, Armageddon is big, loud, fast and a whole lot of fun and with a loaded cast who should all know better, Michael Bay’s out of world blockbuster is still a good time these many moons on from initial release. 

3 written requests out of 5  

8 responses to “Film Review – Armageddon (1998)

  1. Sheesh! Did you get one sentence out that didn’t also take a swipe at the film? (No I’m not going to count.) I’ve seen a lot of movies, and been involved in a few. Some of them were terrible. This isn’t one. It’s a comedic-adventure-action film. If anyone likes those, they’ll like this one. Probably more than most, because of the cast and the expensive effects. Like it or don’t, but if you like it you don’t need all the zingers. Just say it’s fun.

    • It’s a film that deserves some ridicule and praise all at the same time, pretty much a film that only Bay could make?

  2. I really hated this movie when I first saw it at the cinema, but I admit I softened on it with years. The animal crackers scene is still one of the worst romantic scenes in cinema history, though.

  3. This film came out during the northern hemisphere summer between my junior and senior year of high school. Did I watch it twice at the theatre? I probably did. Did I review it positively for the school newspaper come senior year? You sure betcha. Do I own it on DVD? Nope. But, it rewatches very well on TV. I remember not liking Steve Buscemi’s character at the time, but after many years, and a few airings on TV, I understood the purpose of his behavior from an ensemble cast POV.

    • It’s incredible to read about the type of hype this movie generated when it was released. It was a huge cultural touchstone at the time.
      I can’t believe it took me so long too finally watch it and as a weirdo that likes a lot of Michael Bay films it was good to see where his name was made.

  4. Big dumb fun describes it perfectly and it was totally unapologetic, which made this movie a lot of fun. For a more serious, tragic spin there was Deep Impact that released the same year. The biggest problem I had with this movie was the way they portrayed roughnecks. Being Texan I know hundreds if not thousands. All the ones I know make great money, have nothing to show for it, and always have a “thing” they seem obsessed with when they aren’t drilling. Okay, maybe they hit the mark on roughnecks, since every character I was able to relate to someone I know.

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