Ah, Armageddon. Originally I planned on watching it as a possible destruction of the world by a comet/asteroid double bill along with Deep Impact but I put it off for no particular reason. This movie came out in 1998 and I remember seeing it once in the theatre and once more on cable, perhaps a year or two later and then haven’t seen it since, which is atleast over 12, almost 13 years. Compared to Deep Impact, I remember this movie as being loud, over the top, filled with cliches, a Hollywood extravaganza, bad acting and typical one liners that could mean anything and one god-awful scene in which still brings nightmares to us viewers. And then as I watched this movie again after this long a gap and the titles flew on the screen, I see Michael Bay – and it all made sense!
1998’s science fiction disaster drama film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures and starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affeck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thronton, Owen Wilson, Peter Stormare,William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David, Jessica Steen and Steve Buscemi. Whew that is a long list!
- There are massive meteor showers hitting New York City, the East Coast and Finland. NASA discovers that along with the space debris, a Texas sized (in the US, everything large is compared to Texas) asteroid is on a collision course with earth in just 18 days. Their plan is to plant a nuclear device deep inside the asteroid while it is on it’s way to earth and detonate it. NASA contacts Harry Stamper (Willis), considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice.
- Harry listens to their plan and tells head scientist Dan Truman (Thornton) that he cannot possibly train the astronauts to do the drilling using sophisticated equipment right before the mission. Rather he volunteers to join the mission and bring his crew along with him. The crew which includes AJ (Affleck) who Harry is trying to keep away from his daughter Grace (Tyler) join in but only if their long list of demands are met. After some rigorous training and some fun the team go into space – with two small teams of astronauts and the crew in two space shuttles, Freedom & Independence.
- They dock with a Russian space station manned by a lone cosmonaut Lev Andropov (Stormare) to refuel but a fire breaks out and the crew escape just as it blows up, meaning Lev joins the mission. As the two ships try to land on the asteroid, Independence hits the debris field and the hull is punctured and it crashes and both NASA and the other crew believe it have been destryed. Only AJ, Lev & Bear (Duncan) survive and they use the mobile drillers or “armadillo” to ride and meet the other crew.
- Freedom meanwhile missed the landing spot by 26 miles which means that they have to drill through much thicker iron ferrite rather than softer stone which is what was planned. As they drill the fall behind schedule and the shuttle commander Col. Sharp (Fichtner) is order by the military to initiates “Secondary Protocol”; to remote detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid’s surface, which apparently will not have any effect. Harry & Col. Sharp fight and finally agree to still try drilling but crew loses their Armadillo and its operator (Campbell) when it strikes a gas pocket and is blown into space. Just as it looks like all hope is lost, AJ, Lev & Bear arrive to complete the drilling.
- With time running out a dangerous rock storm hits the crew and damages the remote detonator for the bomb. One has to stay behind to manually detonate the bomb while the others escape. After all the non-flight crew volunteers, they draw straws, and A. J. is selected. As he and Harry exit the airlock, Harry rips off A. J.’s air hose and shoves him back inside, telling him that he is the son he never had and he would be proud to have him marry Grace. Harry is able to have a goodbye moment with Grace via video (“daddy no!” ) before the video goes out, a storm hits the area but Harry manages to detonate the bomb splitting the asteroid in two and they pass earth without causing more damage. Freedom lands, and the surviving crew are treated as heroes. The film ends with A. J. and Grace’s wedding, complete with photos of Harry and the other lost crew members present in memoriam.
- Throughout the entire second half of the movie Live Tyler’s character Grace does a lot of dramatic staring at nothing in particular. No lines, no emotions, no expressions – just staring! Fascinating! And sometimes in different colours as she just happens to be near glowing screens of blue or green!
More cliches than you can count, lots of posturing and fist pumping and loud cheers & claps. The ridiculous crew has more eccentrics than is ever possible in a small group of men. Apparently before going off to save the world, walking in slow motion with dramatic music (or cheesy music) must happen. The stupidest, most annoying and most unlikely set of heroes to ever save the earth. Loud noises, loud people and blowing up, destroying stuff. Ironically in a movie filled with cliches loud mouthed Americans who talk one liners that don’t make sense – it’s the Russian who is the most loud and most annoying! Apparently the way to start up a space shuttle worth millions is to hit it loudly with a spanner! And finally, the gayest moment in the life of Ben Affeck when his character crys out I love you Harry” – to the man who almost killed him at the beginning of the movie but now suddenly claims that he is like the son he never had and please marry his daughter. Really?
7 outta 10 for the special effects and the awesome soundtrack!