Armageddon (1998/Touchstone Blu-ray)
B+ Sound: A- Extras: C Film: B+
beginning of time it seems that people have imagined the destruction of the
world. It may be a deeply rooted
philosophical query that questions humankind’s importance to the earth; or it
could simply be our own self centered nature that presumes we are of any
importance at all. Regardless, from
books to film there seems to be an unending number of takes on how it will all
In 1998 Armageddon hit theaters with a
bang. It was a big budget film with an
all star cast that promised booming special effects and a captivating tale or
heroics. Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean series) and Michael Bay (Transformers) are known for their big budget “blow-em-up” films and
for Bruckheimer Armageddon was made
at the time just when he found his knack; quickly following smash hits like Bad Boys (1995), The Rock (1996) and Con Air
Armageddon’s storyline was creative for the
time but nothing that takes too long to explain; in turn showing that Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer are not always
so much about depth. Essentially there
is a meteor hurdling toward earth and the governments of the world are left
scrambling to find a solution. The solution
in the end is to destroy the asteroid by drilling into its center and setting
off a nuclear bomb; splitting the deadly rock into two and saving the
world. The NASA’s finest minds are setup
to go into space, but not having the drilling skills needed to take on the
beast NASA must enlist the help of roughneck oil drillers to get the job
done. At first NASA’s director (played
by Billy Bob Thornton) only wanted the team’s head honcho (played by Bruce
Willis), but he won’t go up without his team.
So a misfit team of varied personalities is made which features the
acting credits of Owen Wilson, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi, Will Patton and
Michael Clark Duncan. After some brief
training/evaluation exercises the men are launched into space along side some
of NASA’s finest, split into two separate teams. Of course mishaps and the unexpected occur,
not making the job easy; but with Bruce Willis in charge you know this mission
is as good as complete.
so many other disaster movies have and are still failing to deliver a solid
film, Armageddon managed to work in
all the right ways. Michael Bay
may rely heavily on big budgets to get his ‘message’ across, but at the same
time he never takes himself seriously.
He uses plenty of gags and the ‘frat boy’ mentality to make the film fun
and interesting from beginning to end.
Also while other films spend their money all on not-so-special effects,
Bay manages to balance the explosive effect with a recognizable and well rounded
cast. The cast is fun, likeable and have
the acting chops to bring the story to life.
In the end, Bay can put together a film.
As previously mentioned it may lack depth, but the laugh-out-loud humor
and intense story make it all worth while.
technical features of this Blu-ray are very well done with the exception of the
extras. The 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encoded
picture in a 2.35 x 1 aspect ratio is crisp, clean and clear. The sharpness is stunning and the colors
explode off the screen as the deep inky blacks frame each image almost perfectly. The detail is fine and there are only the
occasional moments of softness. Where as
the image is by no means perfect it is nice and only suffers because it is a
bit of an older film from older stock.
The sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless that is fully
immersive with a booming presentation that utilizes the entire soundscape. The directionality is solid throughout, with
a balanced bass that many films would die to have. It is a loud film that it is done in all the
right ways, coupled with a pristine dialogue track to round off an already
extras are weak and only feature the film’s trademark Aerosmith video “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and a
theatrical trailer. The extras
definitely leave more to be desired as the Criterion Collection release of the
film (on both DVD and in an old 12” LaserDisc box set) had a plethora of great
extras to dive into; making this release a tad disappointing.
a double dip of this film, but not any time soon. All in all it was a solid release that is
almost demo quality. In this reviewer’s
opinion Armageddon is a must own on
- Michael P. Dougherty II