Review: Armageddon (1998)

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If I have eighteen days until the world is about to end you all know what I would be doing, nonstop!

Screenplay By: J.J. Abrams & Jonathan Henseligh
Directed By: Michael Bay

Armageddon is either a movie that you have fun with or you don’t. Those looking for high cinema need look somewhere else, the same goes for those looking for the best work of Michael Bay. I guess it’s important to get it out of the way right now, I am not a Bay hater. I know there are legions of people out there who hate the man and his movies, but I am not one of them. He’s not a favorite, I don’t even think he’s good, but he isn’t rubbish like so many people try to claim, he just makes a lot of movies that while fun aren’t all that good.

The poster child for a movie that teeters between absurd and serious, Armageddon could have been either an actual good movie or a ridiculously awful movie that was excellent as a result. Unfortunately, it teeters and never settles into either category. Armageddon has moments where it is deliciously cheesy and overtly pretentious, but those are accompanied by moments of actual effort to be taken seriously. I like Armageddon, but I don’t love it, it’s just kind of there.

The best parts about Armageddon are easily the effects and Bay’s action direction. The effects are excellent, top of the line fare that hold up today as great works of art in their own right. Bay’s direction in action scenes is near flawless, for all his faults as a director he does understand how to shoot and frame action scenes.

Unfortunately the same can not be said for the rest of Bay’s direction. His camera is stifling and suffocating in any non-action moments. He’s even worse when he tries to splice in non-action with the action. Bay is always doing too much with his camera, he lacks the ability to set up a scene and let his actors go, he has to freeze frame, reverse angles, shoot from odd directions, fool around with lenses and filters, etc., etc..

They may all be caricatures, but I like every single actor in Armageddon and they were a bunch of fun to watch. Yes, Bay did suffocate them as I said previously, but they still had fun with their characters and were in a lot of ways the one truly good part beyond the CGI and action scenes. However, the dialogue, oh, the dialogue. So obvious and clunky, making sure to let you know what will happen in the next scene before it has a chance to unfold visually. Armageddon’s dialogue is big, and by big I mean big speech after big speech after big speech. Also, these are not good questions to ask of a story,

It’s two days later and A.J. already has his own company up and running complete with drilling equipment while the rest of the crew has scattered?

Rockhound personally knows a bookie in Texas, while one of them is lucky enough to have family there?

They have a location thing on the Russian dude, what?

They got rid of all the unnecessary crap on the armadillo, but left the Gatling gun?

You want to go back and do what exactly Colonel Sunshine? The asteroid is going to be well past zero point so unless you’re Flash and I missed it I don’t think you can get back in time.

So yeah, as you can see story wise and dialogue wise Armageddon isn’t exactly about to light the world on fire.

Still, I did enjoy Armageddon. It’s too long, too big for its own good and is god awful in places. But, the CGI was amazing, the action scenes were good, I liked the characters, found it funny and had a good time with it. Not every movie needs to be an Ingmar Bergman classic, every once in a while you need a movie that is more fun than anything else, and that’s where a movie like Armageddon comes in.

Rating:

**1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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2 responses to “Review: Armageddon (1998)

  1. Pingback: Postulating & Pontificating: Canon Is As Canon Does! | Bill's Movie Emporium

  2. Pingback: Review: Hunger (2008) | Bill's Movie Emporium

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