Armageddon (1998)

armageddon poster 1998 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast, explosions

Long, dull, and cliche

Movie Info

Movie Name: Armageddon

Studio: Touchstone Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): June 30, 1998 (Premiere)/July 1, 1998 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

armageddon new york hit twin towers

1998: Whoa…that’s crazy all the people falling from building…no way!
2001: Ugh…

A “world-killer” asteroid is headed to Earth, and time is running out for civilization and life on the planet.  When scientists decide that blowing the asteroid up from the inside is the only option, Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) of NASA recruits Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis) and his team of offshore drillers to help with the mission.  Stamper realizes that Earth’s fate could hang in the balance and pulling off the impossible might be the world’s only hope.

Directed by Michael Bay, Armageddon is an action adventure film.  The blockbuster movie was met with mostly negative reviews but was the top grossing film of 1998.  It received Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects Editing, and Best Original Song (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”).  Bruce Willis won a Razzie (along with his performances in Mercury Rising and The Siege) for Worst Actor with the film receiving nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Screen Couple (Ben Affleck-Liv Tyler), Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Original Song (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”).  The Criterion Collection released a special edition of the film (Criterion #40).

armageddon asteroid earth

I kind of wish the asteroid won so we didn’t have hear “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” again

Armageddon holds a special place in my life…which doesn’t mean I like it.  I was working at the movie theater the summer it was released and the standee was a big countdown clock that ran all summer (along with repeated playings of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” on a thirty minute loop).  I was pretty much sick of Armageddon when it arrived.  As the standee ticked down, we waited and waited…and then it just stopped at zero.  No fireworks, no explosions…just a dull digital clock now showing nothing…kind of like the movie.

The story for Armageddon is almost the standard definition of an action film.  You have a massive threat that only a few people (and with the exception of one Russian, all American) can stop.  The hardworking Americans know the right answer to stopping the asteroid…hard work and trust.  The big government agencies don’t get it.  You get funny characters, a pop song, and a forbidden romance that forces emotional moments.  There are no surprises in Armageddon.

armageddon cast 1998

They got the right stuff!

The cast was massive and very 1998.  Bruce Willis headlined the action film with both Ben Affleck and Billy Bob Thorton taking backseat “starring” roles as the “new kids on the block”.  Liv Tyler plays the mournful Grace who spends most of the movie with a look of concern on her face (and can probably be blamed for Aerosmith song).  Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ken Campbell, and Will Patton make up Willis’ team with William Fichtner playing the agent with a conscience.  Peter Stormare rejoined his Fargo star Buscemi as the kooky Russian with Keith David and Jason Isaac also having roles.

armageddon liv tyler bruce willis goodbye

I love having an intimate moment with my father in the middle of a room full of NASA guys

The movie looks good…at points.  The film was competing against the other asteroid movie Deep Impact which most agreed was (slightly) technically more accurate, but Armageddon benefits from a lot of opportunities for booms and explosions.  A lot of the physics are wonky, but it does deliver explosions.  In the post-9-11 world, it is a bit eerie to see New York City in flames and the Twin Towers wrecked (but still standing).

Armageddon is a formulate action movie that misses even hitting the heart strings that some good action films manage to do.  It is big and loud and seems to hope the louder it is the less likely you will pay attention to anything actually happening in the movie.  At two and a half-hours, the movie is long, and it feels it.  It might have been a downer, but I kind of wish that asteroid just hit.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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