Armageddon (1998)

14vl9i8It’s not that I forgot how utterly bad Armageddon is (hell, it was bad in ’98. and I wasn’t much more than kid back then), it’s just that I wanted to see is there anything in this movie that could be salvaged for some reason. After all, Armageddon somehow appeared in The Criterion Collection (which never ceases to amaze me), so there should be something, somewhere in there that we’re all missing. As far as readings like the one offered by Slavoj Žižek (can’t find a reference right now, but basically it says something about Armageddon being a movie about incest… come to think of it, much of Žižek’s movie reviews can be summarized just so) amuse me, I find them too far out to be of any practical value. They’re good for Academia, not so much for this nonchalant, trash-talk that’s been happening on this blog. Everyone should feel welcome in this context.     tnt24.info_Armageddon_1998_BDRip_1080p_Eng_Cz_Hun_Ita_Rus_multisub.1134__69961Anyhow, Armageddon. Whatever you might have read somewhere (after all these years, you can read so much) you should be aware of two things. Armageddon was one of rare summer-blockbusters that tried to make blue-collar workers into Hollywood heroes. Tried I say, because, as much as oil-drilling is as blue collar as it gets, drillers themselves are, throughout the movie, elevated to higher status which makes them special and less like your average Joe type of blue collar hero. Willis is the best there is in his line of work (expert, as they say these days), Buscemi is a genius (never you mind all apparent silliness of that concept and everything that comes with it), Affleck has exceptional raw talent and so on. For all intense and purposes our world-saving cast is as elite as it gets, though one has to chuckle a bit for the subversiveness of it all. Elite or not, they’re still oil-drillers and that’s something you don’t see that often in any sort of Hollywood concocted mess.

Still, nothing can save Armageddon from its destiny. Whether Bay wanted it like that (somehow I wonder, though one can never be too sure these days) or not, it reads as (and, for most part it actually is) hyperbolic camp. It would’ve looked like the one if someone didn’t throw 100 mil. at it. I guess I’ll never understand how greenlighting works. Judge Christopher Kulik over at DVDVerdict.com wrote: “Reportedly, nine screenwriters were responsible for this irresponsible dud. What’s jaw-dropping is that one of them is Tony Gilroy, who later wrote the Bourne trilogy and is now a successful director (Michael Clayton). Another perpetrator is JJ Abrams, the man responsible for Lost and the sensational reboot of Star Trek (2009).” Kulik is obviously confused because this reads as: “How on earth could they have written that?” Now, I can’t say anything about Tony Gilroy but one can see JJ Abrams all over Armageddon. It’s the exact type of half-assed, brain dead SF that he has continued to write in upcoming years. Last season of Lost should be outlawed and removed from existence and new Star Trek franchise is so removed from the original Roddenberry’s concept that this Trekkie in me dies a little every time someone mentions it.     bruce-willis-as-harry-s-stamper-in-armageddonArmageddon could’ve been a good movie, though it missed its opportunity. Now, many reviewers out there are going into a crazy fit over scientific inaccuracies and/or the fact that Armageddon doesn’t play out as a European existential drama. I say – fuck that line of criticism. They completely miss the mark. No, Armageddon is bad because it doesn’t deliver what it wants to deliver the most – experience of utter and total destruction on a planetary level. It couldn’t have achieved that by any means that were available to Bay in 1998. Technology just wasn’t up to speed with requirements of the project. Of course, cheesy script and over-the-top-drama didn’t do much to help. Visions of grand destruction are still limited to two-dimensional screen. Filling that screen with neon colors and things that go boom doesn’t really produce desired effect. Armageddon was (and still is) a fantasy movie (if something happens in space that alone doesn’t qualify it as SF). It tried to create an illusion of impending doom (everything else like characters, plot, logic or whatnot was deemed less important). It failed (albeit, it didn’t fail on the Box Office but that’s another story). There are movies that manage to pull their viewers into their worlds. They are made by far more talented (and skillful) people than Michael Bay. This ridiculous insistence on genre-screenwriting has to stop. Armageddon would have been so much better if didn’t try to do two things at once – make sense and be flamboyantly destructive. Fucking nine screenwriters. I can’t believe it.

Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by Michael Bay
Jerry Bruckheimer
Gale Anne Hurd
Screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
Story by Robert Roy Pool
Jonathan Hensleigh
Narrated by Charlton Heston
Starring Bruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Liv Tyler
Ben Affleck
Will Patton
Keith David
Michael Clarke Duncan
Steve Buscemi
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Editing by Mark Goldblatt
Chris Lebenzon
Glen Scantlebury
Studio Touchstone Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Valhalla Motion Pictures
Rainmaker Digital Effects

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