Don’t act so surprised. Aside from ridiculously sized action beats, Michael Bay is also an expert at packing in as much emotional manipulation as he can in what little story and characterization his films have. The cheesy animal cracker love scene coupled with the constant shots of Liv Tyler looking lovingly concerned in NASA headquarters is enough faux melodrama for three summer blockbusters. Bay’s use of traditional Americana (the flags, the kids playing baseball, etc) is also prevalent in ARMAGEDDON, and while a bit tacky it does serve the story in some ways. (Another reason Bay would be great for a Superman movie.)
But who cares how ARMAGEDDON makes you feel? This is probably Michael Bay’s most ridiculous movie when it comes to mass destruction and chaos. Things constantly blow up in cities around the world, in space, and on an asteroid that is on its way to blow up Earth. You think the action set pieces may be limited considering the lunar setting, but you seriously underestimate Michael Bay. He manages to stage sequences involving cars and machine guns…on an asteroid. (Not to mention all the explosions in the vacuum of space.) The only downside to the nonstop action, aside from things like logic and realism, is it makes ARMAGEDDON long…really long. It feels like an entire movie has already happened by the time Bruce Willis and gang even get to space.
Along with the action, the other thing working in the film’s favor is the fun cast. You get the standard Bruce Willis action hero, generic Ben Affleck romantic lead, and perfect girlfriend/daughter Liv Tyler, it’s the supporting players that make it work well. This includes established names like Billy Bob Thornton and Steve Buscemi, then-unknowns Owen Wilson and Michael Clarke Duncan, as well as an ensemble of “those guys” Will Patton, Peter Stormare and William Fichtner. The script (with work from J.J Abrams no less) is fairly silly, but all the players make the most of it.
All in all, it’s big, dumb, unapologetic and unrelenting, but with a high mindless entertainment factor, ARMAGEDDON is an easy movie to watch.
Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” Music Video: Ironic, considering how much I want to miss this song and video forever.
Extra Tidbit: NASA shows ARMAGEDDON as part of its for management training curriculum …so that managers can prove their worth by pointing out all the scientific flaws in the movie.