From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“Armageddon” on Blu-ray
The end of the world gets a high-definition upgrade as “Armageddon,” the biggest blockbuster of 1998, detonates on Blu-ray.
With its killer asteroids, painfully awkward romance and all-star cast willing to endure humiliatingly dumb dialogue and plot twists, “Armageddon” in many ways qualifies as the quintessential Michael Bay movie. In the first eight minutes, the action filmmaker/demolitions enthusiast blows up the space shuttle and most of New York, rendering with scorching care the opening salvo in a seemingly unending barrage of enormous explosions.
For all its overly long, increasingly loud popcorn flick silliness, “Armageddon” at least has its share of fun and engaging moments. A few witty one-liners, colorful characters and cool action sequences provide at least a glimmer of redemption, something that couldn’t be uncovered with high-powered microscope in Bay’s last project, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”
When vicious meteor showers begin pummeling Earth, NASA leader Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thorton) and his team discover an impending disaster: A humungous asteroid hurtling through space will demolish the planet in a mere 18 days. Because of its size and speed, the scientists determine the only way to avert global calamity is to land a shuttle on the space rock, drill 800 feet below its surface and detonate a nuclear bomb inside it, splitting it in two and propelling the halves around Earth.
Truman recruits an unlikely hero to save the world: Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), a renowned deep-core oil driller. So, Harry and his ragtag team of roughnecks — including his best pal Chick (Will Patton), womanizing geologist Rockhound (Steve Buscemi) and risk-taker A.J. (Ben Affleck), who is in love with Harry’s whip-smart daughter Grace (Liv Tyler) — undergo hasty astronaut training before embarking on their collision course with rocky destiny.
While the script flings an excessive number of catastrophes at the heroes in an effort to fulfill Bay’s need to explode stuff, the movie wears thinnest when the filmmakers clumsily try to create believable chemistry between A.J. and Grace. The appallingly idiotic pillow talk and overblown Aerosmith ballad employed to convey romance will have cinephiles begging Bay to find another landmark to destroy.
Unfortunately, the music video to the aforementioned ballad, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” is the only bonus feature on the Blu-ray disc.