======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
Would you believe me if I told you that Armageddon only has a 39% approval rating on Rottentomatoes? Well, it does. Although most of us have no problem throwing on this mindless romp about a crew of ill-equipped oil drillers sent into space to destroy the astronaut hurtling towards Earth, critics overwhelmingly disagreed. What made them hate this movie, and why do so many of us think they’re dead wrong? Let’s take a look.
The Critics Consensus
Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie’s antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.
Now look, we have to admit…
– They’re not really that wrong. I mean, Michael Bay has made his reputation as the dumb, explosion-loving director who writes paper-thin stories devoid of any actual character-building. Most of his characters are wildly over-the-top. Their quirks eclipse eccentricity and go straight to insanity (just watch the montage of the crew’s psychiatric review for proof of this). And his counterpart, Bruckheimer, is also not one to eschew substance in favor of flash.
– Every scene with Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler just drags. I mean, it’s a movie about the apocalypse, who gives a crap about this whole “forbidden love” story? Newsflash Mr. Bay, you don’t need to shoe-horn in a love story into every one of your movies to try to prove to us that you’re not actually a thirteen-year-old boy trapped in a grown man’s body.
– There are whole plot lines of the movie that are absolutely meaningless. Chick having a long-lost kid, Truman having a leg brace that kept him from ever getting to be an astronaut, Rockhound getting space dementia (if that’s even a real thing), and the whole strip-club fiasco the night before launch. None of it added anything interesting or deep to any of the characters, and frankly, none of us care. If you’re going to move away from the sexy action scenes, at least have it be for something meaningful.
– There is a lot of action for action’s sake. This is a movie with three scenes of asteroids hitting major cities. You only needed one, maybe the second for the world-wide panic, but that was never even shown. Like, I get it, the need to escalate action in building to the climax, but Jesus. We get it, there’s a nuke on the asteroid, big explosions and rumbles are gonna happen. We’re already sold. Give us something better.
– Is this movie meant to be set in the 1950s? I mean seriously, watch the monologue of the President giving his TV address. Every shot is mid-town America watching on old-time TVs or listening to the radio.
But come on guys…
– Here’s a list of some of Michael Bay’s most famous films: Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys (II), The Rock, Transformers. Are these masterpieces of filmmaking? Hell no. Would I watch any one of those movies right now? Hell yes.
– The action sequences are cool as fuck. I mean, yeah there are too many “amp-the-music-it’s-about-to-blow” moments, but they are really well shot. Also, for all the crap I gave about too much action for action’s sake sequences, it’s because there are so many action sequences that are so good. The Russian Space station exploding, the first shuttle crash, the nuke almost exploding, the armadillo getting blown up, the jump over the canyon. There are a lot of cool moments in this movie that will get anyone’s heart pumping.
– We got Bruce Willis, in all his shiny domed glory, being a badass. We got Steve Buscemi, a former firefighter and national treasure. There’s Billy Bob Thornton as the crotchety man in charge long before he was head ball coach at Permian. Keith David bringing his gravitas and gravelly voice. Will Patten and William Fichtner, a couple of all-time character actors. The late, great Michael Clarke Duncan bringing the laughs. And who else…oh yeah OWEN GODDAMN WILSON!
– One of the best “bring the crew together” montages of all time. Set to “Come Together” by the Beatles.
– Some great editing of the action sequences. Great scores, fast-paced cuts that build tension, but still not bouncing all over the place. You can hate Michael Bay for a lot of things, but you can’t deny that the man knows how to frame and edit action shots.
– The entire ending. Sure the whole “someone has to stay behind and sacrifice himself” gambit is cliched as hell. But this movie does it amazingly. The tension of the drawing straws scene. The tough walk down for Harry and AJ together, as they express their mutual love. Harry’s switch move. And the goodbye between Harry and Grace. If you don’t tear up a little bit watching that scene, man you are just not human.
– This song.
If you don’t love this song, you don’t love freedom, or love, or America. .
Image via Youtube