Armageddon

Released: July 1, 1998
Budget: $140 million
US Box Office: $202 million
Global Box Office: $555 million

Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichter, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan

Synopsis: A team of astronauts and oil drillers travels to space to nuke an asteroid and save humanity from extinction.
Best Quote: "Dig! Dig! Dig! Chew this iron bitch up!"

Review: 2.5 stars

If you are the type of person who spends all winter and spring watching trailers of next summer's blockbusters on your computer, you will enjoy Armageddon. With a big budget, big effects, big stars, and a big soundtrack, this movie typifies the box office heavyweights that roll around each July to huge numbers and mixed reviews

The key to having fun with any Michael Bay action film is just going into it with the right mindset. If you are looking for some good, clean, Hollywood fun then you are going to have a blast. On the other hand, if you are looking to pick the directing, acting, or screenplay apart, you won't have much trouble finding plenty of flaws. Not every film is trying to be a work of art and once moviegoers recognize that they can enjoy a wider spectrum of movies. I like Armageddon because the effects are excellent and because the cast is having so much fun. If Ocean's 11 (and its sequels) aren't evidence enough that big actors enjoying themselves onscreen can make a movie, I don't know what is. With Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, and Michael Clark Duncan, there is certainly no shortage of fun, likeable characters in this one.

Where the film slips a little is in its heavy doses of patriotism and stereotypes. In other near-apocalypse disaster movies like Independence Day, patriotism runs high but there is still a sense of worldwide celebration when the crisis is averted. Here, the complete destruction of Paris is a side note and the idea of trying to warn East Asia about a mid-sized meteor is shrugged off as being too much work. The portrayal of women isn't a whole lot better. Female characters in this film tend to be strippers or housewives who are helpless without a strong male figure in their lives. The machismo feels old fashioned and is disappointing to see in a modern movie.

Before watching Armageddon, know what you are getting yourself into. It has the horsepower worthy of popcorn, a big crowd, and a nice TV, but it has trouble holding up to heavy scrutiny or high expectations.