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Blu-Ray Review: Armageddon

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Armageddon was the top grossing worldwide movie of 1998 and the movie to see that summer. The film came from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay, and stars Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, and Liv Tyler.

Armageddon sees an asteroid the size of Texas heading towards Earth and will destroy all life if it isn’t stopped. So does NASA get the top specialists to man a mission to land on the asteroid; set up several nukes to detonate that will cause the asteroid to break up into smaller pieces that will then burn up once they hit the atmosphere? No, they get a rag-tag bunch of oil drillers, led by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) which includes (A.J. Frost) Ben Affleck, Owen Wilson, Steve Buscemi, and Michael Clarke Duncan. The cast also includes Billy Bob Thornton as head of NASA Dan Trumanis and Liv Tyler is Harry’s daughter Grace who has been sleeping with A.J. This causes Harry to go through the roof as he wants a better life for Grace and for her not to end up with someone that Harry sees as a younger version of himself.

The movie was (and still is) a fun popcorn movie; no, not everything makes sense, but it has the explosions and action that we’ve come to expect from a Bruckheimer/Bay production.  Willis is great as the grizzled driller who wants a better life for his daughter; Affleck is the brash upstart who Harry likes but not as a partner for his daughter; Tyler plays the rebellious daughter very well (possibly drawing from real life situations with her dad Aerosmith lead singer Steve Tyler). The other drillers all are quirky, especially Buscemi as Rockhound who owes the mob a good deal of money and sees this mission as a way of getting out of repaying the debt.

You need to have a willing suspension of disbelief, but it’s a movie I enjoyed tremendously when I saw it in the theater, and again on DVD and will stop to watch if I’m flipping through TV channels and see it’s on.

Video:

Armageddon looks great on Blu-ray..  The movie is presented with a full 1080p and AVC coding; the colors are striking be it the blue of the water in the training tank, fiery red of the meteoroids in space or hitting the Earth, or the crispness of the black of space.  The film holds up and small details are crisp; however, some of the effects are noticeable and grainy, but keep in mind this was done with effects from over a decade ago.

Audio:
The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is very good; it never overpowers the dialogue, nor interferes with it. You can understand each actor’s lines and can distinguish each of them, especially in the numerous action scenes where dialogue can be lost.

Sadly there’s not much in the way of extras. There were two versions of the DVD: one was the standard edition of the movie which has the Aerosmith video "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" as the sole extra. Then there was a Criterion special edition which was loaded with extras, and maybe someday there will be a Blu-ray edition of the Criterion version; but for now there’s only the standard edition with the Aerosmith video available on Blu-ray. My recommendation is if you have the Criterion edition keep it, and get this for the audio/video improvements.

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  • Lisa Briget Coughlan

    on armageddon wen der on d space suttle after crashin onto d astroid wen one of d lads is callin for help der is a bit of fire in d bach round nd day r in space nd der is no oxigen dar so der is no possible way for a fire to servive without oxigen!i am onli young nd i hav noticed ih!