It seems weird to be writing this review after posting one for Star Trek, but life is full of these odd occurrences…
Every year, movie studios jockey to put out what they think audiences will label as the “must-see” movie of the summer. In the mid-90s this reached a fever pitch that has yet to die with the release of Independence Day, Men In Black, and other action adventures. In 1998, July 4 was targeted by Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay for Armageddon. With Disney pouring money into the promotion of its release and a big Super Bowl commercial, Armageddon was guaranteed a huge payday.
Once I started collecting movies on DVD, I noticed that a few movies got special treatment as part of the Criterion Collection. This collection tries to spotlight movies that have some sort of significance in either cinematic technique or a particular career. Interestingly enough, Criterion honored two of Michael Bay’s movies, The Rock and Armageddon. Since I did enjoy both movies on the big screen, I went ahead and got the Criterion version of each.
Armageddon was the second movie to be released in 1998 centering around the theme of an asteroid crashing into Earth and destroying all life as we know it (Evolution, released a few years later, was a comedic take on this subject). Bruce Willis leads a big-name cast in an effort to save the world from an asteroid that looks like a reject from the Fortress of Solitude. The effects are big and Michael Bay hits you over the head time again with overwrought music and cheesy camera framing as to what the huge emotions should be – this is something that finally catches up to him with Pearl Harbor.
The DVD transfer is very nice and the movie holds up fairly well. Even at 2 1/2 hours and tons of predictable moments, the movie is a decent enough one to watch. While many may ridicule it publicly, they are the same ones secretly watching it whenever they run across it on TV. Criterion took the time to pack the DVD with extras that can make any DVD better: tons of features on effects and space training, all of the promotional materials, and commentaries.
My advice: give this disc a spin and tell your inner critic to disappear for a few hours.