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Armageddon - Blu-ray / science fiction DVD / action and adventure DVD review
ARMAGEDDON Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 stars
Featuring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton
Director: Michael Bay Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
DVD release: 27 April 2010 Runtime: 150 min. (1 disc)
Format: C-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 2.40:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 - Spanish, French), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" music video (Aerosmith), Teasers and trailers

Michael Bay's *Armageddon* on Blu-rayI have a theory about directors Roland Emmerich (2012) and Michael Bay (TRANSFORMERS). It is my belief that their production companies work 'round the clock to destroy international landmarks in new and interesting ways, then they work up some flimsy structure to tie it all together, and - BLAMMO! They have a film. Michael Bay started down this road with ARMAGEDDON.

Here's the plot: a rock the size of Texas gets knocked out of the asteroid belt by a comet and is headed straight for Earth, where it will destroy mostly known monuments and landmarks. Naturally, NASA recruits a bunch of oil-drilling roughnecks to take a quick astronaut course, fly out to the asteroid, drill an 800-foot deep hole, drop a nuke in there and save Earth.

Let's leave all the astronomical inaccuracies aside for the duration and focus on the story and the action, since doing otherwise leads to fits of ranting likely to make one unpopular at parties. Harry Stampler (Bruce Willis) is in charge of an oil-drilling team on an offshore rig. He's just discovered that his best man and son he never had, A. J. Frost (Ben Affleck), is doing the horizontal whatziz with his daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler). Naturally he runs all over the oil rig with a shotgun hoping to blast a hole in the son he never had. Aaaaanyway... The head guy at NASA is Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton), who is believable in many things and completely watchable in this, but his scenes are never punctuated by explosions. I mention him only because I like Thornton.

Of course, the roughnecks all make it to asteroid and have conflicts and extra explosions all along the way. Will they make it? If you don't know the answer to that coming into this film, there may be no hope for you.

What bugs me about ARMAGEDDON is not the implausibility but the ruthless carnage. We start the film with an orbiting space shuttle getting creamed by meteorites. Okay, we say. It's dramatic and shocking and holds our attention by shocking us. Later, when the shuttles go out to the Mir space station to refuel, that gets blown up because... Well, just because. When they land on the asteroid, there's more senseless blowing up. When they start drilling, there's more still. I know it's an action film, but jeez Louise! Give the pyro guys a freakin' break for once, Mike. There are scenes of violent action during which I can't make heads or tails of what's happening on the screen. There are bits of rocks and machine flying around at the camera, but I don't know why. Drop some of the violent footage and get ten seconds of a guy shouting "Rock storm!" while looking at a radar screen.

ARMAGEDDON is a popcorn movie, meant to attract crowds of people likely to bellow "DUUUUUDE" at the screen when something happens. At that level it does not disappoint. And, thankfully, it only features about three slow-motion THE RIGHT STUFF "astronauts walking" scenes.

Extra features include a music video for Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and two trailers. One is called a teaser trailer, but clocking in at over two minutes and essentially telling the whole story, I'm feeling more harassed than teased. If you want all the commentaries, gag reel, special effects feeaturettes, etc., check out the Criterion Collection, which inexplicably released a version of this on DVD a few years ago.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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