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Armageddon

review by Zach B.

 

Rated PG-13

Studio: Disney

Starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan

Story by Robert Roy Pool and Jonathan Hensleigh

Directed by Michael Bay

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Music Video

Specs: Widescreen Letterboxed-2.35:1, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French 2.0 Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search

"Armageddon" is no masterpiece, but was THE summer movie for 1998. If I recall it was the top grossing movie of that year, and the big July 4th movie ever one ranted about.

I did see "Armageddon" upon it's theatrical release, and I did enjoy it. Reviews were mixed. Some critics automatically called it the worst movie of the year, but some people looked beyond the lack of substance and didn't take it seriously. Yes, it's not the greatest movie ever made, but it is entertaining. It was what summer movies were supposed to be about: a ton and ton of hype and anticipation, plus to be an entertaining ride for two hours. "Armageddon" accomplished just that.

"Armageddon" has a really simple premise, nothing too incredibly original and standard all in all: A team of oil drillers, lead by Bruce Willis, train for a short time to go into space and blow up an asteroid the size of Texas before it crushes Earth. Also in that storyline, there arew a few subplots to not make it just an action movie. There's a storyline between Willis' daughter (Tyler) and a fellow driller (Affleck) to give romance, among other things.

As far as the movie goes, the characters are two dimensional. Nothing more or nothing less. Every character is developed nicely and standardly. The special effects are great (especially the explosions and space scenes), and the editing is pretty choppy, which is sure to put your head into a tizzy. While some of the dialogue is hallow, I felt at times there was a smart line or two. Michael Bay's direction is decent and gets the job done. Finally, the movie is pretty predictible. I know many felt the whole ending was a shock, but I saw it coming (and for those who didn't see the movie, I will not ruin it for you).

"Armageddon" isn't for everyone. It's just a fun movie to kill two hours. It won't get you thinking, and heck, it may kill braincells. As I said, it's one of those summer movies. It's supposed to be entertaining, and it accomplishes that. If you're a casual moviegoer and love action, this is the movie for you.

This is a really solid transfer, and it looks great. Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, Armageddon looks fantastic. Colors are really bold, the picture is really sharp, and I only noticed some slight dirt and artifacts now and then. However, my biggest complaint is that it's not anamorphic. A movie like this could really use the extra resolution, since it has some excellent shots and visual flair. Also, this is a nice movie for your home theater system, and since it's not anamorphic and you got a widescreen TV, you get screwed that way. But overall, it's nice.

I almost gave this a perfect score, but there is a slight problem with the English 5.1 audio. It sounds nice and the explosions going off in all direction fields is great, but it's really too overpowering for me. The .1 LFE is used to it's fullest and sounds great, but all in all, I could go deaf from all this, it's generally too harsh. But still, the rockets launching, the music, the drilling, the explosions are mixed incredibly well and it feels like you're at the theater all over again. A bit too intense, but really good otherwise.

The Theatrical Trailer and Teaser are included, and look good plus sound good. Aerosmith's Oscar® nominated song and big hit, the Music Video for "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" is also included. Of course, the Criterion edition is jammed pack with extras...

It's basically all your choice now. Some liked the movie, some ripped it to pieces. But if you enjoyed it and don't care about extras, go with this version. If you love supplements, you can get a good amount in the Criterion. The presentation as far as audio and video is the same for both, so you're basically paying 20 dollars more worthwhile and pretty in-depth extras.

(3.5/5, NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(4.5/5)

(1/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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