Viking Night: Michael Bay May Phase III - Armageddon
By Bruce Hall
May 17, 2017
At the end of Armageddon, there is a disclaimer from NASA stating that their willingness to cooperate with the film does not constitute their endorsement of anything IN it.
I couldn’t agree more.
Maybe that’s standard boilerplate, or maybe it’s telling. If I were the friendly folks at NASA, I’d be down for a summer action film starring Bruce Willis’ perma-smirk against an asteroid the size of Texas. I would probably embrace you like a son when you told me you were making it. Unless you were Michael Bay, in which case I would probably offer to take my own life to stop you. That’s kind of how I feel watching Armageddon, you know? It feels like being tied to a chair while Michael Bay slips his bony hands around your neck and squeezes until your eyes pop out like little skinned grapes.
I saw this movie in theaters the week it released, on a team building trip at work. I don’t really go in for those things because, you know, I’m edgy that way. I also DO love good storytelling, which is why, as you may have overheard someone say recently, I do NOT love Michael Bay. I tell you this so you’ll understand why I didn’t just grin and drool and clap like everyone else when asked what I thought of the movie. I told them I hated it, I still hate it, and it remains near the top of the prestigious Viking Night Most Hated Films of the 1990s.
Rest assured, good reader, that my hatred was reflected back on me a thousand-fold. My co-workers shunned me like a Nazi war criminal. I was a pariah.
Damn you, Michael Bay.
But my hatred of Armageddon isn’t the same seething, angry resentment I hold for the Transformers franchise. This is more of a sad disappointment, like the regret you feel about an ex-lover, or when a lifelong friend betrays you and you must take him down in a climactic battle at the lip of a volcano. Either one is just as bad, is what I’m saying. And it’s all because on paper, this looks like a can't-miss proposition.
Armageddon is a two-and-a-half-hour long action flick, about a rock the size of Texas approaching the earth. The only ones who can save us are Bruce Willis, who is the world’s greatest deep sea oil driller, which is not something I was aware you could be individually good at. And Billy Bob Thornton, as the no-nonsense head of NASA. AND, a merry band of hardasses including Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Owen Wilson before anybody cared who they were (I’ll let you decide whether you still do).
What in the name of God could possibly go wrong? It’s complicated, but I’ll try to be brief.
As I’ve said, an asteroid the size of Jerry Jones’ ego is coming to kill us, and is three weeks away. Nobody notices this incredibly massive object until advance debris takes out the space shuttle Atlantis and starts destroying national landmarks. The explanation given for this is that NASA’s “finding deadly asteroids” budget is so small, they’ve only mapped three percent of the sky. I don’t think it works quite that literally, but it’s good for a semi amusing chuckle early in the story, when it’s most needed.