Armageddon, based on a story by Robert Roy Pool, with six contributors for the adaptation for the big screen
Armageddon was nominated for…Four Academy Awards!
Granted, the categories were Best Sound, Special Effects, Visual and Sound and for the tremendous “I don’t want to miss a thing”, Best Music.
The feeling is that Armageddon is disastrous in so many ways, in spite of the splendid cast and the presence of the Divine Liv Tyler, an actress whose beauty is not surpassed by anyone – equaled, maybe, but there is no other woman or goddess who is better looking than this talented artist is.
One of the strong points of this rather forgettable motion picture is the presence of so many heavyweights:
Bruce Willis as Harry Stamper, Billy Bob Thornton aka Dan Truman, Ben Affleck as A.J. Frost, Steve Buscemi aka Rockhound, Owen Wilson as Oscar Choice, Michael Clarke Duncan – outstanding in The Green Mile- aka Otis Bear Kurleen and the glorious, fantastic, splendid Liv Tyler as Grace Stamper.
The premise of the film is reasonable in that it makes sense to think of the future when a big enough asteroid would come in the vicinity of the earth and eventually collide with it, destroying the earth in the process and if not that, then wipe out the population on it during and following the impact.
The hypothesis of a big clash with one such huge cosmic traveler is advanced as one the most likely explanation for the disappearance of the dinosaurs and multiple such objects from space have fallen on our planet and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, up to the very end of the earth, which may be cause by one such awful collision.
Starting from this acceptable premise, what follows in this gigantic feature is mostly, if not entirely preposterous, outrageous, colossal and flawed in details and its structure and ridiculous magnitude.
NASA has seen this and the humanity, its leaders are aware of the Clear and Present Danger and the imminent extinction if they do nothing about it and a series of frenzied consultations is lined up.
The military says that they need to nuke the oncoming danger, only this is more complicated than it seems and after a supposedly humorous exchange – which just seems over the top and obnoxious- they take the view that a nuclear bomb would have to be inserted into the asteroid, otherwise, it would not work.
Enter the stage Harry Stamper aka Bruce Willis and his band of rebel, maverick, outré drillers and geologists, in this instance the world’s last hope, for they would have to create the big hole required to get the bomb in, under impossible circumstances, within dangerous conditions, out there in the outer space.
The creators of this saga surely thought this would be such a terrific, spectacular story that the audiences would be awed and ecstatic, only it is too pretentious and silly to think that space ships would fly through meteorites- and only get some cracks in the windows, and maybe one team gone- and drill on a flying surface with success
Of course, many dismissed the race to fly to the moon and a number of conspiracy theory fanatics still think it was all just a show, filmed somewhere on earth, for nobody ever stepped on our natural satellite, but there is a limit to where we can take some scientific facts and bend them.
It is not just the impossibility of the endeavor that makes this hard to watch, it is the combination of a strange kind of humor, the sense that some undisciplined, untrained amateurs can play games and become astronauts in a matter of days- yes, there is no time left, but then we can just guess this is the end and it is really Armageddon, with an unhappy, but credible ending.
Con Air, Top Gun come to mind, with the pretense that a team or better still, just one exceptional hero can change the fate of a large group, or why not, the world, but the most likely to resemble to some extent would be The Right Stuff, which is so much superior to Armageddon as to defy comparison.
The Right Stuff is a chef d’oeuvre about real astronauts –including John Glenn and some of the first to go out in outer space- what it takes to fly away from the earth,, the skills, perseverance, grit, discipline – which in Armageddon seems to be a negative trait- dedication, bravery.
When compared with The Right Stuff, Armageddon is the opposite, a motion picture with a very flawed narrative, too much bent on spectacle and fireworks and very thin on substance, willing to dazzle and impress, but without a plot that is respectable.
It could all happen, but even if it would, the elements and ingredients can never be the ones described in this film, for they try to much to make it glamorous and have the team sing at the most inappropriate and unlikely moment- if any singing is indeed in order- it feels hallow and silly.