Armageddon is a 1998 science-fiction disaster action film starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. The film was released on July 1, 1998, and was directed by Michael Bay from a screenplay written by Jonathan Hensleigh (who wrote the screenplays for Die Hard with a Vengeance and Jumanji) and J.J. Abrams.
A shuttle's unfortunate demise in outer space alerts NASA to a doomsday asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth. it seems that the only way to knock it off course is to drill into its surface and detonate a nuclear weapon. But as NASA's underfunded yet resourceful team trains the world's best drillers for the job, the world's social order begins to break down as the information reaches the public and hysteria results. As high-ranking officials play politics with the effort, members of the drilling team face deep personal issues that might jeopardize humanity's last chance.
- The story is weak and predictable.
- Michael Bay's direction isn't all that great.
- Some of the characters are weak and annoying as well.
- A very bad Bruce Willis' performance.
- Liv Tyler's character is extremely unlikable.
- Lame love story that only makes the movie feel longer.
- There's a staggering amount of scientific inaccuracies. So much, in fact, that NASA uses the film as part of their management training program to see how many inaccuracies candidates are able to identify.
- The central idea is drilling an 800-foot hole into an asteroid (well, planetoid) the size of the state of Texas and then splitting the whole thing in half with a 20-megaton nuke. This would be like trying to split a bowling ball in half by pricking a pinhole in the surface and then farting into it.
- Unnecessary opening narration about asteroids by Charlton Heston. We already know what this movie is about.
- Created as a counter-film to the more cerebral Deep Impact, and led to the addition of an out-of-place action sequence in that film.
- Some unbelievably terrible dialogue; like when a cab driver says "Saddam Hussein is bombing us!" during the scene where New York City is being destroyed by a meteor shower.
- Plot Hole: Instead of training drillers to become astronauts, wouldn't had been easier to train actual astronauts to drill?
- The soundtrack is pretty good, especially the iconic song "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith.
- For the most part, the special effects look pretty good, especially by late 90s standards.
- Billy Bob Thornton as Dan Truman is one of the few saving graces of the movie.
- Good amount of humor, especially during the crew training scenes.
- There are a bunch of exciting action scenes.
- Some good acting.
- Harry's death is gut-wrenching and emotional.
Armageddon received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. However, it received very positive reviews from audiences, with the film holding an audience score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- grade on CinemaScore. Roger Ebert awarded the film with a one-star rating and described it as "an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained." Gene Siskel, on the other hand, awarded the film a three-star rating. Ebert also named it as his worst film of 1998, while Siskel named Patch Adams as his worst film of 1998. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times stated in his review that the film was "sporadically watchable, it's at its best at those infrequent moments when it doesn't take itself too seriously." The film currently has a 39% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 5.2 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie's antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay."
Armageddon opened up at #1 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $36,089,972. The total domestic gross was $201,578,182. In overseas box offices, it made $352,131,606. The overall gross of Armageddon was $553,709,788 against its $140 million budget.
Awards and nominations
Armageddon was nominated for multiple Razzie Awards including "Worst Picture", but lost to An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. The film only "won" a Golden Raspberry Award for Bruce Willis as "Worst Actor". Armageddon was also nominated for four Academy Awards including "Best Sound Editing", "Best Sound Mixing", "Best Visual Editing" and "Best Original Song" for Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing".
- In early 1998, Roger Ebert at first deemed Spice World as his worst film of the year and awarded the film with half a star out of four. But, as the year continued, he later deemed Armageddon as his worst film of 1998 and awarded the film with one out of four stars. Gene Siskel deemed Patch Adams as his worst film of 1998.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role of Harry.
- Milla Jovovich, Denise Richards, and Robin Wright were all considered for the role of Grace.
- While the film was being made, and in response to the premise of the film, Ben Affleck asked Michael Bay "Wouldn't it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?". Instead of giving a proper answer, Bay promptly told Affleck to "shut the f*ck up!".
- Bruce Willis didn't want to work with Michael Bay again after this film.
- Ben Affleck disowned the film.
- In 2013, Michael Bay also disowned the film and stated "I will apologize for Armageddon because we had to do the whole movie in sixteen weeks" and added "It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could".
- Billy Bob Thornton issued a statement that he enjoyed performing in the film.
- This film is unusually part of The Criterion Collection, a collection of artistically important movies loaded with bonus features. It was their last LaserDisc release.
- The crew training scenes were filmed at actual NASA training facilities.