Movie Review By Alex Lau
"Armageddon." The word implies death, destruction, doomsday, and a whole bunch of other terms that don't start with the letter "D." In this case, it's a new movie starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler, about a big asteroid that's heading straight for Earth.
The film starts with dozens of little asteroids smashing into the space shuttle and New York City, setting off a chain of events that lead to a hasty plan to save us all. Willis is called upon by NASA, and Billy Bob Thornton in particular, to help deflect the big one, an asteroid roughly the size of Texas, from its path of destruction.
So Willis and his crew, which includes Affleck and Steve Buscemi, get to train for the mission that will decide the fate of the planet.
I don't want to give away all of the story, but let's just say Willis is hardly a rocket scientist here. He's likable enough as Harry Stamper, an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things in a "Die Hard" sort of way. But it's harder to believe him as the father of Liv Tyler, and it's even harder to believe him as being a sensitive guy.
Thornton gives the most solid performance here, as NASA director Dan Truman, but everyone else is hampered by the lines they have to try to deliver with a straight face.
Director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who last collaborated on "The Rock," did their best to give this that tongue-in-cheek summer blockbuster feel, and to a large extent they succeeded.
On the other hand, the script, written by committee, is the biggest problem here. I've already mentioned the dialogue, and I'm no rocket scientist myself, but it's pretty hard to believe what they come up with as the solution to the asteroid.
"Apollo 13" showed us that a movie about the space program can have both tension and intelligence, and "Armageddon" has not much of either of them.
© 1998 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 7/1/98
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