Armageddon

A typically relentless, attention-deficit-disorder spectacle from Michael Bay. An asteroid the size of Texas threatens Earth. Oil driller Bruce Willis and his trusty team of misfits (including Steve Buscemi, Ben Affleck, and Will Patton) are sent up to land on the rock, drill a hole, drop a nuke into it, and blow it up from within. The movie is a trashy combo of The Dirty Dozen and The Right Stuff — I would say “cheerfully trashy,” but there’s nothing especially cheerful about Bay’s hyperactive, insecure style that treats the audience like morons, and the script makes almost no sense despite the work of many uncredited hands (including Paul Attanasio, Scott Rosenberg, Ann Biderman, Robert Towne, Tony Gilroy, Shane Salerno, and Robert Roy Pool). Still, it was Touchstone’s biggest hit to date, outearning Touchstone’s previous record-holder Pretty Woman. Score by Trevor Rabin; cinematography by John Schwartzman. Aerosmith’s awful ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was actually nominated for an Oscar. Also with Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Stormare, Grace Zabriskie, Udo Kier, Bodhi Elfman, and Shawnee Smith; Lawrence Tierney had a part as Willis’ dad but got left on the cutting-room floor (lucky him). Charlton Heston provides the opening narration, getting the movie off to a properly ostentatious start. Look for Matt Malloy (In the Company of Men) as a NASA techie.

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