13 Reasons Why Armageddon Is More Than Just A Decent Movie18
By Rebecca Leib
13 Reasons Why Armageddon Is More Than Just A Decent Movie
1998’s blockbuster hit, Armageddon, explores the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth and ending the world as we know it. NASA tries to stop the Texas-sized asteroid, but the only way to do so is by drilling a hole in its surface and blowing up the asteroid from the inside out. Though you might pass this film off as another doomsday blockbuster, there are a lot of reasons that this movie rises above your usual apocalyptic fare – similar to KoldCast TV’s new comedy series Hollywood Wasteland, the story of ultimate nice guy Jeff Collins – a comic book lover and insurance analyst – who does his best to keep a roof over his head while oblivious to the zombie hordes, nuclear explosions, and other disasters going on around him. It’s always refreshing when an old storyline is delivered in a fresh way.
For Armageddon, however, it was difficult to rise above the noise of so many other disaster movies – it carries the cheese ball baggage of a singing Ben Affleck, action movie one-liners and an outrageously ridiculous plotline. Still, it often ends up on the top of audience’s lists as one of their favorite disaster movies of all time. And here are 13 reasons why.
Hollywood Wasteland: Trailer
1. All NASA’d Up
This film was the first EVER to use genuine 10-million-dollar NASA space suits and the first to shoot in the usually restricted NASA offices and historical locations – some of which included the neutral buoyancy lab (a 65-million-gallon, 40-foot-deep pool used to train astronauts for weightlessness) and the historic launch pad that was decommissioned after the Apollo 1 disaster.
2. Short Cuts
“Armageddon” was edited with each clip averaging 1.5 seconds long, adding a dramatic urgency to the film. Talk about action packed! If you’re looking for popcorn entertainment, this film is guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
The film features a star-studded cast; and even if they aren’t all master thespians, it is super fun to watch them be uber-dramatic. Sure, Billy Bob Thornton and Steve Buscemi always have my heart, but lesser (ahem) talents are extra fun to watch, like Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck. Others you might recognize: Bruce Willis, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Bay (as a NASA scientist).
4. Come on, Roger!
Roger Ebert calls this film one of his least favorites, and we know how powerful he is in the film world. What makes him the expert? Maybe his list of screenwriting credits? That’s right, he has a writing credit on Russ Meyer’s “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” and the Sex Pistols movie, “Who Killed Bambi?” Though the man is a legend, all of his films were technically box office flops. So just to spite the man who makes money spiting others, you gotta love this guilty pleasure.
5. Four Oscar noms, people!
It can’t be that bad if it’s applauded at the Oscars, no? The film received four nominations at the 1998 Academy Awards: ‘Best Sound’, ‘Best Visual Effects,’ ‘Best Sound Effects Editing,’ and ‘Best Original Song.’ Not too shabby!
6. Actual astronauts were used!
Astronaut Shannon Lucid is in the background of the “underwater simulation” scenes. You may remember her as the astronaut who made news for setting endurance records living aboard the Mir Space Station in 1993.
7. Bay’s Prof digs it!
Film scholar Jeanine Basinger, a professor of Michael Bay’s at Wesleyan University, digs the film as a production of action genius. Basinger states that the film is “a work of art by a cutting-edge artist who is a master of movement, light, color, and shape—and also of chaos, razzle-dazzle, and explosion.”
8. The Nobility of Ordinary Man
Though the film might seem cheesy, it lifts up the ordinary man to be a not-so-ordinary hero. With the joint efforts of proud scientists and specialists, the film exalts the working man (played by blue collar oil drillers) in ways many other films do not.
9. It’s a learning tool!
NASA shows this film as part of their management-training program. Prospective managers in the program are asked to find as many inaccuracies in “Armageddon” as they possibly can. During these screenings, at least 168 inaccuracies have been found. Great way to put Hollywood lies to good use!
10. A Pretty Rockin’ Soundtrack
I know Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” seems kinda corny in retrospect, but it was pretty rockin’ in ‘98. Other artists included on the album are Journey, Patty Smyth and Jon Bon Jovi.
11. And Speaking of Music…
And speaking of music and Oscar noms, the score’s nothing to shirk at, either. The original motion picture score is composed by Trevor Rabin, formerly a member of the progressive rock band “Yes,” which is pretty much awesome sauce.
12. Don’t like movies? Read the novel.
Yes, there’s a NOVEL. It’s by C. Bolin, based on the screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy and Shane Salerno. Considering the juggernauts that JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek), Michael Bay (every movie where things blow up) and Tony Gilroy (Bourne franchise) have become, it’s worth a couple of hours at the beach or doctor’s office. As for C. Bolin, he’s got some more film novelizations if you’re into that sort of thing: Gone in 60 Seconds and It’s a Wonderful Life. Gotta love an action flick that becomes literature.
13. We beat Godzilla!
The film kicked Godzilla’s butt in box office revenue after the two films opened that same summer. In “Armageddon,” there’s a cheeky nod to the two films’ rivalry: Reggie The Dog attacks a blow-up doll of Godzilla. Boo-ya!
Hollywood Wasteland, Episode 1: Humanities Last Hope
Hollywood Wasteland, Episode 2: Robot From the Future
Rebecca Leib received her BFA in Fine Art and MFA in writing and hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer. Her work can be seen in the pages of many print and online publications, including Beautiful/Decay, Artillery Magazine, Blackbook, Tvgasm, Metrowize and Dailyfill. She has performed at the Second City Studio Theatre, UCB-LA, IOWest and the improv, and can often be seen brooding at sidewalk cafes.