Reviewed by: Kyle Suggs
The comparisons between “Deep Impact” (the other summer meteor movie) and “Armageddon” will seem endless. It will be said “Deep Impact” is a deeply emotional drama that deals mainly with mankind’s acceptance of worldwide destruction, while “Armageddon” is a big budget, sci-fi thriller that documents the NASA mission that will attempt to destroy the approaching celestial danger. Which one is better? You had to ask…
The movie begins with an unsuspecting town (namely New York City) that is bombarded by a meteor shower. This event, which takes out a large portion of the city, (including the Empire State Building) sets off an alert at NASA announcing that an asteroid the size of Texas is headed on a collision-course with Earth. This “global killer” will end all life on Earth (yes, even the roaches). With only 18 days before impact, the most probable solution is to launch a team that will land on the impeding rock, drill a 800-foot-deep hole, drop in a nuke, and get out ASAP (preferably, before it blows). For this job, NASA and the world must rely on the finest of rock diggers. Enter Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis) and his world-renowned oil drilling crew.
A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck) is Harry’s second-in-command, and romantically involved with Harry’s daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler). Grace has been by her father’s side on oil riggers most of her life. Besides this love triangle and the state-sized rock, “Armageddon” has very little story. Instead, the audience gets a double dose of special effects, sound, one-liners and testosterone. From the opening scenes to the final 45 minutes there is very little suspense. Campy dialogue, a sappy romance, and a crash course of space exploration tolerance by a bunch of shallow characters fill this void.
So what is good about this film? For starters, director Michael Bay (“Bad Boys,” “The Rock”) does an excellent job with action sequence directing. Billy Bob Thornton’s character, Dan Truman, is very convincing as the project flight director. In fact, this character is the one that most viewers will feel and pull for. Rockhound, the pervert who happens to be a scientific genius, (Steve Buscemi) supplies good and much needed comic relief throughout this flick. Combine all this with outstanding special effects, editing, and sets and you will quickly realize that this movie is exactly what these new, state-of-the-art movie theaters were designed for.
From a Christian standpoint, I have a few gripes. Firstly, “Armageddon” is not the end of the world. The Bible teaches that Armageddon is the site of a great battle that, shortly after its finale, will usher in the glorious second appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. (For some great Christian videos about end times, check out “Apocalypse,” “Revelation,” “The Gathering”, or “Left Behind: The Movie”).
Secondly, the film states the earth is millions of years old and that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. The myth of Evolution is presented as scientific fact and is in strict conflict with the Bible (Genesis 1). Creation science points to the flood (as in Noah) and global warming as a more likely cause of the dinosaur’s demise. (One great book dealing with this question is “The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible.”)
Finally, there is swearing (including the misuse of the Lord’s name), adult situations, pre-martial sex (implied), and massive death. [Editor’s note: be sure to read the comments below regarding the sexual material.]
“Armageddon” has all of the action, eye, and ear candy that “Deep Impact” lacks. However, “Deep Impact” supplies drama and real characters with real emotions that “Armageddon” bypasses. Let’s end the argument and call it a draw. It is just too bad we cannot merge the two. Then again, a third movie may not be wise either.
Year of Release—1998