Movie Review

Armageddon

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief language

Reviewed by: Kyle Suggs
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Length:
150 min.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Will Patton, Peter Stormare / Director: Michael Bay / Released by: Buena Vista/Touchstone—a division of Disney

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

Viewer Comments
a stinker!
This had to be one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen! Even coming from a nonreligious view-point, I still found it objectionable and offensive. The film editing was so choppy, I didn’t know half the time what was going on! The “animal crackers” scene was probably the most embarrassing and ludicrous part. Don’t waste your time taking your kids to see this stinker!
—Matilda Buckley, age 17
not worth your time
As a Christian, I was very offended by not only hearing God’s name taken about 9 or 10 times (one time too many for me), but also by the showing of a stripper bar, with many female strippers running around with barely anything on. Even though it didn’t contain full nudity, I felt that they came as close as they could. It was enough to make me sick. Everyone has an imagination, why put it to the test. Also, I should mention that it was the opposite of what Armageddon really is about. I went to this movie with the knowledge from others who had seen it, that it was a really good movie, if you could get past the swear words. Well, I won’t deny that other than the above things I mentioned, it was an intense movie with a lot of action, and some humor. It’s just so sad that a movie such as this, has to be ruined by some unnecessary garbage. Sure, we may be exposed to profanity, crude humor or violence in our life, so why watch it on a screen. If you are contemplating on seeing a movie, then don’t see this movie just on a mere opinion that you heard it was “really good.” I don’t trust PG-13 anymore. I wish I had read these opinions first before I wasted $18.00 on my nephew, my husband and myself. There’s plenty of other movies out there that are far better and moral than this movie.
—Heather, age 27
anti-Christian
In the movie the president makes a speech and one thing really hit me hard. The president said that our technology could overcome “the end of the world.” First let’s get one thing straight, God was the creator and HE WILL BE THE OMEGA! Besides this remark, there was profanity, pre-marital sex scenes, and the Lord’s name was taken in vain many times. Also they made evolution seem like a fact right-off-the bat with the extinction theory of dinosaurs. All in all I enjoyed the movie, with its action packed, non-stop, nail-biting action!
—Mark Seeber, age 32
“This movie is stupid and an embarrassment”
I’m glad I went to see the film “Armageddon” a few nights ago at my local cineplex. I took my girls, age 10 and 12. It was a historic moment in the history of cinema: I believe Armageddon has replaced “Plan 9 From Outer Space” as perhaps the worst movie ever made. First, from a Christian perspective, I had to cover my kids eyes for just about every second of any form of male-female interaction depicted on the screen. Watch this movie, and you’d believe a prerequisite for heroism is to be a drunken, perverted lout. Spare me. By the end of the movie, I was cheering for the asteroid to flatten Earth—and I was certainly cheering for the moronic chartacters to bite the dust. Trust me, I was disappointed that any of them actually lived. This movie was BAD, and the time and money better spent watching reruns of Lost in Space episodes, which in contrast to Amageddon, actually had some realism to the space/technology. This movie is stupid and an embarrasment. I did get quite a few laughs near the end, when there was a lame attempt at sentimentality. I really resented the maudlin use of patriotic images, which appeared to be spliced in just as war footage was spliced in to Plan 9 by its director, Ed Wood, who’d picked them up from the cutting room floor. Realism wise, this film lacked any attempt at it. I mean we all know that if meteorites hit Earth they’re unlikely to hit only cities. And we know that space shuttles don’t fly like Star Wars vehicles. And we know that gravity doesn’t go one way one minute while sending someone the other way the next. And we know there’s no grass growing on an asteroid. (In one scene you could clearly see grass in the film, from wherever they filmed this. Seeing the grass reminded my of an Ed Wood filmmaking gem.
—Richard Schmitz, age 43
Re: sexual content—I’ve seen worse in PG-13 movies, and this was quite tame. Most of the members of my youth group have seen (and some experienced) far more. Re: language: I hear far more profanity in the workplace; and I work in Aerospace. This movie was quite tame. The only negative note of my own—the science and technology had too many mistakes to mention. Call it “Artistic License.” Finally, did anyone notice the several references to prayer? Did anyone notice the willingness of a Father giving his life for his future son-in-law? Did anyone notice how willingly a team of men decided to try to save the world even though their chances were astronomically small? I thought the movie was entertaining, and had some social redeeming value. I would recommend it to the members of my youth group.
—Carl, age 51
more skin than an R rated movie
…You say that there are sexual situation in the movie, but you didn’t mention the scene where Liv Tyler’s shirt is wide open, exposing her chest through a see-through bra. On top of this, her boyfriend uses an animal cracker to play with her nipples. I found this to be revolting, not to mention that I would never allow 13 year-olds to see this, let alone 18 year olds. I don’t feel that you informed the readers to how much skin is seen in this movie. On top of the scene mentioned before, there is also the scene at the smut joint. I saw more skin in this movie than I would see in a rated-R flick! However, your comments about the special effects were right on!
—Stacy
too many technical impossibilities to remember
I agree with the comments regarding Biblical inaccuracies and treating evolution as fact. From a technical standpoint, the film is pure dreamworld. I can’t take the time to comment on all the things that were wrong with it technically (probably can’t even remember all of them), but here’s a few. It is impossible to prepare and launch a Space Shuttle in 18 days. There is only one Shuttle launch pad at KSC. There are no plans to build a second one. There is no capability to store rocket fuel on the Mir Space Station. The external fuel tank on the Shuttle does not separate from the Orbiter for approximately six minutes after the Solid Rocket Boosters separate. Even if there was fuel (Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen) on Mir, it couldn’t be transferred to the Orbiter because it has no fuel tanks. The “Armageddon” shuttle landed on the asteroid using skids. The Orbiter landing gear takes up all the available space beneath the Orbiter. There is no place to stow skids. The Orbiter on the asteroid was hit numerous times with apparent terrific force. The real Orbiter could not possible have survived those impacts. The “Armageddon” Orbiter had no thermal tiles on its outer surface to protect in during earth re-entry. Even if they were there, they are subject to damage even from rain drops, and would have been demolished by the impacts from flying debris on the asteroid. I’m surprised that NASA would even allow their name to be mentioned in the movie. I also saw “Deep Impact” and consider it head and shoulders above “Armageddon”.
—Earl Cramp, age 65
“I was ready to pull the plug”
We made Armageddon a family movie outing with our Four Sons aged 18,16, 13, and 11. But from the opening scene of pre-marital sex I was ready to pull the plug—the shot-gun totting Dad though gave some redemption to my $30 recreational investment! We were pleased with the graphics and suspense but the pervert’s comments were not necessary. Then came the Animal Crackers—one more eighth of an inch with the roving Animal Cracker on the exposed bosom and and under pants top edge and we were going to be history!! But… we stayed and watched and had some fun. Though on the drive home from the theater I had to confess to my sons the embarassment I felt that as their “Parental Unit” this Sci-Fi flick should have been avoided with the afore mentioned sexual conatations not only for their sake but this 42 year old happily married male’s sake as well—Why do they have to do that?
—Paul Belt, age 42
nothing brief about the raunchy language
I was truly disappointed in this film. First of all, there was nothing brief about the language. It was through the entire movie. And pretty raunchy at times. Second, it was a imitation of Deep Impact, which I thought, was the better movie. And third, didn’t have anything to do with the real Armageddon in the Word of God. Don’t waste your time with this one. I wish I hadn't.
—Chris, age 28
“scientifically inaccurate”
Armageddon is the most scientifically inaccurate film I have ever seen. Although there is lots of talk about how the asteroid has a lot less gravity than earth, during a meteor shower on the asteroid chunks of rock fall as if all the gravitational force of earth were present. Another, and may I add far worse, mistake was the idea that a nuke detonated a mere 800 feet below the surface would actually split the rock in two. If the asteroid were the size of Texas drilling 800 feet into it and setting off a nuke wouldn’t even make it mad. Also don’t believe a word the characters say about faults; an asteroid doesn’t have a liquid core, crust, and plates like the earth. In reality there would be no faults to drill to. As anyone who views this film will be able to see, a few mentions of MIT just don’t make up for the loads of fake science contained in this film. It is my opinion that the producers of this film were incredibly irresponsible in concocting this joke using about a much scientific knowledge as a 2-yr. old. A far better film in this category would be Deep Impact, which is far more accurate.
—Gabriel Horton, age 15
“it could not be more in conflict to God’s Word”
Although “Armageddon” is an edge-of-your-seat-type thriller, it could not be more in conflict to God’s Word. From the beginning of the movie, the characters curse God (the profanity is very offensive), yet when they are in trouble they call in Him repeatedly. What arrogance, however, for men to assume that through technology they can avert “the end of the world” if God wills it. This is man’s pride at its worst (but it is the pride we see rampant in America today).
—Lynne Dyer, age 35
beware of the sexual content
I enjoyed Armageddon for its special effects, daredevil characters and insights (however shallow) on facing death and total human destruction. When characters face these things they can either “eat, drink, and be merry,” or they can do something. These guys do something. They take all their strengths and weaknesses into outerspace and try to save the planet. I enjoyed the contrast between the disciplined military style of NASA and the undisciplined, but effective, work ethic of the roughnecks (drillers). I did not appreciate the acceptance and display of pre-marital sexual activity, or the scene where the roughnecks go to a “girlie show” before their mission. I will wait until the TV version is released to tape a PG version. On the positive side the characters did acknowledge God in the death of their comrades, and asked God for help in dealing with various situations. Also people around the world were shown praying for God’s help and the success of the NASA mission. Beware of the sexual content (not recommended for young teens), but beyond that its pretty good.
—Dale, age 47
blatantly promotes globalism
The film is in my opinion, the most blatant piece of propaganda for the promotion of globalism and the New World Order yet. There are no real twists or turns; some interesting symbolism, however. The two space shuttles that fly are named Freedom and Independence; Independence crashes and is destroyed. If you understand globalism this and more will jump off the screen… Bruce Willis is made to be a type of Christ; bringing “salvation” by sacrificing himself in place of another… The power of a god is called on several times during small side plots when human attempts have failed (while His name is also used vainly) but His omnipotence is never acknowledged nor are His blessings or protection for the mission sought except of course when all else has failed. Unfortunately, Hollywood represents most of us well here. World religion is hinted at as well…
—Bob C, age 34
too much swearing and offensive sexual material
The previews were far better than the film. This is quite a dumb movie. Everything is contrived: romance, suspense, heroics, sadness… it’s in the script therefore it matters. Not likely. Almost nothing is believable. Unfortunately, Armageddon takes itself seriously, saving the world afterall. This is saturday morning cartoon material with enough swearing and offensive sexual material (premarital sex / some demeaning comments about women) to make it not fit for television. So, we get to see it on the big screen. Average special effects don’t add much to the theater experience. Although the last hour of this too lengthy film is almost entertaining, if you don’t see Armageddon you’re not missing much. If you do see it, I’d say save your money and endure it on video.
—Todd Adams, age 30
The reviewer seems to give way too much credit to Deep Impact compared to Armageddon. I have seen both, and Armageddon puts Deep Impact to shame. There is way more credibility to the action scenes, better acting and actors, and they keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. The movie was very unpredictable which kept me constantly paying attention. For testosterone filled, blood pumping, edge of your seat excitement, Armageddon is worth every penny.
—Brian Pedigo, age 18
Personally, I liked Armageddon. I was especially impressed by the emphasis on prayer spread throughout the movie. The project flight director, Billy Bob Thorton’s character, makes at least two references to praying about a certain part of the mission, and Bruce Willis' character leads a prayer when they arrive on the asteroid. Yes, there was a bit of swearing and implied sex, I wish they would have left that out, but this movie was otherwise good. I used it to show my friends that praying is normal always. This movie is very high on my list.
—Jason Cordes, age 16