Mario’s Movies: Flashback Films – ‘Armageddon’ (1998)

By Mario Ricciardi

“Armageddon” — the movie where NASA sends Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and a ragtag group of oil drillers into space to save the world. Their mission? Drill a hole deep enough into an asteroid so that explosives can knock it off course from hitting Earth. The movie can easily be summed up in my all-time favorite question: “Wouldn’t it have been easier to train astronauts to be oil drillers than to train oil drillers to be astronauts?”

Well, I’m neither a rocket scientist nor a petroleum engineer, so what do I know about that? I am a film critic, though. So, what I do know is that I think “Armageddon” is a really fun movie and that right about now is when I usually have to start blocking out haters. Not to dwell on high school, but my high school astronomy teacher was number one on that list. The best thing about Mrs. Smith’s relationship with “Armageddon” is that she dislikes it so much as a movie that she doesn’t even bother starting on how inaccurate the space stuff is.

Issue number one on her list — the hit Aerosmith song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” performed by Steven Tyler. The scene where it is used in the movie? When Steven Tyler’s daughter, actress Liv Tyler, is about to consummate her relationship with Ben Affleck’s character. So technically, her dad is serenading her during it.

This is the only issue I agree with Mrs. Smith on. It’s very weird and very shortsighted. It makes me very uncomfortable thinking about it.

Issue number two — the film is blatant propaganda for the uncompromising approval of tenacious capitalism.

I completely understand why this is a valid complaint. The saviors of the world in this film are oil drillers, after all. Plus, there are, like, 40-some American flags in the film.

That said, Hollywood is pretty persistent in its liberalism, so from my perspective, why can’t a movie promote the other side? I feel like that’s fair and completely warranted. That’s both representation and diversity all in one movie.

Issue number three — Michael Bay.

I really respect Bay for what he does. In fact, I enjoy everything he made before “Transformers 2.” The man gets to do what he loves for a living, make bank and has no one telling him no. I can’t argue with someone who has that kind of life.

Issue number four and the king of all her complaints — the film is absurdly irrational.

The reason why this movie is so fun is because it’s irrational. I don’t remember the science from “Apollo 11.” I remember being on the edge of my seat. I don’t remember what HAL stands for in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I remember the trippy fever dream that takes up the last half hour.

What don’t I remember about “Armageddon”? Nothing at all. I remember the entire movie. It’s wild. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the movie and it was a healthy dose of color during last week’s arctic apocalypse.

Logic is great, but sometimes an experience is allowed to be about emotions. “Armageddon” is exciting, visually stylish and full of heart (even if that heart is pumping adrenaline instead of blood).

???? (4/5 Penguins)