Gambit Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay

REVIEWED: 07-13-98

William Goldman argued in Adventures in the Screen Trade, his scathing indictment of the motion picture industry, that "nobody in Hollywood knows anything." And now we have proof positive once again. How in the world did the nimknobs in Lala-land think Godzilla was going to be this summer's biggest hit when Michael Bay's Armageddon was already in the can and scheduled to open for the Fourth of July weekend? That's not to say that Armageddon is any good. It isn't. But it's no good in the world-saving tradition of Independence Day, and I'm predicting it's going to be no good in front of more people than any other picture this year. And this despite the fact that it's the exact same picture as Deep Impact, only more so.

Somebody rushed out and rebuilt the Chrysler Building that was leveled twice this summer already in Godzilla and Deep Impact, but it gets blasted right back to the pavement in a meteor shower. That's just a little drizzle of fiery rocks compared to what's coming, however, namely an asteroid as big as Texas. As Billy Bob Thornton makes sure we know, even bacteria have to be afraid of this hunk of granite. Well, Robert Duvall managed to save us from that itty-bitty comet in Deep Impact, but it's gonna take a younger, buffer buckeroo this time. So call in Bruce Willis. True, he's not an astronaut, but he is the world's best oil driller. And he and his team of grease-smeared felons are just the guys to save old Earth from the ash heap. Yep, just like Duvall and his guys, they'll just Space Shuttle up to the asteroid and blow it to bits with a trusty old nuke that has nary a Russkie to be concerned about anymore anyway. Now here's what they call inventiveness in Hollywood. See, in Deep Impact, they just nuked the itty bitty old comet. In Armageddon, Bruce and the boys are gonna have to drill a hole first. You won't believe what happens (unless you've seen Deep Impact, that is).

So why is this picture gonna be a cash cow? Because it has Steve Buscemi along to make a bunch of genuinely funny wisecracks. And because Bruce has got a beautiful daughter (Liv Tyler) who loves him like the dickens and also loves his young Bruce-to-be sidekick (Ben Affleck), who you know is gonna come through in the clutch. So you laugh and cry and feel gosh-darned good that all those tax dollars you spent on those nukes have finally paid off in the end.

--Rick Barton

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