Friday, 1 August 2014
Armageddon is maximum ugly. Aside from the lionised heroes at NASA, there's a concerted effort to portray every single human being as revolting. Case in point, an ancient astronomer lives in a magnificent telescope, the blubbery human bullet at the base of this gigantic space cannon. When disturbed he shrieks hideously at his neglected spouse, apparently unable to rouse his crumbling bones long enough to go over and clock her one.
Pre-cataclysm, New York citizens argue in the street over neutered (no dorsal spines) Godzilla merchandise because fuck that radioactive lizard, he's this Summer's competition. When the cosmic debris finally hits, the Big Apple descends into a smog free, petrol pumped inferno. The Empire State catches a particularly large chunk, collapsing into a primitive jumble of rictus CG debris and chroma-keyed falling men. It's a Faces of Death image catapulted at the screen, flanked by flames.
Hero To All Mankind Bruce Willis twats golf balls at a Greenpeace barge for daring to protest his divine right to drill. Perhaps reeling from a preview screening note, there's even an aside to soothe this nasty. They don't want you to get the wrong idea about Bruno. He's not evil, he's just right! Everybody else screams aggressively all the time. You either accept it or you kick the fucking screen in.
Armageddon is a good sixty minute movie about men training in impossibly expensive artificial caves rolled into a two and a half hour epilepsy simulation. One of the nine writers probably thought he was writing The Dirty Dozen. Another might've been trying to see how far he could push this snarling cockfight. Picture him, a coked up giggler bouncing around on set serving up dialogue passes for Bay that read like YouTube comments. Dare the cast to take it further Mikey! Make 'em improv! Keep doing take after take until Liv Tyler caves and just fucking bites someone!
Armageddon is pure id filmmaking. Generously, it's Michael Bay's thesis on the emotional instability of humans working in high pressure situations. After my most recent viewing I felt like I'd been watching some epic, alien sport. Gridiron football scaled up to include rocket ships and an asteroid that strikes like a serial killer. Reaction shots swiped from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. It's not about humanity coming to terms with their emotional response to extinction, it's about a musclebound collective proving their gut instincts trump book learning. Armageddon is impulsive, Neanderthal stupidity triumphing over rational thought.