Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ARMAGEDDON (Blu-Ray)

In the Summer of 1998, Touchstone Pictures released ARMAGEDDON, an enthusiastically stupid disaster film directed by Michael Bay (TRANSFORMERS) and co-written by Jonathan Hensleigh (DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE) and J.J. Abrams (STAR TREK).

An asteroid the "size of Texas" is on a collision course with Earth, and NASA sends a deep core drilling team into space on a couple of sports-model space shuttles to plant nukes on the rock and blow it up before it hits. The team is led by movie star Bruce Willis and comprised of several quirky misfits (of course) including the hardest working character actor of the 90s, Steve Buscemi (FARGO). The perilous mission is replete with absurdly macho heroics and utter disregard for the laws of physics, all playing out in tandem with a saccharine love story between one of Willis' team (Ben Affleck, PHANTOMS, DAREDEVIL) and his daughter (Liv Tyler, THE LORD OF THE RINGS).

When I saw this film in the theater in '98, I absolutely hated it. I felt personally insulted by the overheated melodrama, willfully bad science, and painfully predictable action movie cliches. When the projector broke down two-thirds of the way through the film, I wanted to leave, but the friend I was with wouldn't let me. When the film resumed, I deeply resented being forced to sit through it.

Now, though, I can watch the movie and enjoy it for what it is - a Michael Bay movie. Big, loud, nonsensical and desperate to entertain. And it does, if you can turn of the analytical parts of your brain and groove on the CGI-rendered spectacle and mawkish emotional manipulation. I still can't bring myself to call it a good movie, but it's well-made, dumb fun.

Disney has re-released ARMAGEDDON on Blu-Ray disc, with a stunning new, 1080p hi-def transfer. The 2.35:1 widescreen presentation is simply perfect, and the 5.1 DTS-HD audio is appropriately earthshaking. The disc is a bit light on bonus material, though. All that's included is an Aerosmith video and the unintentionally hilarious theatrical trailers.

If you're a fan of the movie, you'll want to check this new high-definition version out. It looks and sounds fantastic.

BUY: Armageddon [Blu-ray]