Ah, Summer 1998 – a box office stuffed with would be hits and surprising misses all making their own deep impact on the consciousness of moviegoers. Among them was the second biggest film of the year, directed by a man we've all come to associate with summer blockbusters dumb as a box of rocks. That film was Armageddon, and it's the subject of this week's installment of Honest Trailers!
Screen Junkies threw it back to the past like it was Thursday, as their latest video took the almost 20 year old blockbuster down a couple of well deserved pegs. Sure, we were just as excited as anyone else was when Armageddon dominated the summer heat relief options of the year that brought us another asteroid picture whose name escapes us at the moment. But as Honest Trailers was eager to point out, Michael Bay's supposed masterpiece is similar to that of a good Taco Bell meal, where common knowledge tells us the following:
Strangely enough, that's the nicest compliment we've heard paid towards a Michael Bay movie in a good long while. Seeing as it's gotten to the point where even his aesthetic is being challenged by critics and filmgoers alike, it's not a very Bay friendly box office out there – even if his Transformers films still clean up. Anyone who disagrees clearly didn't see the box office returns for Pain And Gain, which were great considering the budget the film was working off of, but dismal considering the showing Bay used to be able to pull on a weekend at the movies. Back in 1998 though, Michael Bay was still a young director who had come off of Bad Boys and The Rock - both of which had earned him the label of action wunderkind. But even in his third film, there were habits starting to develop.
One such habit is Bay's laser focus on delivering a picture that adheres to his singular vision of what his current film should feel like – despite what his actors have to say about it. Seriously, Harry could have taught astronauts how to drill, and Ben Affleck out of all people was the one that actually called the explosive auteur out on his lack of scientific credentials. Keep in mind this was Affleck during his "pretty boy" phase, and well before his own wizened days as a director. Still, considering the film has Bay putting in a cameo as a NASA scientist, and we all know how good of a collaborator Michael Bay can be with actors who question his vision, it's no surprised that Affleck was told to, "shut the fuck up."
Michael Bay's lack of propriety when it comes to science knew no bounds in Armageddon, as explosions can not only cause a fire in the vacuum of space, but they are also a natural side effect of asteroid impacts. Of course, Screen Junkies is eager to point out, and we're eager to agree, that Armageddon is really Bay's last decent film, before he devolved into a downward spiral of explosions, callous disregard for historical events and human life, and – last, but not least – ruing the Transformers for a new generation of children.
Yet along the way, he did have one other decent movie that we'll defend to the death - 2005's The Island. Sure, it might not have been the smartest film, but when you've got Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johannson, and Sean Bean in a sci fi actioner that fails to do the business, perhaps the problem lies behind the camera somewhere. At any rate, we still enjoy the hell out of Armageddon, space dementia and all. However, from this moment forward, it's going to be hard not to think of everything brought to our attention retroactively in this damning video – especially the choice Steven Tyler gags.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.