Armageddon (1998 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Bay|
|Produced by||Michael Bay
Gale Anne Hurd
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
|Story by||Robert Roy Pool
|Narrated by||Charlton Heston|
Billy Bob Thornton
Michael Clarke Duncan
|Music by||Trevor Rabin
|Editing by||Mark Goldblatt
|Studio||Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Valhalla Motion Pictures
|Distributed by||Touchstone Pictures|
|Running time||151 minutes|
Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster drama film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It features an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.
Armageddon opened in theaters only two-and-a-half months after a similar impact-based movie, Deep Impact, which starred Robert Duvall and Morgan Freeman. Armageddon fared better at the box office, while astronomers described Deep Impact as being more scientifically accurate. Both films were equally received by film critics. Armageddon was an international box-office success, despite generally negative reviews from critics. It became the highest-grossing film of 1998 worldwide surpassing the Steven Spielberg war epic, Saving Private Ryan.
A massive meteor shower destroys the Space Shuttle Atlantis and bombards New York City, America's East Coast, and Finland. NASA discovers that a rogue comet passing through the asteroid belt pushed forward a large amount of space debris, including a Texas-sized asteroid that will collide with Earth in 18 days, creating another extinction event. NASA scientists, led by Dan Truman (Thornton), plan to bury a nuclear device deep inside the asteroid that, when detonated, will split the asteroid in two, driving the pieces apart so both will fly safely past the Earth. NASA contacts Harry Stamper (Willis), considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice. Harry returns to NASA, along with his daughter Grace (Tyler), to keep her away from her new boyfriend, one of Harry's young and rambunctious drillers, A. J. Frost (Affleck). Harry and Grace learn about the asteroid, and Harry explains he will need his team, including A. J., to carry out the mission. Once they have been rounded up and the situation is explained, they agree to help, but only after their list of unusual rewards and demands are met.
As NASA puts Harry and his crew through a short and rigorous astronaut training program, Harry and his team re-outfit the mobile drillers, named the "Armadillos", that will be used on the asteroid. When a large fragment from the asteroid wipes out Shanghai, NASA is forced to reveal its plans to the world and launches two military space shuttles, named Freedom and Independence. Once in orbit, the shuttles dock with the Russian space station Mir, manned by Lev Andropov (Stormare), to refuel. A fire breaks out during the transfer, and the station is evacuated just before it explodes, with Lev and A. J.'s making a narrow escape. The shuttles slingshot around the Moon in order to land on the back side of the asteroid. Traveling through the asteroid's debris field Independence's hull is punctured and crashes onto the rock. Grace, watching from NASA headquarters, is distraught about A. J.'s apparent death.
Freedom lands safely, but misses the target area by 26 miles, so the team must now drill through an area of compressed iron ferrite rather than the targeted softer stone. When they fall significantly behind schedule and communications are about to fail, the military initiates "Secondary Protocol" to remotely detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid's surface, which apparently will not have any effect. While Truman delays the military at Mission Control, Harry persuades the shuttle commander (Fichtner) to disarm the bomb so they can complete the drilling.
Distracted by "Rockhound" (Buscemi), who is having a mental breakdown, the Freedom crew loses their Armadillo and its operator (Campbell) when it strikes a gas pocket and is blown into space. World panic ensues as the mission is assumed lost, just as another meteorite destroys Paris. Suddenly, A. J., Lev, and "Bear" (Duncan), having survived the Independence crash, arrive in time in the second Armadillo to complete the drilling.
As the asteroid approaches the Earth, it heats up, causing a dangerous rock storm that damages the bomb's remote trigger. They realize someone must stay behind to detonate it manually. After all the non-flight crew volunteers, they draw straws, and A. J. is selected. As he and Harry exit the airlock, Harry rips off A. J.'s air hose and shoves him back inside, telling him he is the son Harry never had, and he would be proud to have A.J. marry Grace. Harry prepares to detonate the bomb and contacts Grace to say his last goodbyes. After the Freedom moves to a safe distance, Harry pushes the button at the last minute (after some difficulty) and his life passes before his eyes as the asteroid is destroyed. It breaks in two and both halves fly past the Earth. Freedom lands, and the surviving crew are treated as heroes. The film ends with A. J. and Grace's wedding, complete with photos of Harry and the other lost crew members present in memoriam.
- Bruce Willis as Harry Stamper
- Ben Affleck as A. J. Frost
- Billy Bob Thornton as Dan Truman
- Liv Tyler as Grace Stamper
- Will Patton as Charles "Chick" Chappel
- Steve Buscemi as "Rockhound"
- Michael Clarke Duncan as J. Otis "Bear" Kurleenbear
- Owen Wilson as Oscar Choice
- Clark Heathcliffe Brolly as Fred Noonan
- Peter Stormare as Lev Andropov
- William Fichtner as Colonel Willie Sharp
- Ken Hudson Campbell as Max Lennert
- Keith David as General Kimsey
- Jessica Steen as Co-Pilot Jennifer Watts
- Grayson McCouch as Gruber
- Jason Isaacs as Dr. Ronald Quincy
In May 1998, Disney studio chairman Joe Roth expanded the film's budget by $3 million to include additional special effects scenes. This additional footage, incorporated two months prior to the film's release, was specifically added for the television advertising campaign to differentiate the film from Deep Impact which was released a few months before.
Theatrical run 
Armageddon was released on July 1, 1998 in 3,127 theaters in the United States and Canada. It ranked first at the box office with an opening weekend gross of $36 million. It grossed $201.6 million in the United States and Canada and $352.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $553.7 million.
Home media 
Despite poor critical reception, a DVD edition of Armageddon was released by The Criterion Collection, a specialist film distributor of primarily arthouse films that markets what it considers to be "important classic and contemporary films" and "cinema at its finest". In an essay supporting the selection of Armageddon, film scholar Jeanine Basinger, who taught Michael Bay at Wesleyan University, states that the film is "a work of art by a cutting-edge artist who is a master of movement, light, color, and shape—and also of chaos, razzle-dazzle, and explosion". She sees it as a celebration of working men: "This film makes these ordinary men noble, lifting their efforts up into an epic event." Further, she states that in the first few moments of the film all the main characters are well established, saying, "If that isn't screenwriting, I don't know what is". The film was also released on Blu-ray disc in 2010. However, the Blu-ray is a standard edition from Touchstone Pictures and has only a few special features.
Critical reception 
Armageddon received mostly negative reviews from film critics, who mainly took issue with "the furious pace of its editing". The film is on the list of Roger Ebert's most hated films. In his original review, Ebert stated, "The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained". Todd McCarthy of Variety also gave the film a negative review, noting Michael Bay's rapid cutting style: "Much of the confusion, as well as the lack of dramatic rhythm or character development, results directly from Bay's cutting style, which resembles a machine gun stuck in the firing position for 2½ hours." The film has a cumulative 40% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while achieving a 42% aggregate score on Metacritic.
According to Bruce Joel Rubin, writer of Deep Impact, a production president at Disney took notes on everything the writer said during lunch about his script and initiated Armageddon as a counter film at Disney.
Accusations of Michael Bay's apology 
...We had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.
Some time after the article was published, Bay corrected his stance, claiming he was proud of the film, and accused the writer of said article for taking his words out of context. The author of the article, Miami Herald writer Rene Rodriguez claimed: "NBC asked me for a response, and I played them the tape. I didn’t misquote anyone. All the sites that picked up the story did."
The film was nominated for four Oscars at the 1999 Academy Awards: Best Sound (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Original Song ("I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" performed by Aerosmith). The film received the Saturn Awards for Best Direction and Best Science Fiction Film (where it tied with Dark City). It was also nominated for seven Razzie Awards including: Worst Actor (Bruce Willis), Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler), Worst Screen Couple (Tyler and Ben Affleck) and Worst Original Song. Only one Razzie was awarded: Bruce Willis received the Worst Actor award for Armageddon, in addition to his appearances in Mercury Rising and The Siege, both released in the same year as this film.
|71st Academy Awards||Best Sound Editing||George Watters II||Nominated|||
|Best Visual Effects||Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier||Nominated|
|Best Original Song||Diane Warren||Nominated|
|Best Sound Mixing||Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester||Nominated|
|Awards of the Japanese Academy||Outstanding Foreign Language Film||Armageddon||Nominated|
|ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards||Most Performed Songs from a Motion Picture||Diane Warren||Won|||
|Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Favorite Actor - Sci-Fi||Bruce Willis||Won|||
|Favorite Actress - Sci-Fi||Liv Tyler||Nominated|
|Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi||Ben Affleck||Won|
|Billy Bob Thornton||Nominated|
|Favorite Soundtrack||Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams||Nominated|
|BMI Film & TV Awards||Best Music||Trevor Rabin||Won|
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Feature Film||Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester||Nominated|||
|1999 Grammy Awards||Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television||Diane Warren||Nominated|
|19th Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actor||Bruce Willis||Won|
|Worst Director||Michael Bay||Nominated|
|Worst Original Song||Diane Warren||Nominated|
|Worst Picture||Jerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Bay||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Jonathan Hensleigh and J. J. Abrams||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Liv Tyler||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing||Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester||Nominated|
|Best Sound Editing - Music||Bob Badami, Will Kaplan, Shannon Erbe, Mark Jan Wlodarkiewicz||Nominated|
|1998 Golden Satellite Awards||Best Original Song||Aerosmith||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Trailer||Nominated|
|1999 MTV Movie Awards||Best Action Sequence||Armageddon||Won|
|Best Performance - Male||Ben Affleck||Nominated|
|Best Performance - Female||Liv Tyler||Nominated|
|Best Movie Song||Aerosmith||Won|
|Best On-Screen Duo||Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Actor||Bruce Willis||Nominated|
|Best Costumes||Michael Kaplan, Magali Guidasci||Nominated|
|Best Director||Michael Bay||Won|
|Best Music||Trevor Rabin||Nominated|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Armageddon||Won|
|Best Special Effects||Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Ben Affleck||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Film - Choice Actor||Nominated|
Scientific accuracy 
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Bay admitted that the central premise of the film, "that [NASA] could actually do something in a situation like this," was unrealistic. Robert Roy Pool, a contributing screenwriter, stated that his script, in which an anti-gravity device is used to deflect a comet from a collision course with Earth, was "much more in line with top-secret research." Additionally, near the end of the credits there is a disclaimer stating, "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's cooperation and assistance does not reflect an endorsement of the contents of the film or the treatment of the characters depicted therein."
NASA shows the film as part of its management training program. Prospective managers are asked to find as many inaccuracies in the movie as they can. At least 168 impossible things have been found during these screenings of the film.
In 2012, following a mathematical analysis of the situation, an article titled "Could Bruce Willis Save the World?" was published in the Special Physics Topics Journal. It found that for Willis' approach to be effective, he would need to be in possession of an H-bomb a billion times stronger than the Soviet Union's "Big Ivan", the biggest ever detonated on Earth. Using estimates of the asteroid's size, density, speed and distance from Earth based on information in the film, postgraduate students from the University of Leicester found that to split the asteroid in two with both pieces clearing Earth, would require 800 trillion terajoules of energy. In contrast the total energy output of "Big Ivan", which was tested by the Soviet Union in 1961, was only 418,000 terajoules.
Armageddon: The Album 
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||June 23, 1998|
The soundtrack features several new songs recorded for the soundtrack, including "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "What Kind of Love Are You On", performed by Aerosmith, "Remember Me", performed by Journey, and "Mister Big Time", performed by Jon Bon Jovi. Our Lady Peace's "Starseed" is a re-mixed version of the original.
Track listing 
|1.||"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"||Diane Warren||Aerosmith||5:03|
|2.||"Remember Me"||Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon, Jack Blades||Journey||5:33|
|3.||"What Kind of Love Are You On"||Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw||Aerosmith||3:15|
|4.||"La Grange"||Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard||ZZ Top||3:38|
|5.||"Roll Me Away"||Bob Seger||Bob Seger||4:42|
|6.||"When the Rainbow Comes"||Karl Wallinger||Shawn Colvin||4:25|
|7.||"Sweet Emotion"||Tyler, Tom Hamilton||Aerosmith||5:13|
|8.||"Mister Big Time"||Jon Bon Jovi, Aldo Nova||Jon Bon Jovi||2:51|
|9.||"Come Together"||John Lennon, Paul McCartney||Aerosmith||3:48|
|10.||"Wish I Were You"||Patty Smyth-MacEnroe, Glen Burtnik||Patty Smyth||3:53|
|11.||"Starseed"||Raine Maida||Our Lady Peace||4:23|
|12.||"Leaving on a Jet Plane"||John Denver||Chantal Kreviazuk||4:45|
|13.||"Theme from Armageddon"||Trevor Rabin||Trevor Rabin||3:12|
|14.||"Animal Crackers" (Dialogue by Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler)||Warren, Rabin, Harry Gregson-Williams||Steven Tyler||2:40|
Chart positions 
|1998||The Billboard 200||1|
End of decade charts 
|U.S. Billboard 200||94|
City of Angels (soundtrack) by Various artists
|Billboard 200 number-one album
July 18–31, 1998
Hello Nasty by Beastie Boys
Armageddon: Original Motion Picture Score by Trevor Rabin 
|Soundtrack album by Trevor Rabin|
|Released||November 10, 1998|
There was also an instrumental score titled Armageddon: Original Motion Picture Score by Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams. Rabin was formerly a member of the progressive rock band Yes and Gregson-Williams was a former Hans Zimmer's disciple and protégé.
- "Armageddon Suite"
- "Harry & Grace Make Peace"
- "A.J.'s Return"
- "Oil Rig"
- "Harry Arrives at NASA"
- "Back in Business"
- "5 Words"
- "Underwater Simulation"
- "Finding Grace"
- "Short Straw"
- "Death of MIR"
- "Armageddon Piano"
- "Long Distance Goodbye/Landing"
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster 
Following the 2003 Columbia disaster, some screen captures from the opening scene where Atlantis is destroyed were passed off as satellite images of the disaster in a hoax. Also, in response to the disaster, FX pulled Armageddon from the night's schedule and replaced it with Aliens.
A novelization was written by C. Bolin, based on the screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, J. J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy and Shane Salerno and the story by Jonathan Hensleigh and Robert Pool.
Theme park attraction 
Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux is an attraction based on Armageddon at Walt Disney Studios Park located at Disneyland Paris. The attraction simulates the scene in the movie in which the Russian Space Station is destroyed. Michael Clarke Duncan ("Bear" in the movie) featured in the pre-show before his death.
See also 
- List of American films of 1998
- Asteroid deflection strategies
- List of disaster films
- Meteor (film)
- Deep Impact (film)
- Asteroid (miniseries)
- "Armageddon (1998)". Box Office Mojo. October 11, 1998.
- "Disaster Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- Plait, Phil (February 17, 2000). "Hollywood Does the Universe Wrong". Space.com.
- Lichtenfeld, p. 221.
- Lichtenfeld, p. 224.
- The Criterion Collection: Armageddon by Michael Bay. Criterion.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-14.
- Lichtenfeld, Eric (2007). Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie. Wesleyan University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8195-6801-4.
- Ebert, Roger (August 11, 2005). "Ebert's Most Hated". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- Roger Ebert – Armageddon. Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-14.
- Lichtenfeld, p. 220.
- Armageddon – Movie Review – Rotten Tomatoes
- "Tales from the Script: Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories – – Nonfiction Book & Film Project About Screenwriting". Talesfromthescript.com. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- Rodriguez, Rene. "‘Pain & Gain’ revisits a horrific Miami crime" The Miami Herald (April 21, 2013).
- "Michael Bay Hits Back At Reporter In ‘Armageddon’ Apology Flap." Deadline.com (April 2013).
- "The 71st Academy Awards (1999) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org.
- "1998 Golden Rasberry Award Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on March 28 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
- Awards for Armageddon at the Internet Movie Database
- Daly, Steve (March 27, 1998). "The Hype That Fell To Earth".
- TOUCHSTONE PICTURES ARMAGEDDON. movie-page.com.
- "New Scientist (September 1, 2007), "Feedback" p 72: ISSN 0262-4079". Retrieved 2010-04-05.
- Collins, Nick (07 Aug 2012). "Bruce Willis would have needed a bigger bomb to stop asteroid, scientists say". Telegraph.
- Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). "1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
- "Photos of the Shuttle Columbia Disaster?". BreakTheChain.org.
- Sue Chan (February 3, 2003). "TV Pulls Shuttle Sensitive Material, Hewlett-Packard Ad, Bruce Willis Movie Yanked From Air". CBS News.
- "Armageddon – Backlot – Disneyland® Resort Paris". International.parks.disneylandparis.com. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux | Photos Magiques – Disneyland Paris photos". Photos Magiques. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- Lichtenfeld, Eric (2007). Action Speaks Louder. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6801-5.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Armageddon (1998 film)|
- Armageddon at the Internet Movie Database
- Armageddon at AllRovi
- Armageddon at Box Office Mojo
- Armageddon at Rotten Tomatoes
- Armageddon -vs- Deep Impact at Movie Smackdown!
- Criterion Collection essay by Jeanine Basinger, from a Wesleyan University professor under whom the film's director studied
- Movie Physics review of Armageddon
- Bad Astronomy – The Astronomy of Armageddon
- Movie Tour Guide.com – Maps and directions to Armageddon Filming Locations
- Ketzer.com – The Armageddon movie props and costumes archive