Michael Bay’s ‘Armageddon’ was a big line in the sand for me. After two and a half hours of my life were completely wasted sitting through it, I swore to myself I would never sit through another movie that bad again.
So now in addition to apologizing for calling out Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ because he thought it was a ‘Transformers’ rip-off, Bay also tried to make amends for ‘Armageddon.’ As many in Hollywood often do, Bay ducked a lot of responsibility for the film’s wretchedness, which I don’t buy in a million years.
Bay can dodge all he wants, but we know a Michael Bay movie when we see one, and ‘Armageddon’ had all his usual trademarks in spades: Huge explosions, slick music video camerawork, playmate bimbo background extras, insufferably bad dialog and moronic storytelling.
There’s plenty else that’s horrible about ‘Armageddon,’ but I also have to mention that Liv Tyler delivered one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen in my life, and some of the best writers in the business worked on the script, like Robert Towne (‘Chinatown,’ ‘Mission Impossible’), J.J. Abrams, and Paul Attanasio (‘Quiz Show,’ ‘The Sum of All Fears’), yet inexplicably none of them could come up with one believable scene or a single intelligent line of dialog. The characters in the film were also so dopey, past a certain point I was rooting for the asteroid.
As Bay told the Miami Herald:
“I will apologize for ‘Armageddon,’ because 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.”
Actually, ‘Armageddon’ did more than fine. According to Box Office Mojo, it made over $200 million domestic, and over $350 million foreign, making it the #2 highest grossing movie of the year right behind ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ It also came out ahead of the other asteroid movie that year, ‘Deep Impact.’
Still, ‘Armageddon’ will always be a painful experience that I will probably never be able to completely black out of my memory, and it would take an enormous amount of money to get me to sit through it again. Even if Bay had trouble with the effects and the studio, he has no one else to blame for how insufferably awful the movie turned out. Apology not accepted.