Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I’m sure that the first thing that springs into people’s minds when they see Armageddon is why did they shoot a deep core drilling team into space? Why not train astronauts to bore a hole into an asteroid? After all, these people are among the most intelligent, most disciplined, most skilled individuals on the planet. But the film tells us that drilling is an art. Apparently boring a hole into a rock would be too much for a bunch of scientists and pilots.

The real answer is that Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer despise astronauts and what they represent. They represent education and all the evils that come with it. You know, things like patience, dedication and coolness under pressure. Real men work hard and play hard. They don’t do their job quietly and methodically. Hell, you get a bunch of astronauts to blow up an asteroid and you’d probably fall asleep at the lack of Star Wars references. They’re a bunch of boring pussies.

The drillers are supposed to be a bunch of everymen. They’re supposed to be guys that you can identify with. But would you want a bunch of regular guys trying to save the planet? I think if an asteroid were to hit us that I’d want exceptional people to rescue us. I wouldn’t want to entrust my life and the life of the planet to Joe the plumber or a guy called Harry who drills for oil.

The first time we see Harry (Bruce Willis), he’s hitting golf balls at a Greenpeace boat. Take that you fucking dickless liberals! How dare you care about the planet! How dare you criticise the American right to rape the shit out of the Earth! If it were up to you we’d all be speaking Russian and riding oxen to work, you pinko turds.

To illustrate what a great guy Harry is, he tries to shoot a man who sleeps with his daughter. That’s real mature. I mean, did you expect her to remain pure forever? Did you think that she was always going to be yours? Well, Harry seems to think that way. So much so that the very idea that she’d have sex with a man makes him break out in a jealous rage.

But in Harry’s defence, his daughter does sleep with Ben Affleck. I mean, if you had a daughter and she slept with Ben Affleck, you’d get a gun out as well, wouldn’t you?

The other ‘heroes’ of the film are the usual ridiculous ragtag bunch. You have Steve Buscemi as a sex-obsessed joker, Owen Wilson as a cowboy type, Will Patton as an estranged father, Michael Clarke Duncan as a dumb black man and some fatso who doesn’t really do much. They’re among the most unlikeable group of guys you can imagine. Well, they’re unlikable if you’re a smarmy, godless communist. If you’re an honest, salt of the earth, beer-swilling redneck, you’ll probably think they’re swell. I mean, heroes who only save the world so that they can stop paying tax? U.S.A! U.S.A!

The first time a piece of asteroid hits the planet, it hits New York. What a surprise, eh? And so therefore the damage only extends to tourists, liberals and some ethnic minorities. No big loss. But then NASA learns that a bigger asteroid is heading for them and that some decent people might get killed. This news that a global killer is heading for the planet leads to hushed mutterings of, ‘My god’.

Michael Bay’s handling of non-white folks is always precious and he outdoes himself in this movie. Near the beginning we see a motor-mouthed black man riding a bicycle with an ugly dog inside. Why, I’m not quite sure. But the man is an idiot and then proceeds to have an argument with another silly NWP*. Oh those crazy minorities. The stuff they get up to. Needless to say they get hit by a piece of asteroid, the useless fuckers.

Then about two scenes later we have a cartoonish Asian businessman turn up. He’s all smiles and speaks in a funny accent. And then when the drillers strike oil, he gives the thumbs up and says, ‘You’re the man Harry!’ as he drips black gold all over his suit.

But most heinous of all, you have Michael Clarke Duncan. He’s a big, muscular bozo who does what he’s told and who doesn’t have a brain cell in his head. Therefore he’s the good kind of black man. He’s the grateful kind who takes orders well and who won’t fuck Harry’s daughter. He’s also a fucking baby. During a psych test he begins crying and says that he’d like a hug. Awww, the silly black man. I’m sure some fried chicken and watermelon will calm those nerves of yours.

We also have some marvellous hatred of the French. I mean, Bay doesn’t just come out and say, ‘Don’t those smelly, cheese-eating surrender monkeys suck miles of cock?’ but he does have Paris annihilated. From the viewpoint of the gargoyle on Notre Dame we see the city get obliterated. And is there any real comment on this? Is there an expression of sadness at the fact that one of the most beautiful cities in the world has been destroyed? Nope. It’s hardly mentioned. After all, Paris is hardly Omaha or Mobile or Dallas. The destruction of those fine cities would maybe warrant tears, but a few frogs getting vaporized is an insignificant footnote.

When the film’s not trying to be offensive, it’s trying to make you puke. The romance between Affleck and Liv Tyler seems to represent the way of life the drillers are trying to preserve. But this is a man who wants to stuff crackers down his girlfriend’s knickers and this is a couple that smooches in a rocket booster. If they’re a symbol of life on Earth then let the asteroid hit and wipe us from existence.

We also have to listen to the President make a speech as clichéd shots of various nations flash across the screen. It’s like Michael Bay’s sole exposure to the world comes through Michael Jackson videos and Benneton commercials. The French sit at cafes, Asians eat endless noodles, Indians sit by the Taj Mahal (of course) and good old Americans gather round in antique automobiles. Bay’s view of the world is so infantile it beggars belief.

But wouldn’t you know it, it takes a few good Americans to preserve this way of life. A few good roughnecks.

The drillers are in space for like ten seconds before shit starts blowing up – a space station gets destroyed and a shuttle then gets hit by a piece of asteroid. This leads us to one of Michael Bay’s trademarks – men falling to their knees in slow-motion and muttering ‘My god’ as all hope seems lost. But this time it’s better. This time Billy Bob Thorton does it after dropping a NASA mug. Must Bay do this in every film? Isn’t there any other way of communicating deep despair?

After the shuttle crash the astronauts proceed to fart about on an asteroid that looks curiously like the Fortress of Solitude, and an asteroid that seems to have the same gravity as Earth…but only when the script calls for it. When the script wants things to go haywire people fly into space with reckless abandon, but for the most part, they’re fine.

One of the occasions where some convenient gravity comes into play is when Ben Affleck decides to jump a canyon in a space vehicle called The Armadillo. At first it seems like they haven’t got a chance of jumping it, but wouldn’t you know it, the normal gravity stops for a while and they fly over it with ease.

Speaking of the Armadillo, why the hell has it got a mini-gun on it? Are they expecting to encounter aliens or Muslims up there, or even Muslim aliens? What’s the point? Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s so that Affleck can conveniently blast his way out of a fix and so that Steve Buscemi’s character can go nuts.

‘He’s got space dementia!’ Yes, that’s how Buscemi’s madness is described when he decides it would be a great idea to try and blow the asteroid up with a mini-gun. And I thought it was just a Muse song.

Another line that had me scratching my head was, ‘I blew the tranny.’ Do they have trannies in space and how would the blowing work in a vaccum? Oh, he means the transmission. My mistake…

One of the most awful scenes occurs when one of the shuttle’s pilots is being choked out by Harry. You see, the nuclear bomb that’s going to destroy the asteroid is going to be remotely detonated by the government wanktoids on Earth. Of course Harry wants to stop this. Annoyingly, though, the pilot wants to follow orders. But this is a Michael Bay movie. People don’t follow orders here. They go by gut instinct. And so Harry decides to choke the guy. And would you believe it, with 60 seconds left to go before the bomb detonates, Harry manages to choke the guy, convince him that he’s wrong and get the guy to recover from his choking and disarm the bomb. In 60 seconds! Honestly, the guy is being choked and can hardly breath and in the next shot he’s on his feet disarming the bomb. He didn’t even have to get tools. They just magically appear in his hand.

Another awful scene is when Affleck draws the short straw. You see, the bomb can no longer be remotely detonated, so someone is going to have to detonate it by hand. This responsibility falls to Affleck. But before he can do it, Harry takes the burden upon himself. So therefore we have to suffer the sound and sight of Affleck shouting, ‘I love you Harry’ as Harry walks off to his certain death. Never before or since has Affleck sounded so retarded.

In most films Harry would say his goodbyes and do his duty, but this being a Michael Bay film, it seems like Harry says goodbye to his daughter for a couple of hours. A single tear flows down Harry’s cheek as he realises that she’s going to end up with that horse-faced knobhead.

The end of the film sees Affleck and Tyler getting married as a photo of Harry watches on. We’re supposed to think that he’d be pleased at this union, but we know the truth. Harry is sad that it isn’t him who’s in Affleck’s position.

*Non-white person

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  1. Hey, I really love your reviews! Old and new films, opinionated, and obviously not concealing spoilers (thank God). How come nobody comments on these things? Who are you? Anyway keep up the nice material. This makes me want to post stuff like this.

  2. I think you're way too hard on Michael Bay! Quit ragging on him!

    If he's still portraying these retarded racial stereotypes in every single movie he makes (e.g. those 2 cackling idiots in Transformers) then he must be doing something right. Although I'm not sure what...

    It's great of you to bring up the fact that New York City was blasted by Asteroids, but not "real America." Sounds just like a Glenn Beck daydream.

    "Would you want a bunch of regular guys trying to save the planet." Haw haw haw, yes!

  3. The fact that Michael Bay is so succesful suggests that most of the audience for his movies are the same moronic rednecks that Ricky is having a go at. This is a great review Ricky, very funny, and spot on.

  4. The thing that worries me about Michael Bay is that I'm starting to hear one or two film academics defend his work. They're starting to call him an auteur. Okay, so he has a lot of creative control over his films and maybe he is an auteur after all. But he's an auteur of shit. Don't try and confuse him with Cameron or Spielberg. Bay may be popular with the rednecks and general public but he doesn't understand the filmmaking art like those directors do.

    Bay is just a master of throwing shit at the screen. He can't do anything else.

    Thanks for the kind words, guys.

  5. Haha, well done. Billy Bob Thornton as the head of NASA cracked me up when I was watching this movie, I just couldn't take the drunken coach of the Bad News Bears seriously in this role (I suspose I couldn't take any aspect of this movie seriously).

    I have to say this review as well as many of your others are spot on (The Rocky movie write ups being my personal favorite).

    I'd love to see a Mel Gibson (Directed) flick reviewed at some point, I have mixed feelings about his films but I think they would make for a hilarious review regardlesss of your opinion!

    Either way keep up the good work!

  6. You know, I always feel like I come close to defending his movies, but only facetiously. He is absolutely not a great director, but he's in the spotlight.

  7. I'd certainly love to do a Gibson movie at some point. I've been meaning to do Braveheart for ages now.

  8. You nailed it again with this one. One egregious scene I feel was omitted from your review was the meeting of military and NASA douchebags to devise a plan to divert the asteroid. The "smartest man on the planet" gives some snotty explanation of a firecracker going off in your hand and all the knucklehead military dudes are in instant agreement as a result of the fact he is a cheeky, bespectacled Englishman.