The Last Judgement
Michael Bay is an American Filmmaker who is known for producing big budget action movies, for example the Transformer movies, Bad Boys movies, and many others. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when we find out that he directed the movie Armageddon, and won the Saturn Best Director award for it. When looking at all, Bay’s work, you can see that he mostly sticks to where the action is at, with most of them using big explosions to keep the audience entertained. For example, Non-Fiction based movies such as Transformers or Armageddon, the action scenes may seem over dramatized, but it works within the film because no one has witnessed fights between robots or an out of the world meteor shower. The greater danger the “opponent” can have, the more damage a movie can take, leading to the over dramatic but well utilized scenes of buildings toppling down or smoke clouds settling over the skyline after an explosion. However, when looking at the Bad Boys films, the action scenes seem more realistic to today’s society, with the gun violence and fist fighting, instead of buildings getting destroyed or asteroids exploding. Michael Bay, can achieve the realistic goal of the action scenes relative to story line of the film. He does an excellent job bringing the over the top action, to a film, and still making it look realistic to the given society.
The biblical definition of Armageddon is the end of all time; the last judgement. Within the film Armageddon, an Asteroid the size of Texas threatens humanity. Which then leads NASA to send up a team of oil drillers, led by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), to drill into the asteroid and set off an atomic bomb to save Earth, and all of humanity. While going through the mission the team encounters set backs, challenges, and loss. Through the set backs, challenges, and losses, the actors portraying the characters do a stupendous job of becoming one with the person they are suppose to be versus who they really are. Bruce Willis illustrates his character as a stone cold serious person. He never takes anything as a joke, and always understands the greater meaning of things. Stamper never taking any decision lightly, he always thinks about the outcomes and how the decision will affect not only himself but everyone involved in the situation. He makes genuine resolutions in order to protect the ones he loves and his reputation from harm. Willis does a stunning job of taking over the roll of Harry Stamper, not only using facial expressions but throwing his whole body in works of the film. For example, in the scene where he debates whether or not to take the job of saving the world, from a tragic event. The audience can see the weight of the world physically collapse his shoulders. Willis also lets you see the thought process cross through his face by the worrisome look in his eyes to the rubbing of his forehead, all the way to the deep sighs, after coming to the realization that he can not say no to NASA with the issue at hand he states, “The United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody want to say “no”? Knowing that he and his team can not stand down to the government when the fate of humanity depends on them to save it. Through this whole process you can see that Harry struggles between what is right. To leave his daughter to try and save humanity, or to stay with his daughter and let someone else, less qualified to try and save mankind.
Not only does Willis, show excellent acting skills within Armageddon, Ben Affleck almost performs with the same skill level. Affleck, who plays a hot shot drill operator that works for Harry Stamper, who has also been secretly dating his daughter. Ben Affleck, is mainly known for starring in action films, like Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, and it makes sense that he would star in an action film like Armageddon. The character of AJ Frost, hot shot drill operator, takes over Affleck’s body and becomes one person; Frost’s body movements are in sync within Affleck. His greatest strength is letting the audience witness and experience what the character is feeling through his genuine facial expressions. Affleck makes nothing pre-produced, its as if that is how he is actually feeling. For instance, when looking at the scene when they are about to board the shuttle, he sings to Grace Stamper (Liv Tyler), his fiancee, ‘Leaving on a Jet plane’ originally sung by John Denver. When singing the song, Affleck lights up his face, making him seem like the happiest person alive, who is deeply in love with another character. However, he also lets sadness mix with happiness and portrays that in his eyes, while he deals with the emotions of leaving his fiancee behind, and not knowing what comes next. Ben Affleck, shows that AJ’s heart is breaking by the minute and makes it look like his own heart is broken and torn just as AJ’s is.
Just like the actors make emotions come from the audience, the soundtrack purposely pushes for a reaction from them as well. The soundtrack itself, though most music is wordless, can sway emotions depending on what is happening in a given scene. First of all, throughout the whole movie, the music has a same consistency within it. For the most part it has the same tone and range, with subtle changes in tempo or dynamics. The creators carefully selected the music at the proper times in the film to make the audience feel empowered, uplifted, suspenseful, and many other emotions. For example, when the team is loading in the shuttle, getting ready to take on the mission to save the world, the music playing in the background is inspiring and makes the audience believe that anything is possible, even taking on an asteroid the size of Texas. Or when NASA is going through the pre- flight checks before the shuttle is launched, the music playing keeps you on the edge of your seat. Waiting to find out what happens next: if the launch goes smoothly or if something goes wrong. This continues on throughout the whole film, intensifying the emotions of the audience, and keeping them engaged within the story line.
Within every movie, the writers try and attach a theme to it, so the Audience can take something away from the film besides a couple explosions. Armageddon not only includes one theme, but two noticeable themes: Unity and Sacrifice.
- Unity: When the world is faced with a crucial tragic conflict, we tend to see people come together in order to help each other or a greater good. In Armageddon we see this through the Air-force captains uniting with a drill team commonly made up of criminals. However, they put their differences aside mid way through the movie, because they know that the problem is bigger than what either one of them can handle alone. They need each other in order to succeed. We can also see this through AJ and Harry’s relationship. His distrust in AJ at the beginning of the movie, coming to put his full trust in AJ at the end of the movie, which shows they have worked through their issues, to focus on the greater enemy: the asteroid. Working through problems and uniting is what people in movies and in reality do. For example, we can see volunteer groups come out of no where after a tragic event, like mass shootings or natural disasters. We do this, because most of society believes that the people enduring tragic pain don’t deserve it. And they want to believe that if something like that happened to them, they would have that support as well. So we unite together through tragedies for a greater good.
- Armageddon, has many instances where the movie can show sacrifice, but the example showing the greatest sacrifice is when Harry Stamper, forces the team to leave him behind to detonate the nuclear bomb, sacrificing himself for his team and the whole human race. However, Harry was not only the person who sacrificed himself for the mission, the whole drill team did,by accepting to try and save the world, knowing that they could die at any given time. But they did it in order to save hundreds of millions of lives, and most of the crew came out alive. Today sacrifice can be seen almost everyday, maybe not to the extreme of dying for all of humanity. But a parent makes sacrifices everyday in order to give their children the best life possible. Armed Forces members, go to a different country, to fight for our freedom sacrificing their time with their family, sometimes their mental and physical health, and in some cases their life. Sacrificing something isn’t easy for many people to do, but there are so many people out there that make sacrifices everyday in order to help the greater good of something.
In 19998, Space movies like Armageddon were popular, for example in the same year, Deep Impact came out, and has almost the same plot as Armageddon. However, instead of an asteroid, it’s a comet that could end the human race. But in both films they take on the same form: the world is in danger, send a team to blow up the problem, and come home. They both include the same conflict which results in the same solution. But, Armageddon touches on more moral themes throughout the movie and have more realistic action sequences than Deep Impact.
Some space movies seem to drag on, because its always the same thing. The world is in danger, someone has to save it, and it gets saved but the creators sometimes will overwhelm the audience with action scenes, and it becomes boring. However, Armageddon keeps the pace fast to keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats with the excitement to see what will happen next. Along with staying on the edge of their seat the actors make the performance believable. They can bring you to tears, and make you feel heavy with sadness, but can also uplift you with the human spirit and the love they have for one another. Every time I seem to watch Armageddon, I find another personal attachment, that makes the film more emotional then the last time. I believe that Armageddon, is one of the best clearly thought out space movie created. Even though Armageddon is almost over nineteen years old, it is still one of the best movies to watch that keeps you interested in the story line.