Plot: What’s it about?
I think we have all seen this so I will keep it short. This is about a team of deep core drillers that are called in to help NASA and their astronauts to save the world. There is an asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth and two teams consisting of astronauts and drillers need to land on the asteroid and drill 800 feet into the asteroid and plant a nuclear bomb so that it will blow it up into two large pieces and they will consequently fly right pass Earth with out any damage to the planet. Pretty basic, huh?
The movie was directed by Michael Bay (The Rock and Bad Boys) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. (The Rock, Con Air and Top Gun to name a few) The movie moves at a fast pace and the action sequences and special effects are very detailed and done so well that it looks real. The cast is a good one for this movie and they all seemed to work well together. Bruce Willis leads a cast that includes Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Billy Bob Thornton and an assortment of other character actors that include Steve Buscemi and Will Patton.
I think that this is a very entertaining movie. It really comes to life on DVD and with all the additions to this 2-disc set makes it even more enjoyable. The movie does its job and keeps you on the edge of your seat and interested for the entire movie. The special effects are first rate and done very well. There are some laughs and some patriotic moments as well as a tear or two in some scenes. I bought the regular version of Armageddon when it came out in January and when it was on sale over the internet I bought the Criterion Version for $25 and I was glad that I did. If you liked the movie a lot for what it was, pure entertainment value, then it may be worth your investment, even if you already own the regular version. I would not recommend paying more than $35 for it though the list price is $50. You can find it over the internet for $30 plus tax and shipping and with a coupon it will be less. If you haven’t bought either version I would recommend the Criterion version very highly. A definite must own in my mind.
Video: How does it look?
This is an excellent picture from the folks at Criterion. I didn’t have my old version to compare it with, (I gave it to my sister) but I have read over the internet that it is a little better than the original DVD. It is a different re-mastered version supervised by Michael Bay himself. Although it is not 16:9 enhanced it is still an excellent picture and of reference quality. Every minor detail stands out with precision on this transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a reference quality audio soundtrack as well. One of the top five sounding discs that I have heard, if not the one to beat. The bass is deep and powerful. Every speaker is used and used to perfection. I can’t say enough about this soundtrack. From Space Shuttles flying over your head to machine guns blasting things to dialogue sounding crystal clear. If you want your friends to watch one movie on DVD at your house it should be Armageddon or Air Force One. Two great movies with great pictures and awesome sound.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is where the Criterion version out does the regular version by leaps and bounds. This is the best Special Edition DVD I have seen. It has everything you can imagine. The movie, which is on the first disc, is a director’s cut of Armageddon with some added scenes and some scenes that were lengthened from the theatrical cut. There are two audio commentaries. The first has Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. It appears that they were all recorded separately and thrown together for the movie. I don’t care for commentaries because they are usually dry and boring, but I listened to about forty minutes of this one and it was pretty good. Ben Affleck is hilarious on this commentary as he impersonates Billy Bob’s Sling Blade character over parts of the movie. They enlighten you on what went on that day of shooting and where it was shot. The second commentary has the cinematographer John Schwartzman, NASA consultant Dr. Joe Allen and Asteroid consultant Ivan Bekey. There is a gag reel that has some funny moments and additional deleted scenes. The other extras are: Special Effects Analyses, Production Designs, Storyboards, “I Don’t want to Miss a Thing” video with a small interview with Aerosmith a theatrical trailer and teaser, several 30 second and 15 second TV spots and a color bar screen to help you calibrate the setting on your TV if you know what to look for in the bars.