How do I hate “Armageddon”? Let me count the ways. I hate it to the depth and breadth and height of its greedy confidence that a jumbo promotion budget (reportedly a record $100 million) can herd an audience into anything — even a formulaic epic about an asteroid the size of Texas that’s on a collision course with Earth. This despite the fact that a similar collection of space clichés was launched back in May, in Deep Impact.
I hate Armageddon for what it is: the unholy spawn of The Dirty Dozen and Con Air. What else do you call a tired plot about hard-ass oil drillers, led by Bruce Willis, who take a crash course in NASA astronaut training so they can land on the asteroid, drill a big hole, plug in a nuclear device and save the world in exchange for never again paying taxes?
I hate Armageddon freely, as anyone should who sees solid actors — Willis. Billy Bob Thornton, Will Patton, the great Steve Buscemi — squandering their talent for a fat paycheck. As for the dud romance between Willis’ screen daughter (Liv Tyler) and the crew’s stud muffin (Ben Affleck), is this mawkish muck the price we have to pay for the record success of Titanic?
I hate Armageddon purely, for the impure direction of Michael Bay, who thinks frantic cutting covers sins of omission in character, substance and imagination. I shall hate Armageddon even more if it goes on, as predicted, to be the biggest hit of the summer. Don’t let it happen, people. For all mankind.