Armageddon (1998) – 10/10 Bruce Willis-saves-the-world-AWESOMELY disaster movie review

Cast / crew
Bruce Willis: Harry S. Stamper
Billy Bob Thornton: Dan Truman
Liv Tyler: Grace Stamper
Ben Affleck: A.J. Frost
Will Patton: Chick
Peter Stormare: Lev Andropov
Keith David: General Kimsey
Owen Wilson: Oscar
William Fichtner: Colonel Willie Sharp
Steve Buscemi: Rockhound
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Producer: Gale Anne Hurd
Producer: Michael Bay
Writer (Adaptation): Tony Gilroy
Writer (Adaptation): Shane Salerno
Writer (Story): Robert Roy Pool
Writer (Story): Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer (Screenplay): Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer (Screenplay): J.J. Abrams
Director: Michael Bay
Unit Production Manager: Barry Waldman

Armageddon (1998)

An asteroid the size of Texas is on a collison course for Earth giving NASA 18 days to mount a do-or-die mission to land two shuttles on the rock and nuke it apart. They send for ace oil-driller Harry Stamper but he refuses to train the astronauts, and instead volunteers himself and his team to undergo the hazardous mission.

10/10

This is it. My guilty pleasure. I love this movie.

Easy-to-criticise disaster movie which is, nevertheless, spectacular, incredibly good-looking, consistently awesome, surprisingly moving and extremely enjoyable; this is what you go to the cinema to see. Despite eye-rolling science and a legion of obvious flaws (two prototype spaceships just lying around; at least two of Harry’s drill crew wouldn’t fit through a barn door let alone the little porthole jobs fitted on spaceships; "probably the smartest person on the planet" does nothing except be baffled for the rest of the movie; astronauts are also expert nuclear bomb defusers; Michael Bay’s dog is hit directly by a meteorite and survives), this movie works and this fact outweighs all deficiencies. If movies were rated on their ability to suspend disbelief, this would be the greatest movie ever made. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay counted the box office returns in the hundreds of millions of man-tears. Rival asteroid blockbuster Deep Impact looked on in po-faced bafflement.

This movie contains mild swear words, a single sexual swear word, adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes, violence and sensual scenes, exotic dancing scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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The Princess and the Frog (2009) – 6/10 Animated Supernatural Fantasy Disney movie review

Cast / crew
Director: John Musker
Director: Ron Clements
Producer: Peter Del Vecho
Executive Producer: John Lasseter
Writer (Story): Ron Clements
Writer (Story): John Musker
Writer (Story): Greg Erb
Writer (Story): Jason Oremland
Writer (Screenplay): Ron Clements
Writer (Screenplay): John Musker
Writer (Screenplay): Rob Edwards
Writer (Story Inspiration) "The Frog Princess": E.D. Baker
Anika Noni Rose: Tiana
Bruno Campos: Prince Naveen
Keith David: Dr. Facilier
Michael-Leon Wooley: Louis
Jennifer Cody: Charlotte
Don Hall: Darnell

Princess and The Frog, The (2009)

Tiana, a New Orleans waitress with dreams of owning a jazz club / restaurant, finds herself face-to-face with a frog who asks her to kiss him in order to turn him back into a Prince. Realising that making out with animals is an occupational hazard for animated heroines, she kisses the frog then discovers that it’s going to take more than breath mints and feigned drunken ignorance to sort out the aftermath of this one.

6/10

If you can take the songs out of the movie without it being jarring, then it tells you that the structure of your movie is all wrong. Randy Newman’s songs are pretty good; they’re just not needed and they usually tell us something after it’s already happened. Compared to the genius of the Menken / Ashman movies, you wonder whether directors Ron Clements and John Musker learned anything from working with them. The animation is great though it does fall into the contemporary trap of making characters move unnaturally quickly. The Prince, Tiana and Charlotte all work well but the side characters intrude and don’t convince and feel like toy-making opportunities and you might want to kill yourself before the horrific closing credits song kicks in. Still, respect for making the blond bimbo princess unexpectedly generous and unselfish and let’s welcome the return of physically-produced animation at Disney.

This movie contains supernatural horror scenes.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Volcano (1997, Movie) – 5/10

Director: Mick Jackson
Tommy Lee Jones: Mike Roark
Anne Heche: Dr. Amy Barnes
Gaby Hoffmann: Kelly Roark
Don Cheadle: Emmit Reese
Jacqueline Kim: Dr. Jaye Calder
Keith David: Lt Ed Fox
John Corbett: Norman Calder
Writer (Story): Jerome Armstrong
Writer (Screenplay): Jerome Armstrong
Writer (Screenplay): Billy Ray

Volcano (1997)

In Los Angeles the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is headed up by Mike Roark and is about to face it’s sternest test when seismic activity starts to occur at catacylsmic proportions in downtown Los Angeles.

5/10

Reasonably efficient but entirely unconvincing disaster movie that benefits from an on-form Tommy Lee Jones, searing pace, a high excitement quota and some spectacular scenes but is undone by almost everything else. Principally, the story is rubbish and all the events that take place therein are deeply rubbish. On a line-by-line basis, the script is even worse. Especially bad is the black guy / arrogant cop confrontation but there are some desperately cringeworthy lines such as "I’m Lava, who’s gonna beat that?" "My dad." (pass the sick bag, please); and, regarding the ash-covered survivors, "Look at their faces. They all look the same." Bleugh! That said, Hollywood didn’t take kindly to director Mick Jackson making a film that, rather impressively, said Los Angeles deserved to burn and he hasn’t worked on the big-screen since.

This movie contains extremely unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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