Released 4th of July weekend 15 years ago, “Armageddon” was a little known indie picture examining an existentialist crisis triggered by meteors pummeling the earth. Joking aside, the Michael Bay disaster flick was balls to the wall epic. With a real late ’90s gem premise — a massive asteroid is on its way to faceplant earth and a ragtag team of oil-drillers is the world’s only hope — and a cast led by a not-yet-bald Bruce Willis and a fresh-faced Ben Affleck, even the Grinch-iest of critics must appreciate the sheer ridiculous “we’re saving the world, dammit” bravura of it (Gene Siskel said, “its audacity is almost amusing” and we concur). The movie also holds a special place as a veritable “Who’s Who” of “Oh, That Guy”-type actors (including Will Patton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Keith David, and Jason Isaacs). “Armageddon” went on to be the highest grossing film of 1998 (beating out Steven Spielberg‘s “Saving Private Ryan“), inspire a EuroDisney attraction, and catapult Aerosmith‘s first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (no really, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” is also the only number one debut on that chart from a rock group) into the hearts and karaoke machines of all real Americans.
While scouring the interwebs, we found some interesting “Armageddon”-related trivia. According to the “Armageddon” Criterion commentary (Who knew? Now you.), which we’d thoroughly recommend checking out (Michael Bay utters, “Making films is like a war.”), the dog in the opening scene was a Godzilla doll-killing machine, specifically trained to destroy any and all Godzillas in its path. Someone should look into where the pup ended up, maybe a nice comic book store upstate? Whereas it’s become snickering legend that Michael Bay had Ben Affleck’s teeth fixed to look “more heroic,” did you also know that Bay discouraged Steve Buscemi from doing the same? Without Buscemi’s mesmerizingly chaotic smile, there would be nothing to distract you from staring deeply into his eyes, falling down the rabbit hole. Also, for you NASA nerds out there, those are actual NASA spacesuits, costing $3 million each, and the “Armageddon” actors are the only civilians to have ever worn them.
Before you launch your legally questionable fireworks, check out the trailer, a few choice clips (spoiler alert for those that somehow missed it), the “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” music video and the original Siskel & Ebert review below. Feel free to use the comment section to sound off about how “Armageddon” launched a thousand crappy big-budget disasters, mention how Bay “apologized” for the film in The Miami Herald a few months ago (and then recanted quickly) or reminisce about your awkward sexual awakening during the Liv Tyler-Ben Affleck animal cracker scene.