Title: Armageddon (1998)
BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
Video: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English, French, and Spanish
Run time: 150 minutes
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Equipment used for review: Sharp LC-46SB57UN 46″ 120Hz 1080p LCD (24fps), Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 Receiver, Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1, & LG BH200 Super Blu
Bruce Willis as Harry Stamper
Billy Bob Thornton as Dan Truman
Ben Affleck as A.J. Frost
Liv Tyler as Grace Stamper
Will Patton as Chick
Steve Buscemi as Rockhound
William Fichtner as Colonel Willie Sharp
Owen Wilson as Oscar
Michael Clarke Duncan as Bear
Peter Stormare as Lev Andropov
Ken Hudson Campbell as Max
Jessica Steen as Co-Pilot Jennifer Watts
Keith David as General Kimsey
Chris Ellis as Flight Director Clark
Jason Isaacs as Ronald Quincy
Directed by Michael Bay
My take: (the breakdown)
Armageddon is often regarded as one of Michael Bay’s better films simply because of its many massive explosions and surprisingly likable characters. It doesn’t really matter that every law of physics is broken either because all that’s on your mind is humanity’s survival. Asteroids have hit the Earth before and have caused massive climatic change, but now the planet is faced with an incoming asteroid the size of Texas that will end all life as we know it. After researching several possible ideas to deflect or shoot down the asteroid, N.A.S.A. decides on the best possible plan to save Earth. Two teams are to land on the asteroid, drill 800 feet, a then plant a nuclear explosive to blow it apart. They only have 18 days to do this so N.A.S.A. turns to Harry Stamper, who is one of the largest oil tycoons in the world and is renowned for his drilling speed and accuracy. Harry of course won’t save the world without his own men, who he knows a part of what makes his enterprise what it is. Will the two teams of drillers and astronauts be able to stop the asteroid before it can impact Earth? If you have somehow missed this one in the last 12 years I suggest you give it a rent. Due to some adult themes younger children should keep clear of this one.
For a 12 year old catalog title I was mostly impressed with the Blu-ray transfer of Armageddon. Colors stand out from start to finish with this title and they are always properly saturated. Reds, blues, greens, and grays are found through the run time and are especially bright and vivid. Flesh tones appear to be mostly accurate, but I did feel that they were slightly red at times. Grain is surprisingly light and manages to remain consistent even during the film’s space oriented sequences. You’re probably wondering if all the blacks in space are resolved and you’ll be happy to know that they are so that was a big plus in my book. My major complaint with this transfer was the inconsistency in fine detail. Many of the closeup shots of people look nearly impeccable, but many of the wider and effects shots look incredibly soft. This could have been intentional or maybe a new master is in order, but either way I found it to be slightly distracting. Needless to say though this is quite an upgrade from the two previous DVD versions.
I wasn’t quite as impressed with the overall audio quality of this release, but the provided 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track still managed to be rather effective. Dialogue is well prioritized in the center and was easy to comprehend in the majority, but there are times when it gets lost during the more intense scenes. Surrounds see more than enough use for louder effects, but they don’t carry much in the way of discrete sounds during the more lax sequences, which was rather discouraging. The LFE is incredibly strong, but it became a little overbearing at times causing some other sounds to be drowned out a bit. I had one major problem with the audio mix and that was that the action was entirely too loud when compared to the quieter scenes. I had to turn up the volume on my receiver several times just so I could hear the dialogue in the more subdued scenes and then I heard to turn it down some when the explosions kicked up. I suppose that the balance is off minutely or Bay just intended for everything to be extra loud.
Unlike the two disc DVD released in 1999 there aren’t but three items in this supplemental package. We get two theatrical trailers at three minutes a piece and a music video from Aerosmith at five minutes. Unfortunately, all three of these brief features are presented in 480p.
Final word: A Purchase For Fans
The screen captures below have a resolution of 1024 x 576 (originally 1920 x 1080) to help with load times. Thanks goes to Photobucket for their excellent image hosting and to the readers of this review.