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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Armageddon [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Bay, 1998)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Video: Touchstone / Disney

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:30:50.207

Disc Size: 41,617,253,088 bytes

Feature Size: 38,869,008,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.32 Mbps

Chapters: 27

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4776 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4776 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Trailers (Teaser and Theatrical- 4:25 in total in SD)

• Arrowsmith Music Video: "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (3:35)

• Previews

 

Bitrate:

 

Description: From the mega-hitmakers who produced and directed The Rock and Pearl Harbor comes Armageddon. And now, these mind-blowing action-adventure explodes on Blu-ray for the first time ever! Bruce Willis (Surrogates, Sin City) and Academy Award winners Ben Affleck (1997, Best Original Screenplay, Good Will Hunting) and Billy Bob Thornton (1996, Best Adapted Screenplay, Sling Blade) head an all-star cast that includes Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Steve Buscemi (Con Air) and Will Patton (Gone in 60 Seconds). When NASA's director (Thornton) realizes the Earth has 18 days before it's destroyed by a metor the size of Texas, he has only one option; land a ragtag team of roughneck oil drillers on the asteroid and drop a nuke into its core. With spectacular special effects, laugh out loud humor, a riveting story and a rockin' soundtrack featuring Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, this adrenaline-pumping thrill ride now boasts the staggeringly intense picture and incomparable theater quality sound of Blu-ray high definition. Bonus Features include: Aerosmith's music video I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, theatrical trailer, teaser trailer.

 

 

The Film:

Well, Armageddon worked for this lab rat. The electrodes were cannily placed, the jolts administered at regular intervals. Along with the rest of the audience, I jumped when I was meant to jump, laughed when I was meant to laugh, and swallowed a lump in my throat when I was meant to feel moved. It's true, little irritants kept creeping in. It gets harder and harder to like Affleck, especially when he plays dumb guys by putting every line in the same generic, working-Joe italics. Liv Tyler is a lollipop for the eyes but doesn't speak, dress, or move like someone raised on a deep-sea oil derrick. (Of course, after getting away with Kelly McGillis' flight instructor in Top Gun and the 22-year-old Nicole Kidman's brain surgeon in Days of Thunder, Bruckheimer can probably be forgiven a certain cockiness.) The post-coital Affleck dancing an animal cracker on Tyler's bare middle recalls Tom Cruise dancing a Sweet'N Low packet on Kidman's bare thigh: See the naked starlet, buy the product. A few trident missiles in this lefty's side: knee-jerk invocations of God and Flag; jabs at Greenpeace; Charlton Heston delivering the clenched-teeth opening narration; Willis' climactic exhortation to "Chew this iron bitch up!" Still, there are few villains as apolitical as a giant asteroid. We can all agree that it would indeed be a good thing to chew that iron bitch up.

Director Michael Bay (The Rock) has whiplash comic timing, and he can certainly do spectacle: The opening bombardment of Manhattan is riotously well edited, and so is ... well, without giving too much away, we won't always have Paris. It's too bad that Bay has to hard-sell every shot. His pacing is strictly for the Ritalin generation, and his car-commercial compositions make the movie seem even more synthetic. The asteroid itself is disappointingly undercharacterized, and Bay compensates by turning every frame into a blur of motion. You can't really see what the drillers are doing--not even maverick Affleck, in his big "I can drill this!" number. Armageddon is awesome, dude, but it's, like, short on awe...

Excerpt from David Edelstein's review on Slate.com located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

While this is certainly better than any of the DVDs that I've seen - I am not totally sold on this image transfer.  It's softer, thicker and flatter than I was anticipating. I won't point DNR fingers but it just isn't as tight as I thought it would be. It could be the many quick cuts but, Predictably, this softness is more prevalent with the CG effects. Hard to believe that we are talking more than a decade ago. On the positive, the Blu-ray gave me the best presentation of the film that I've ever seen and the 2.5 hour film takes up almost 40 Gig of disc space on the dual-layered disc. They didn't appear to scrimp in this area.  By modern standards this may be considered fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I suppose not much more could be done. Keeping your visual expectations in check and you may appreciate the appearance more than I did.

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Touchstone/Disney Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Touchstone/Disney Region FREE Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 boasts a healthy 4776kbps and is robust enough with some deft separations, but maybe not as buoyant as some might expect. The score and Arrowsmith sound pretty crisp though. The lossless rendering seems impenetrable and fans should rejoice - it's the best I've ever heard the film sound. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Nutt'in - or as good as with trailers in SD, the Arrowsmith video and some Previews. The Criterion, non-anamorphic, DVD has commentaries etc. out the wazoo - but this is simply HD A/V.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Hey, I can succumb to Armageddon's goofy charms as much as the next guy. The macho/hero/feel-good factor all rolled into a quasi-disaster flic has some worthiness and a decent popcorn film to have on Blu-ray in my opinion. I have some reservations on the image quality and extras are as good as non-existent - but that superficial appeal is still lingering. What the hell - sometimes I like cheap Scotch, cheap cigars and a Big Mac too...  fans of the film may wish to take the plunge... others - the 'plung-er'.

Gary Tooze

April 16th, 2010

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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