Armageddon - Criterion Collection (1998) (First pressing 1999)

Directed by Michael Bay

A gargantuan, overblown blockbuster. Meteor the size of Texas threatens the Earth, and only Bruce Willis can save the day with his motley crew. It starts off well, with suitably OTT rock storm sequences and lashings of verbose humour during basic NASA training, but once we hit the final 45 mins, the brakes slam on - everything becomes predictable and no longer thrilling. It's a shame, as Willis and company do try hard.

A halfway decent non-anamorphic transfer, which generally suffers from a large amount of onscreen aliasing, which results in the picture looking fuzzy. Close up and fast-moving shots are reasonable, as the effect is not as noticable. A good anamorphic transfer like the Buena Vista Region 2 release would surely help. Compression artifacts are kept to a minimum due to the high bitrate.

Superb use of the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, with wonderful spatially delinated use of all speakers. The low bass frequencies are pretty powerful.

A fairly decent selection of extras accompany the movie on 2 discs. Michael Bay's gag reel - showing Willis and Bob Thornton just faffing around on set. 5 deleted scenes, special effects documentaries, production design analysis, 2 sequences of storyboards, trailers and tv spots in MONO!! 2 commentaries,one lively and fun, the other dry but interesting. An interesting mix from Criterion. Also presented as the director's cut with around 3 mins of additional footage, most of which isn't relavent to the story. Bruce Willis' character with his dad, and Tyler's character with Willis at the end, complete with an unintentionally hilarious quote. (and no, I won't spoil it.. :) )