Armageddon, Deep Impact: decadent

By Phil Plait | May 7, 2008 6:30 pm

A Breaking news for sky afficianados post made me sit back and gape for a moment: "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact" came out this summer 10 years ago. Wow. I’ve been mocking the former and hyping the latter for a decade now. Cool.

I use both movies in a general public talk I give about astronomy, showing brief clips that go over mistakes made as well as some rare accuracies as well. I still think "Armageddon" is one of the worst movies ever made, ever, and "Deep Impact", though flawed, is far superior.

But wow, 10 years? BNfSA has some thoughts on this as well, seeing as how the two together have grossed nearly a billion dollars since their release.

It’s enough to make Ben Affleck cry.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Piece of mind, Science, SciFi

Comments (31)

  1. It is enough to make Ben Affleck cry. But so is stepping on his toe, not being allowed to go to McDonald’s, and Matt Damon not returning his calls.

  2. If you can affirmatively manage your suspension of disbelief as to premise, I encourage you to rent Sunshine. It may be the most visually stunning science fiction movie ever filmed. And those spaceships are magnificent.

  3. M Naumann

    Phil –

    Your “Centre of the Universe” vid is in the YouTube Spotlight!


  4. Richard

    Good memory jogger and I enjoyed going back and reading the old spoiler/reviews again.

    What I just can’t get past, however, are the Google ads presently appearing on your site as I read this.

    – Why is the rapture a lie?
    Jesus Christ will return to rule earth with the resurrected saints.

    – Cars Can Run with Water ®
    Convert Your Car To Run On Water. Save Fuel And Double Your Mileage!

    – Comet Hits Earth in 2012.
    Were the Mayans Trying to Warn Us? The Mayan Calendar Ends 12/21/2012.

    Irony meter broken.

  5. I first discovered you after your Armageddon review. That was back in your Yahoo! groups days. Wow! Memories.

  6. Celtic_Evolution

    Ditto that, Science Pundit… it was the reviews of both of those movies that first brought me to the world of BA… good times… good times…

  7. Blizno

    Armageddon is Nobel prize caliber next to Earthstorm (
    The science is shockingly, stunningly wrong.

  8. Michelle

    Armageddon made me hate Aerosmith. :(

  9. «bønez_brigade»

    BA spoke thus, “I still think “Armageddon” is one of the worst movies ever made, ever, and “Deep Impact”, though flawed, is far superior.”

    _Exactly_ my thoughts. And Aerosmith’s featured song “ranks” right down there with the awful ‘Titanic’ theme song. Bleh.

  10. Boosterz

    Armageddon had Live Tyler in it. It wins. That is all.

  11. Boosterz

    Live = Liv.

    Note to self, sleep first, post second

  12. Boosterz: Don’t worry, both names are perfectly cromulent and have the same meaning (at least in Norway).

  13. Hey, BA, your blog doesn’t handle links with parenthesis in them very well.

  14. Michelle

    @Boosterz: What, the elf? Down with elves!

  15. Chris

    OOOH! I see what you’ve done there with the title! DECAdent! a clever one are thee, mr. BA! :)

  16. For what it’s worth, here is some background on the script of Armageddon which I remember well from the author’s own production notes on the original offical website of the motion picture (hard to track down now):

    – His originial intention was to write a drama on drilling and the tough guys doing it, regardless of where and why.

    – Right about then he heard about Near Earth Objects and actually read a lot of astronomical literature.

    – For the sake of moviemaking, however, he deliberately chose to ignore most of the hard facts (or maybe was forced by the script doctors to do so).

    For example he made it expressly clear that he knew that there was no asteroid “the size of Texas” with our name on it lurking and that vastly smaller NEOs could still wreak havoc on Earth. But he assumed – perhaps rightly so – that Joe Public just wouldn’t get it that a 1 kilometer impactor is a baaaaad thing.

    You can either hate or love Armageddon (as evidenced by the viewers’ views on IMDB – there are hardly any so-so comments). Well, when the DVD came out we once played it late at night at an amateur astronomers’ convention, with the audio fed into a powerful Dolby system. It was quite a physical experience …

  17. TierOneGirl

    Yeah, they were not the best movies. But if nothing else, they did convince the public that NEOs are a serious threat.

  18. duffytvs

    I haven’t seen Deep Impact in quite some time (almost ten years), but now I think I’ve got a hankering…

  19. JohnW

    Boosterz stole my comment. Anything with Liv Tyler in it = gold.

  20. Cello Man

    John W:

    I can only assume you’ve never heard of the movie “Jersey Girl”.

  21. Michelle

    …Liv Tyler pretty much had nothing to do but whine and weep for the mandatory petty forbidden love story. Yea, I bet you guys enjoyed seeing her but um… The story sucked!

  22. David

    # Boosterzon 07 May 2008 at 11:25 pm
    Armageddon had Live Tyler in it. It wins. That is all.

    Uh, Liv Tyler cannot act, then again, neither can Master Affleck.

    The only thing it had going for it really was Messrs Willis and Buscemi.

  23. Stu

    I know this might not be a popular view, but guys, I actually think that sometimes it really is okay to just get in from a hard day’s work, put your feet up, grab a drink and watch a movie and be entertained without pulling it to bits, you know? It’s not a crime. I wonder if dinosaur experts post ‘Jurassic Park was rubbish!’ “That raptor claw was too big!” “Sam Neil’s jacket was too clean for a REAL digger!” “A REAL dinosaur’s snot would be MUCH gloopier!” posts on their web forums…

    Can’t anyone just stick a DVD in the machine and enjoy being distracted from taxes, family rows and the imminent end of the world anymore? Yeah, Armageddon is about as scientifically accurate as an episode of The Clangers (US blogees, YouTube it :-) ) but it’s meant to be a bold, brash, in yer face loud adventure film, not an episode of COSMOS. :-)

    What would you rather see… a sloooow motion shot of a real shuttle OMS burn, or animal crackers marching up Liv Tyler’s tummy. I mean, come on…

  24. djcinsb

    I just read the Deep Impact review — guess I’m only 10 years behind now! Woo Hoo, I’m catching up! I remember when both movies came out, and being MUCH more impressed with the science in this one that in Armageddon (Jagged structures sticking out all over the place on a 4 billion year old rock? Give me a break! Never mind the rest of this ego trip of a movie…)

    There is one other scene in DI that always annoyed me that I never see mentioned. Leo and wife are riding away from Richmond on a motorcycle to escape from the wave from impact #1, heading to higher ground. In the background, there is a sign, “Virginia Beach: 7 miles.” Somehow, I just can’t get that geography to work!

  25. Calli Arcale

    What would you rather see… a sloooow motion shot of a real shuttle OMS burn, or animal crackers marching up Liv Tyler’s tummy. I mean, come on…

    The OMS burn. Totally. And not just because I’m a heterosexual female. March animal crackers up a gorgeous guy, and I’d still rather watch the OMS burn (assuming the remainder of the film containing the animal cracker scene is as bad as “Armageddon”.)

    However, “Armageddon”, bad as it was (in so many ways), was certainly not the worst movie ever made. There are MUCH worse movies. I am put in mind of a quote by Mike Nelson (of MST3K fame) who for a while was writing movie reviews for an audiophile magazine:

    “Batman and Robin is not the worst movie ever made. No indeed. It is the worst *thing* ever made.”

    See? There are worse movies. If I had to choose between “Batman & Robin” and “Armageddon”, I’d . . . I’d . . . oh, heck, who’m I fooling. I’d go for a walk and look for sundogs. 😛

  26. beagledad

    # Davidon 08 May 2008 at 8:30 am:

    What does acting have to do with it? (Or science, for that matter?) Armageddon has Liv Tyler and lots of cool explosions. That’s the whole movie, right there. If you engage more neurons than are necessary to fixate on those two elements, you’re just going to hurt yourself by watching it.

  27. «bønez_brigade»

    I’d also add that ‘The Core’ rivals ‘Armageddon’ in FAILage, though the former definitely wins in the silliness category.

  28. zeb

    I remember when my girlfriend said she liked Armageddon. I almost broke up with her right then and there.

  29. Jeffersonian

    Any day now you’re going to start losing the under-20 crowd in your talk, eh? Guess the film industry (I usually cringe on calling the “film industry” by the subdivision connotation with which it is summarily associated) needs to catch up and make something craptacular for you to new-school on!

  30. Interesting. MOVIE SMACKDOWN just did a ten year anniversary review between the two films. Plus there’s a poll to vote. Did you know that IMDB has both films with a 5.9 out of 10 approval rating. That’s with each one getting a lot of votes over the years.

  31. HHO

    The world is changing…. But I love the both the movie. Great reviews though.


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