Armageddon

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Armageddon-poster06.jpg
We are about to Save the World with questionable physics!
The Rotten Tomatoes Show

Disaster movie directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring an All-Star Cast.

The plot: a peaceful summer afternoon in New York City is disturbed by meteorites falling, destroying all the recognizable buildings and killing a bunch of characters we're not supposed to care about. NASA reveals they're the pebbles before the boulder -- a meteor the size of Texas is going to hit Earth, and nothing, not even bacteria, will survive. The big brains at NASA have come up with a plan to save the world, but it takes experts to pull it off!

Or does it? Apparently, although NASA has yoinked the patents on drilling machines, even their rocket scientists couldn't put them together or operate them right. So NASA had to call in its creator -- Harry Stamper, the oil rig operator. Harry brings his daughter Grace with him, because he disapproves of her romance with rebellious hotshot A.J., whom Harry fired for having "hunches". On hearing what's at stake, Harry agrees to go up and do the job himself, but not without his own team. NASA has to seek out Harry's gang of lawbreaking ne'er-do-wells and get them trained in two weeks to go up to drill the meteor and break it into two pieces that will miss the Earth, or everyone dies.

If you want "Armageddon" in the Biblical way, see The End of the World as We Know It. If you wanted the Web Original story "Armageddon???", see The Salvation War.

Tropes used in Armageddon include:

(while being chased by army choppers) "COME AND GET PAPA BEAR!"

    • Max: "Got a weight limit on the shuttle?"
    • Rockhound: "We call him 'Hound' because, um, he's horny."

(Big Damn Gunships) "What the--"

(Rolls lucky seven) "Charles Chapel, game's over."

    • As for The Lancer: "The only one knows how to run it as well as I do is A.J."
  • Award Bait Song: Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane".
  • Big Damn Heroes: A.J., Bear and the Russian arrive in the second Armadillo just minutes after the first one gets thrown into space by a gas pocket.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved. Grace and A.J. get married, and large photos of all the roughnecks who died on the mission, in their mission suits, are placed where they would've stood in the wedding party.
    • The world is saved, but New York, Paris and Shanghai need some serious cleaning up (of course, those things couldn't have landed, like, in the Rub Al-Khali or the Saharan Desert...).
      • They probably did, given the dispersal we're shown via the scientists' brainstorming sessions/computer screens, but watching empty deserts get hit by giant space rocks is much less exciting.
  • Brick Joke: After Rockhound is selected for the mission, we see him receiving a huge amount of cash from a loan shark. Later, he mentions offhandedly that he's not looking forward to returning safely to Earth because he blew it all on a stripper named Molly Mounds. The real payoff comes at the end, though, when Miss Mounds (who is well-named) greets Rockhound as he comes off the shuttle.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Subverted. Several of the "pebbles" hit a space shuttle and makes it explode, killing the people on board.
  • Colonel Badass: This trope welcomes Colonel Sharp (William Fichtner) and Colonel Lev Andropov (Peter Stormare) to its ranks.
  • Colony Drop: Really big effing meteor.
    • Interesting to note how similar the thing looks to the Asteroid Axis from the Trope Namer. Of course, that one's bizarre, spiny shape was due to having been carved up for minerals by space miners, while the one here has no excuse other than Rule of Cool.
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Bay as a NASA scientist.
  • Death From Above
  • Deceptive Legacy: Chick's ex or estranged wife, incensed by Chick showing up unannounced to see their small son, dismisses him to the boy as "a salesman." Later on, she drops the phone and tells the boy the truth when he points out "that salesman is on TV"... as a member of the Freedom and Independence missions to save earth from the asteroid.
  • Defcon Five: Yeah, giant meteor killing everything on the planet including bacteria, that'd work.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Iron Ferrite". ...yeah.
  • Deus Ex Nukina/Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Literally. Suffice to say actively propelling two chunks of several hundred mile-across asteroid rapidly away from each other is going to require a hell of a lot more firepower than you can fit in one nuclear warhead. In Real Life, this scenario of a very large, undiscovered asteroid appearing a few weeks before impact means we die, full stop.
    • Even more insane is the "backup plan" where the nuke will be detonated on the surface. Lampshaded by earlier discussion that this would be entirely ineffective but still done anyway because of some "Presidential Scientific Advisors" who apparently failed Physics 101.
      • Well, not so much failed Physics 101 as just got a C minus in Astrophysics.
      • Technically, the best way to propel it anywhere is vaporizing its own surface. Digging a warhead down (compared to detonating it close to surface) mostly allows to not waste half of its energy going into the rear hemisphere. Obviously, that the same can be done simply by using two warheads (even better if #2 is guided at the center of that big still-hot crater #1 made), and much faster than digging. While replacing the entire mass of equipment and astronauts with more warheads, using shaped charges and/or yields ramped up to the maximum of tried and beyond (it's not like we have to worry about it being too strong this time) would have orders of magnitude more of effect.
    • And, in the words of Roger Ebert:

"OK, say you do succeed in blowing up an asteroid the size of Texas. What if a piece the size of Dallas is left? Wouldn't that be big enough to destroy life on Earth? What about a piece the size of Austin? Let's face it: Even an object the size of that big Wal-Mart outside Abilene would pretty much clean us out, if you count the parking lot."

    • He's not far off. An asteroid the size of a house would destroy the better part of a city. If it's as big as a 20-story office building, it could wipe out an entire city and all its suburbs. A rock one mile wide would cause a mass extinction; a rock six miles wide wiped out the dinosaurs.
  • Disaster Movie: Natch.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: Chick's wife drops the phone she's on when she discovers Chick is on the team to go try to destroy the asteroid.
  • Eagle Land
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Epic Movie
  • Emergency Presidential Address: The President delivers an address before the team is launched, wishing them luck in their mission to destroy the asteroid.
  • The Eternal Churchill
  • Explosions in Space: The explosion of the Russian Space Station, for starters.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Rockhound wanted to be the one to make the Heroic Sacrifice. In his own words, "I owe a hundred grand to a fat-ass Loan Shark, which I spent on a stripper named Molly Mounds." He's really not looking forward to being kneecapped until he pays back all that money.
    • Fortunately, since Team Stamper saved the world and are pretty much Big Damn Heroes, said Loan Shark will probably get paid back relatively quickly because Rockhound and company probably made lots of money very quickly on deals, interviews, merchandising, etc... (plus, he won't be paying taxes ever again).
    • And, most importantly, Ms. Mounds met Rockhound at the splashdown to welcome him home.
  • Gatling Good: Both of the Armadillo vehicles are armed with these, one of which Rockhound starts shooting wildly when he goes loopy from so-called 'space dementia'.
  • Genius Loci/Everything Trying to Kill You: The asteroid.

Harry: I don't think this thing likes us...

Chick: That's 'cause it knows we're here to kill it!
(cue Rocks Fall, Red Shirts die)
  • The Glomp: Molly Mounds is very happy that Rockhound made it home safely.
  • Glove Snap: Done by a fearsomely large nurse.
  • Go Mad From the Isolation: The Russian cosmonaut has been alone on Mir for a while, so he's become a little eccentric.
  • The Government
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Harry's.
  • Hollywood Science
  • Homage: Internal, on a crazed Rockhound's part, to Dr. Strangelove.
  • Infant Immortality: Kind of. It's a small dog who survives the opening destruction scenes, rather than a child.
  • Inkblot Test: to see if the roughnecks are capable of dealing with space travel.
    • Instead it proves that Rockhound sees breasts everywhere.
  • In Space Everyone Can See Your Face
  • Laughing Mad: After Rockhound goes quite nutty in space, Rockhound, during the dig, ends up utilizing a Gatling gun and starts shooting indiscriminately while laughing.
  • Manly Tears: Shed by A.J. and by most of the surviving roughnecks during Harry's big speech.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In some markets, this film was advertised as starring "Oscar winners Ben Affleck and Billy Bob Thornton." While it is true that both these men won Oscars, neither of them won for acting.
  • Melodrama: This isn't meant to win awards, so it doesn't try.
  • Mood Whiplash: From the Roughnecks's reunion outside of the government building to their reactions to why they're there.
  • More Dakka: No, I've no idea why they fitted a BFG to the Armadillo, either.
    • It's a ballistic obstacle removal device. Yeah...
  • Mutual Kill: Hello Harry vs. Asteroid (man destroys asteroid he's riding). It's really a Heroic Sacrifice when he stays on the asteroid to detonate the bomb, but the asteroid is cursed at so frequently as to become somewhat personified.
  • Nations of the World Montage
  • No Periods, Period: Only mentioned; while Grace is arguing with Harry about her and A.J.'s relationship, she brings up a laundry list of all the things she had to deal with on her own because he was a distant parent.

Grace: First time I got my period, Rock had to take me to Tai Pei for Tampax. Then he had to show me how to use them.
Rock: Hey!
Harry: *Death Glare*
Rock: I told her how to use them. I didn't show her, Harry.

  • Nuclear Option: Avoids Deus Ex Nukina only by using the nuke to supply the one thing that nukes actually supply -- very large explosions. Unfortunately, even a nuclear explosion wouldn't have been enough to cause the results seen in the movie.
  • Oh Crap: Lots of them, particularly when they're on the rock itself.

Chick: (eerily calm voice) Harry... The clock on that nine foot nuclear weapon is ticking.

  • One-Scene Wonder: Peter Stormare would be this if, like so many of his other roles, his character was restricted to just one scene instead of being a main character in the second half of the movie.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Disappeared Dad: Chick's gambling problem resulted in his wife taking him to court and removing his paternal rights, so he wasn't willingly disappeared.
      • Technically, Harry Stamper himself.
    • Missing Mom: Grace was raised by roughnecks because her mother walked out on Harry when Grace was very small, and Harry wouldn't leave the rig.
  • Percussive Maintenance: "This! Is how we fix things! On Russian! Space! Station!"
  • Power Walk: An Affectionate Parody of The Right Stuff.
    • "Man, talk about the wrong stuff..."
  • Precision F-Strike: "This is one order you shouldn't follow and you fucking know it!"
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Harry won't work with anybody but his own team, so NASA has to round them up. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Race Lift: Owen Wilson's character was supposed to be Asian American. The surname "Choi" is of Korean origin, but they didn't bother changing it when Wilson was cast.
    • Which, let's face it, is a mild and unintended case of Truth in Television: not everyone has the same ethnicity one's surname might indicate.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Roughnecks
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The "slingshot effect" of the shuttle, lampshaded by Rockhound, who pointed out it didn't ever work out well for Wile E. Coyote.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Mild version of this with Harry Stamper. Of all the characters, he does not indulge any vices on-camera, and several times mentions God or prays outright.
  • Redshirt Army: The other astronaut team gets killed when their shuttle is hit by meteors. They never even make it to the asteroid.
  • Riding the Bomb: See Homage above.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: The time Harry goes to NASA and accepts the mission (roughly one or two days), his crew spreads around the world, and A.J. even starts his own oil company.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Sanity Slippage: Rockhound ends up losing some of his sanity while undergoing the mission, eventually cumulating in him using a gatling gun to to shoot everything in sight.
  • Scary Black Man: Michael Clarke Duncan's "Bear" is a surprising subversion. He's rather a softy, despite looking huge and menacing.
  • Scenery Gorn: The post-meteor shower shots of New York City.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Animal crackers. And the bad thing is, it's not played for laughs. It was actually meant to be deep and romantic.
  • Sigil Spam: The giant decals all over the interior of both shuttles bearing the shuttles' name and insignia. Apparently, NASA's art department isn't afraid of the end of the world.
  • Smurfette Principle: The two shuttle crews have only one woman between them. Incidentally, her shuttle isn't smashed up during the approach.
  • Someone Has to Die: Due to the Deus Ex Nukina getting damaged such that someone has to stay behind.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way:
    • Why on Earth would they want to make the Russian space station rotate before they started docking with it? It'd just make the docking maneuver that much more complicated, and the Artificial Gravity you generated would be directed radially -- toward the outer edge of the rotation -- not top-to-bottom as was shown.
      • Well, given NASA seems to have mastered Artificial Gravity inside its space shuttles (note the unrestricted movement of crew members inside the shuttle as opposed to outside the shuttle on the asteroid), maybe this had something to do with it.
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Space Madness: Rockhound's "space dementia" and the Russian cosmonaut's behavior.
  • Space Suits Are Scuba Gear: So that Harry can subvert his future son-in-law's Heroic Sacrifice by yanking his air line and taking his place.
  • Take That:
    • In the first scene, a bunch of toy Godzillas are attacked by a small dog.
    • Also the victim of a Take That from Deep Impact: When the tidal wave hit, the first structure we see it taking out is an oil rig.
  • This Ain't Rocket Surgery: The engineers at NASA couldn't properly assemble Stamper's drill.
  • Throwaway Country: France and China.
  • Title Drop: "The Bible calls this day Armageddon, the end of all things."
  • The War Room
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?
  • Who Shot JFK?: One of the requests made by Stamper's team was to be told this in exchange for going on the mission. All they get are blank stares.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof
  • Wire Dilemma: Played straight when the Pentagon activates the nuclear bomb on the shuttle because they believe the mission is doomed to failure, and the Air Force nuclear specialists on the mission have to disarm it. In this case, the airmen can't shut the bomb down directly because it has been remotely activated, and they have to cut the wiring. The usual dilemma is subverted; the airman disarming the wires briefly hesitates when determining which wire to cut, but he remembers exactly which one to cut after a second of thought.
    • Also justified in that they weren't trying to disable the bomb, as they still needed to use it. They just needed to disable the activated timer and stop the Pentagon ordered launch. It's also unclear if cutting the wrong wire would cause the bomb to detonate, or if it just wouldn't stop the countdown.
  • With This Ring: Rockhound puts the mack on a hot blonde in a bar by informing her her shiny new engagement/wedding ring is not a real diamond.
    • A.J. puts a dinky little ring on Grace after she accepts his proposal. You'd think that a skilled oil rig worker could afford a better ring, but considering his relationship with Harry, he may have George Jetson Job Security.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The title of the film Armageddon is actually incorrect, as the word refers to a place or a battle AT that place. A better title for the movie would've been Giant Rock Apocalypse.
    • Which, as pointed out above, also doesn't "the end of the world" as commonly thought, but "unveiling".
      • Okay, how 'bout Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies?
        • Or better yet, Rocks Fall, Bruce Willis Dies?