The premise of Armageddon is this - an asteroid the size of Texas is hurtling towards the Earth and will arrive in about 18 days, causing such cataclysmic destruction that it has been deemed a "global killer." After much back and forth between a number of government officials, the President, General Kimsey (Keith David) and Dan Truman, NASA's Director (Billy Bob Thornton), the decision is made that the best course of action is to land on the asteroid, drill down into it and place a nuke inside which would detonate, causing the asteroid to shear off into two pieces that would narrowly miss the Earth and avoid complete disaster. But who could pull this off?
Enter Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), self-made oil drilling aficionado, and his motley crew of drillers. Harry's the best, so he is pegged by our government to train a team of astronauts to accomplish the task. But Harry won't do the job unless he can use his own crew. Unfortunately, there's trouble in oil drilling paradise. For starters, Harry's resident hotshot, A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck), is sleeping with his beloved daughter Grace (Liv Tyler). Harry goes ballistic when he discovers this and goes on a rampage, but the crew decides to put aside their differences for the sake of saving the world and two teams are formed to get the job done.
After much training at NASA, the guys are ready to go and they are teamed up with several astronauts to make the trip and help. Although they initially butt heads, eventually they realize that they must work together or all is lost. When tragedy strikes early on in the journey at the Russian Space Station when they are to refuel, things seem to be going severely off-course. Then when they get to the rock and one of the teams crash lands, it seems they are fighting a losing battle. Can they pull it off in time?
Not only is Armageddon a really intense action flick, but it's got a great group of actors and actresses and they all do a terrific job. Bruce Willis is completely believable as the rough-around-the-edges Harry Stamper, and Liv Tyler as his lovely but headstrong daughter Grace is really moving in her role. When she is at NASA watching the only family she has ever known crumble before her eyes while on this mission, she'll bring you to tears. Ben Affleck is charming as A.J., and the rest of Stamper's crew is rounded out by Steve Buscemi as Rockhound, Michael Clarke Duncan as Bear, Owen Wilson as Oscar and his right hand man, Chick, is played by Will Patton. All do a wonderful job and it's cool to see how each one is changed by this great mission they have been chosen to do.
But what you really want to know is how the film looks on Blu-ray, and wow is it a stunner! I will go so far as to say that this is the best looking transfer to Blu-ray of an older movie that I have seen yet. It looks superb, even considering all of the CG in the movie. I was surprised that it made the jump so flawlessly. There were a couple of scenes on the asteroid where it was clear they used miniatures, but in a film that mostly takes place in outer space, it's certainly acceptable. Finally, the surround sound is terrific and places you squarely in the midst of all of the action.
The only disappointing aspect is the fact that the only special features to be found are two trailers and Aerosmith's music video for "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing." This movie is only a little over 10 years old and all of these actors and actresses are very much still alive. I would have loved to see a retrospective on the film, but alas, no. While there weren't any additional special features on the DVD release, it's a shame they couldn't get some of the cast back together for a piece.
Regardless, Armageddon on Blu-ray is gorgeous. If you have it on DVD already, it might just be so much better looking that you'd want to pay the extra and repurchase it on Blu-ray. Yes, it looks that good. If you don't already have it in your collection, this is a definite must-buy.