The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Touchstone/Disney - 1998
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 151 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Jessica Steen, William Fichtner, Peter Stormare, Chris Ellis
Directed by: Michael Bay
Music by: Trevor Rabin
Written by: Jonathan Hensleigh & JJ Abrams
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 27, 2010
"For love. For honor. For mankind"
When NASA's executive director, Dan Truman (Thornton), realizes the Earth has 18 days before it's obliterated by a meteor the size of Texas, he has only one option--land a ragtag team of roughneck oil drillers on the asteroid and drop a nuclear warhead into its core. Spectacular special effects, laugh-out-loud humor, great characters, riveting storytelling and heartfelt emotion make Armageddon an exhilarating thrill ride you'll want to experience like there's no tomorrow.
Whether you like Michael Bay or don’t like him there is no denying that he knows how to make an action film. I tend to like his work, probably because I am an action junkie that loves to see and hear stuff blow up, and few do it better him. My first experience with Armageddon was when I picked it up as a blind buy on DVD when it was first released. I was hooked during my first viewing and have never looked back. That original non–anamorphic Dolby Digital DVD is nearly 10 years old now. I am not sure how many times I have dropped it into my player either because I was in the mood or wanted to demo my sound system but I would say it is more than 5 less than 25. With the passing of time, the introduction of better quality demo material, the advent of high definition, and my busy review schedule it has been a long while since I last watched Armageddon. This revisit reminded me of why I enjoy it. Back in 1998 there were two films released that dealt with the subject of a global killing asteroid headed for earth, this one and Deep impact. Deep impact is a good film but it has an entirely different appeal. Armageddon has higher intensity via its action rich story which also prods us with endearing characters, rewarding humor, and varying levels of emotion that can teeter on melodrama. Be that as it may, the development of the characters and the establishment of their relationships pay dividends later in the film. The large ensemble cast doesn’t contain any award winning dramatic actors but taken as a whole the conglomeration works quite well. At two and a half hours this film doesn’t run long as interest flows naturally via plenty of memorable moments, great lines, and adrenaline pumping peril/action thanks to a decent script by screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh and J.J. Abrams. I have heard others complain about its obvious contrivances, formulaic plot and over the top special effects. That may be true but looking at it for what is I think that Armageddon is an entertaining thrill ride that’s lots of fun. I am pleased to now own it on Blu-ray and am officially retiring my 10 year old DVD.
The rating is for sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Armageddon comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.4 mbps.
This is a strong high definition video presentation that features resplendent colors and deep, image penetrating resolution. The video boasts clear definition, with defining sharpness that tends to highlight detail. Close ups and most mid level pans offer lucid visual acuity with and a tangible reach out and touch perspective. Contrast is boldly applied which slightly overdrives whites while adding punch to colors and dynamic quality to brighter sequences. Blacks are noise free and deep but lack the gradational quality which can offer a near infinite sense of depth. Shadow detail is revealing which provides dark scenes and backgrounds with appreciable depth of field. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries that stand out but appear natural and tonally delineated. The video has a filmic and grainy texture that rarely calls attention to itself during scenes with plenty of light. In dark sequences it occasionally takes on more prominence but isn’t what I would describe as obtrusive. I also noticed in several instances that resolution dropped off slightly but this appears innate to the photography. Overall I was very pleased with the quality of this video presentation.
The DTS-HD multi-channel surround mix is equally impressive and sounds superb. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue to thunderous, dynamically charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is excellent. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics are demonstrative as the aggressive nature and strength of rocket engines, explosions, or approaching meteors pulsate with superior authority and potent deep bass transients. Trevor Rabin’s lavish music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and sounds wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving as sounds and effects are seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This is an impressive audio/video presentation from Disney that is sure to look and sound great in your home theater.
- Teaser and Theatrical trailers
- Aerosmith music video – “I don’t want to miss a thing”
Armageddon isn’t award winning cinema but it’s an entertaining Michael Bay extravaganza that I find appealing. It is a catalog title that I have been anticipating for release in high definition. I am happy to report that Disney’s track record for technically proficient Blu-ray Disc offerings continues with this impressive audio/video presentation that is sure to look and sound great in your home theater. The bonus supplements here are the same as the original DVD release which is disappointing. Regardless, if you’re a fan this release is a must have and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package