It's Friday (finally), and it's definitely been "One of Those Weeks." For me, that means it's time to turn to my go-to, therapeutic, and Top-5 action film, Michael Bay's The Rock, which is sitting proudly and unashamedly on the shelf at my home.
Sadly for you, gentle, readers, The Rock is only rentable and purchasable from our InterWeb Overlords, who have chosen in their wisdom to exclude it from the typical "flat/subscription" services. And that leaves us with the quadruple-Oscar-nominated, Criterion Collection-released and essayed-about and endorsed Armageddon, instead. A Bay-y epic of extravagant proportions, currently streaming on NETFLIX and SOME OTHERS($).
Caveat Emptor: This will probably be obvious either from the trailer or from the very name of Michael Bay, but it's not necessarily for all ages. Your (and your family's) mileage may vary.
After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, N.A.S.A. recruits a misfit team of deep core drillers to save the planet.
I know I've been a vocal Bay Basher in the past -- Seriously, who among us has not? -- but we're huge Disaster Flick fans in the Susanka household, and this one's a real staple. It's not as good as The Rock; not by a long shot -- How could a film that does not feature Connery and Cage jawing sarcastically at one another while Ed Harris looks gravely and righteously on possibly be as good as one that does? -- but it's probably the perfect Bay (and J.J. Abrams) primer.
It's silly. (At times, it's VERY silly.) It's absurd. (At times, UTTERLY absurd.) It's loud, impossibly shiny, stylish to the point of saturation, massively over-produced and hugely under-written. (At times, it's all of those SIMULTANEOUSLY.)
Yet it's also oddly inspirational and moving, especially in its handling of the Willis-Tyler and the Patton-and-son dynamic. That's probably J.J. Abrams' fault more than Bay's, if the father-daughter "dynamic" in the latest Transformers is anything to go by. (Interestingly, that particular film can -- but under no circumstances should -- be streamed on AMAZON PRIME).
The final few scenes, in particular, are excellent; I will defend its finale against just about anyone. It's great. (Actually achieves what Bay tried for -- and grotesquely flubbed -- only a few years later in Pearl Harbor: that perfect mixture of pathos and heroism that exists on a small, human scale in the midst of huge, spectacular tragedy and triumph.)
I blame the cast for the film's success, largely. It's both highly-and-instantly recognizable and hugely amusing. And I blame Bay's genuine -- Gulp! -- talent, which I really wish he'd stop hiding under CGI-woven, THX-lined bushels. Oh, and I blame Trevor Rabin, to a huge extent. It's his (at times, astonishingly subtle) melodic backbone that binds the last few scenes into a truly effective bit of cinematic glory.
But the real clincher for me? It's fun; genuinely. And today's Friday, right? And the end of a long week? So stop judging me and let yourself be amused for a sprightly 151 minutes.
Or you could just watch The Mummy.