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61 Things We Learned from the ‘Armageddon’ Commentary

“I shoot a lot of sexy stuff.”
By  · Published on February 2nd, 2012

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Kate Erbland digs a hole into her ears and is over the moon while listening to Michael Bay’s commentary on Armageddon alongside Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck.

You knew it was inevitable. We here at Film School Rejects love Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Hell, we even gave the film a full day of coverage last April, sadly a day before Commentary Commentary was in existence. So here we are. The Criterion Collection of Armageddon and everything Michael Bay has to thrown down on the commentary track. Say what you will. Even outside the walls of FSR, this film has its fair share of fandom, and they aren’t backing down from their sturdy position. But be honest. It’s going to be fun to hear all the intricacies and insight Bay has to dish out even if you aren’t a fan of the film.

He’s not alone, either. On this particular track, Bay is joined by Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis, and Ben Affleck. That sounds to me like all the knowledge you’d want about Armageddon wrapped into a tight, little group of Hollywood players. It’s the commentary track – and the Commentary Commentary – the size of Texas, and the less preamble we give it the better. So here’s everything we learned from listening to these fine gentlemen speak about their film, and don’t worry. I’ll acknowledge the moment when Affleck tells Willis he loves him. I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it now.

Armageddon (1998)

Commentators: Michael Bay (director), Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), Bruce Willis (actor), Ben Affleck (actor), a whole lot of awesome.

Best In Commentary

“Making films is like a war.” – Michael Bay

“Films have rhythms. There are peaks and valleys, and you certainly have to take an audience up and down, but you don’t want to bore them, and you don’t want to confuse them. At least I don’t.” – Bruckheimer

“’I shoot a lot of sexy stuff.’” – Affleck mimicking Bay

“God bless America.” – Willis at 2:32:50, literally the last thing heard on the commentary track

Final Thoughts

Yes, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis, and Ben Affleck are included on the Armageddon commentary track, but this is really the Michael Bay show. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you. Most of these 61 items revolve around Bay talking about equipment they were able to use, how he achieved some of the more spectacular sequences, and what he’s looking for when making a movie. Not a lot of people appreciate Bay’s brand of film making, but there’s no denying he firmly stands behind every decision he makes when making a film.

It’s probably a good thing Bay took charge on most of this commentary, which, it should be noted, is comprised of four, different tracks each of the men recorded separately from one another. Bruckheimer mostly talks in broad views, going over what he looks for in a film and what pleases the biggest section of the audience. It is nice to hear the passion in his voice and how clearly he loves watching and making movies alike. Willis doesn’t say much, and what he has to offer mostly backs up something someone else has already said. Affleck has a few pieces of real insight, but he constantly falls into doing impersonations and trying to make jokes. The Armageddon commentary track, which is as epic as the film itself, is worth listening to for Bay alone, really. It’s surprising, but it works, and you can rest assured knowing there are more Michael Bay commentary tracks we’ll be covering in future editions.

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