Adding a somberly reflective coda to a squealing guitar solo of a career, blurred visionary Michael Bay has sifted through the hastily toppled rubble of his oeuvre, and discovered at least one charred reminder of a time he wished things had exploded differently. “I will apologize for Armageddon,” Bay said to the Miami Herald—a statement that was, in typical Bay fashion, an unexpected cut-away from a larger discussion about the upcoming Pain & Gain, and how it differs from his past films by giving audiences great, whopping seconds at a time to look at things. Still, Bay argues, “If you could do a graph on my movies, you would see how my editing has slowed down over the years.” And that creative evolution would surely have happened even sooner, were it not for several things that happened on Armageddon—things that Bay then proceeded to point out in rapid, bludgeoning succession before quickly moving on to something else.
“We had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking,” Bay said of the production, which was likely accelerated by having to compete with the similar Deep Impact. “That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’” Bay then took a hard right into saying, “But the movie did fine,” speeding away from thinking about this much longer than necessary or than could be handily blamed, as with his sort-of apology for Transformers 2, on the quick pace of the deadline forced upon him. Because if there’s one thing that we know about Michael Bay, it’s that he likes to take things slow.
Unfortunately, this leaves Bay’s preferred third act of Armageddon to the imagination, but it probably went something like this:
EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE
A.J. and Harry attach a wire to the detonator of the nuclear device they’ve implanted in the asteroid. They begin slowly lowering it down into the hole.
You ever think about mortality, Harry? About the thousands of men who have come before us, so certain of their own place in the universe, only to become lost forever—scattered to the winds like the dust around this big asteroid-hole we done drilled?
Harry pauses to gaze thoughtfully at the night sky. The camera begins to pull back exponentially, until we’re looking at the asteroid looming in frame over the Earth, then eventually the entire solar system, then the galaxy. Swirling cosmic shit meant to evoke the insignificance of man and time or whatever happens for like 45 minutes.
Hey guys, did I ever tell you about how I became an asteroid?
We flash back to tell the 90-minute story of how this stupid space rock formed out of dust, because that’s probably what the critics want, right? Right?
Hey, is that Aerosmith?
Aerosmith appears on a nearby crater. They perform Diane Warren’s entire catalog.
Bruce Willis dies and it takes an hour.