I find myself watching Deep Impact every eight months or so for some reason. Despite a few flaws, it's really quite a good film, always moving and powerful. This is just one of a number of apocalyptic films that came out in the late 1990s. In this scenario, it is a rogue comet that has earth in its sights and stands a very good chance of ending life as we know it. Elijah Wood, in his pre-Frodo Baggins days, plays Leo Biederman, a high school student who discovers an anomalous object in the heavens and hears nothing back from a local astronomer about it. A year later, young upstart reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) is chasing a story on the resignation of the Treasury Secretary, confronting him with information about his "mistress Ellie." She is perplexed when the Secretary tells her she has her hands on the story of the century, and she is even more perplexed when a bunch of G-men seize her and escort her to a meeting with the President of the United States. Morgan Freeman plays President Tom Beck, and he is simply marvelous in this role. Jenny and the whole world soon learn that "Ellie" is not a woman at all, she is an acronym. E.L.E.=Extinction Level Event. The President goes public with information on the approaching danger, and the world watches and waits while a group of American and Russian astronauts fly out to try and knock the comet off course. Robert Duvall plays "Fish" Tanner, the aging NASA pilot who isn't welcomed with open arms by his much younger crew. From this point on, it is high drama indeed, as the suspense builds mightily toward the day of collision.
The cast, with one exception is superb. Duvall and Freeman deliver their normal great performances, Wood is quite believable as the youngster suddenly famous for finding the earth-seeking comet, and Leelee Sobieski is wonderful as Wood's female counterpart. Tea Leoni failed to win me over in her role as reporter Jenny Lerner, however. Her performance as anchor person for the main events was not something I can imagine a national network going with, especially at a time when the earth faces its biggest crisis of all time. I could also mention one young man who crams as much annoyingly bad acting as is humanly possible into his scant few minutes in front of the camera. I thought the special effects for this movie were fairly impressive. The space scenes were quite good, managing to capture the deadly beauty and exotic danger of the killer comet, the explosions were satisfyingly huge, and the impact of the comet on earth is presented fairly convincingly.
There are a number of human interest stories built into the plot, and some people might tire of these subplots. You have a woman dealing with the remarriage of her father and loneliness of her mother, a kid who can only save his childhood sweetheart by marrying her, and all sorts of doings with the masses of people trying to somehow escape on their own because the government can only save a chosen few in underground bunkers. The intense human drama on earth, such as the emotional complexity shown by President Beck and the characters of Wood and Sobieski, is met with an even more intense human drama in space, as individuals refuse to give up even after mankind has failed to avert disaster. The complex blending of tragedy and emotional pain teams up with intense feelings of patriotism and inspiring stories of heroism to make the conclusion something powerful that finds its way into my soul and brings a few tears to my eyes. I think Deep Impact is an underrated movie that has a lot to offer those yet to see it.
on 29 January 2003
I saw Armageddon before this one, so I thought this was just an Aarmageddon-wannabe and I didn't like Tea Leoni in her previous films, but finally getting hold of the DVD, I checked it out, and it I discovered that this was good and also a lot deeper. Armageddon had the tension and it kinda blew the whole thing up, but here we actually go in-deep in how the characters are feeling and thinking upon the end of the world, and it lifts it up to a more personal level. And also, in Aarmageddon they avoid the meteorite from hitting earth by splitting it in two, which they also did here, but in Deep impact something goes wrong and we actually get to see earth get hit by the "small" part of the meteorite and it causes a giant tidal wave that destroys big parts of America and Europe. All these factors kept me glued to the screen until the very end of the movie, and it gets more exciting everytime I see it. Another thing which is good is that they didn't feature some cheesy ballad song as the main theme like they did in Aarmageddon. (Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing"...bleugh) All in all a good movie worth checking out.
on 8 June 2016
Just watched this film and was disappointed. (potential spoilers… of an 18 year old film ahead) The whole film is building to a double disaster, a small meteor that’ll cause a tsunami killing lots of people, followed by a massive meteor that’ll kill everyone! (apart from a select few who’ll need to live underground for 2 years?!) So you wait the whole slow slow film for the disaster and the first rock hits, and then out of the blue they figure a way to avert the second. So loads of people who accepted their soggy fate from the first need not have died, because they didn’t bother to get to safety because they’d figured they’d die anyway. So what’s the message? “You know how we said you’d definitely die from the second rock, so avoiding the first is just prolonging the inevitable, well, don’t listen to us, we don’t know what we’re talking about, ah well, our little whoopsie only needlessly caused the death of millions, our bad!” The ending is so rushed, I was shocked when it ended. Which considering how slow the film is, it’s unforgivable. It’s like they blew the budget for the last few minutes, so they have to pad out the preceding 2 hours with tedious melodrama. But it’s about the characters some might say, well the film gives the viewer absolutely no reason to have any emotion invested in those characters. Yes they have families and lives, who doesn’t? There’s so little characterisation and they’re all so forgettable and largely unlikeable that I was happy when most died and a bit miffed some survived. If that’s what the director was going for, then job done! (just to note, this director was never given a big budget movie again). Another aspect that makes the film feel rushed seems down to editing, note Frodo from Lord of the Rings and his annoying girlfriend riding away from a tsunami on a dirt bike (yes you read that right), cut to the next scene, they’re on foot?! I asked my kids “when did they get off the bike?” the reply being “they were on it, then suddenly they weren’t?”. Worse still it looks like they had a nasty crash, totally missing from the film?! Oh, and having barely been able to outrun the 200mph tsunami on a bike, they somehow manage on foot?! Also Dougray Scott pops up near the end, as if he’s a major character that’s been featured throughout the movie and has a relationship with the intensely dislikeable Tea Leoni, but he wasn’t in the rest of the movie? Cutting room floor perhaps? This feels like a 3hr movie edited down to 2, but they chopped out the wrong hour. Disaster movies have been done much better before and since this film, so check out those instead. When a film makes the guff Michael Bay spews out look OK, you know it’s bad!
on 23 April 2013
This can still be an expensive Blu ray to find. It has kept its value. The picture is a big improvement over the DVD version. the sound, well, Not so much. It still has a good surround track but to compare the Dolby 5.1 with the new HD master and its not really any different. There are limited extras on the disc. pretty much what was on the DVD version.
I would reccomend replacing the DVD but I would search around for a good price or get it like I did with the Amazon 3 for £17 deal.
on 27 December 2015
I've just watched over an hour of this mush on the telly while preparing a meal. There was nothing there to hook me in. The leading actress, whoever she is, is as wooden as garden shed. Robert Duvall looks like he is reading his lines off auto-q. Do I care what happens? Not much because no-one here has made me care. I belatedly switched over to 'Countryfile.'
on 13 August 2014
Five CLASSIC Stars! "Deep Impact" is one of the ultimate Hollywood disaster movies, that ranks up there with “The Towering Inferno” and “The Poseidon Adventure”. The story begins with the simultaneous discovery of a new comet by two astronomers as it enters our solar system. On a parallel storyline, the movie chronicles a story being run down by a reporter tracking down an extramarital affair by a high level official which becomes something much more: that looming comet is apparently headed directly for Earth. There are two heart-tugging stories as well as scenes of the White House staff, news reporting crews, intrepid astronauts, and a group of special neighbors, while millions of US citizens flee the target area. Starring Robert Duval, Morgan Freeman, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Lili Sobieski, Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, and others. A great music score is orchestrated by James Horner. Bring lots of popcorn and kleenex. My Highest Recommendation. Five INTENSE Stars! (Amazon Prime Instant Video. Time 2:02)
on 10 June 2000
Having watched Armageddon, I believed the hype and didn't initially bother with Deep Impact as critics slammed it as a poor second. I should have known better.....
Deep Impact contains one important feature which lifts it into a different league from Armageddon: you get involved with the characters and actually find yourself going through the emotions with them!
This means that rather than just watching the build-up to and happening of a disaster and enjoying the effects, you start rooting for the various protagonists whilst trying to keep a lid on that nagging question: what would I do if this were to happen in real life?
A movie with something to keep the whole family glued to the screen (and the tissues firmly in your wife's hand)
on 10 November 2013
This is a very enjoyable movie, if a little sluggish on occasion.
The main characters are excellent throughout- Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood and Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman of course is always a joy to watch with the firm, quiet authority he brings to each character.
The early scenes, with Leoni's reporter not knowing what she's fallen into, are very enjoyable, and help pad this out to its rather long running time.
For the main, the movie relies on character build- up rather than spectacular efects, and some of the effects are no more than adequate. However, the usual heart strings are all tugged on, emitting a most familiar tune. More than any other modern SF disaster movie, this is the true heir to "When Worlds Collide".
It's not perfect, so not five stars, but it is highly engaging and mostly entertaining, a solid four. Is it better or worse than, say, "Armageddon? hard to say, both good, neither truly great.
I gigantic comet is heading towards Earth, if it hits then life as we know it is doomed. Enter the president of the United States who launches a desperate plan to have NASA's finest blow up the comet before it gets here. In the meantime, all on the Earth prepare for the worst case scenario.
Deep Impact was always going to be a tough sell to the movie watching world. In spite of its best intentions to blend epic disaster with a great big human heart, Deep Impact neither appeased the sci-fi crowd or fulfilled the effects hungry popcorn brigade's gargantuan appetites. "Too talky" said one side of the cinema, "that's just ridiculous" said the other, "hey isn't this supposed to be a corny disaster film" asked the balcony, here in lays the problem. Director Mimi Leder and her writing team of Bruce Rubin and Michael Tolkin are guilty of not taking a side from which to launch their picture out of the mundane atmosphere. Or perhaps maybe, it was just a bold gamble that didn't pay off? but i'm sure nobody involved in the picture would have wanted the viewers to be hankering for the effects laden finale, and that's what happens, ultimately it's the so-so carnage that most end up remembering. Worst still is that outside of Téa Leoni's news lady central character, Jenny Lerner, no characters are fully formed to make us even care if they and the Earth actually survives. Which in a film pro porting to be an intimate study of relationships and how mankind copes with impending doom, is nearly unforgivable.
It's odd that in the same year as Bruce Willis and Michael Bay firmly went for the popcorn crowd with Armageddon, that Deep Impact was offered up as the thinking mans opposite side of the coin. Yet the reality is that Deep Impact got confused about its worth, and sadly falls some way short of being the fine movie that it obviously looked like being down on the page. A good cast is wasted and a brave move is sadly unrealised. 5/10 because deep down it does in fact pose some rather interesting questions, questions that at least make Deep Impact worth a revisit on a quiet and boring Sunday evening by the fire, but it's definitely a case of so near and yet so far far away.
on 22 July 2012
This is a great movie with believable special effects. A great deal of time and effort went into making this film. The weightless effects look quite real and the effects people went to town with creating the surface of the comet. The suggestion that they could blow up a comet the size of this one into tiny pieces is a little unlikely but what does it matter? The film also shows the effect of a near end to the world on a family which is very emotional. Morgan Freeman plays the president with gravitas. All-in-all a great movie to spend the evening watching and now at a low price.