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Hollywood at its best/worst
on 25 August 2006
Watched this on TV last night and feel compelled to write a review. I remember seeing this in the cinema as an impressionable teenager and thinking it was the greatest thing ever; explosions, tough nut men and funky gadgetry. Having watched it again now, I can't believe how different my opinion is.
This is the most blatant piece of American propaganda ever. A huge comet is ploughing towards Earth, and who notices it first? The Americans. Throughout the course of the film, you get the impression that the rest of the world is still living in a cave somewhere, scratching its collective head and banging a bone against a stone. Of course, only America knows that this threat is coming. Of course, only America has the technology to stop it. Of course, no other countries in the world have the slightest inkling that anything bad is happening, or come up with their own ways of stopping it, or even run away (non-specific Asian man sits eating noodles by a river, then BANG! Bye-bye non specific Asian city. Innocent looking French kids are playing around on a Citroen 2CV, probably having just finished their lunch of onions and frogs legs, when BANG! Paris gets wiped out. We then get a lovely sweeping shot of decimated Paris, because apparently the dust and debris from a comet impact settles immediately). The only other country that is credited as being capable of putting a man in space is Russia, but whilst Team America are whizzing around in their new, shiny shuttles (named "liberty" and "freedom", or some other patriotic nonsense) all Russia can muster is some drunken, insane Cosmonauts aboard their creaky, decrepit space station, which just so happens to explode as soon as America boards it. Goes to show just how much of the space race resentment is still held by America.
I won't even get started on the script; it's just dire beyond belief ("I've got just 5 words for you - Damn glad ta see ya boy!"). Some of the set pieces are well staged and look very pretty, but I can't stand films were half the characters are brought in just so they can be killed. By the time they've landed on the comet, I frankly couldn't keep up with who's dying and who's alive, and quickly got beyond the point of caring. One point of unintended humour was the fact that the guys at mission control got so distraught when one of the shuttles crashed, even though they pretty much knew this would happen anyway, that's why they sent two in the first place! ("At NASA, we don't take chances..."). And I've never seen such a drawn out ending, we knew from the start one of them was going to have to take one for the team, we don't need a seemingly endless scene where he looks all patriotic and nostalgic, just blow the damn bomb you fool!! And of course, the explosion works perfectly, and the world is saved. That is, one assumes, until the two massive chunks of comet get caught up in the nearest gravity field and flung straight back to Earth.
I know I shouldn't get so worked up, it's just a film, but it seriously worries me to think that America; a country that can't even deal with its own internal disasters (Katrina anyone?), portrays itself as the be all and end all solution to the worlds problems. Let's just hope that if a comet is about to hit, Bruce Willis and his cohort's real life counterparts are waiting in the wings to save us all. Not a one star film, because it does have a place, Im just not sure where that place is. Do yourself a favour, if you want an apocalyptic comet based film, go for Deep Impact.