on 1 January 2009
Its rather interesting that both Deep Impact and Armageddon were released around the same time because the two films deal with the same subject matter but in vastly different ways. While Jerry Bruckheimer gives us Con Air In Space, Mimi Leder takes a more considered approach to the threat of human extinction by chosing to concentrate on how exactly many of us would respond to the idea of the end of the world. Characters are fleshed out, warts and all. If one didn't already know this was a film about a giant meteor heading towards earth and knew about as much as the reporter who wants to uncover why 'ELLE' is such a closely guarded govermnment secret it is entirely plausible that events would unfurl as portrayed in this film.
I prefer films that do not try to insult my intelligence, like Armageddon with its over-the-top posturing macho nonsense. Deep Impact tells its story simply and intelligently. Morgan Freeman gives a magnificent performance as the President, a kind of mature version of Barak Obama. Robert Duvall is brilliant as the seasoned old astronaut pilot giving the young guns a lessson in seat-of-the-pants piloting. Tea Leoni, all inner turmoil and uncertainty until the end, is actually rather an inspired choice as a young ambitious reporter who suddenly realises that pulitzer prize fame is not the goal that she craves the most. And Elijah Wood plays the geeky kid from average family in average town USA who helps discover the comet that is hurtling towards Earth.
Deep Impact is a moving film, about hope, crushing disappointment and ultimately redemption. Its the sort of movie that the Americans occasionally get right. More often than not we get Armageddon, which is why the contrast between the two films is so fascinating. It is one of my favourite disaster movies, primarily because it understands that the impact of any disaster is really only as big as one's involvement and indentification with the main characters affected by it. By the end of the film you care about the fate of the bedraggled survivors of the shuttle expedition who have one last, vital card up their sleeve. Its a tragic, but heroic ending to a superbly crafted tale.
So if you want something to look at while you concentrate on munching popcorn buy Armageddon. If you want to watch a movie that stirs your emotions then Deep Impact may well be for you.
on 27 November 2009
This is a pre-release review of the disc before it goes out on general sale, based on the HMV exclusive released earlier this month. I'll skip over the review of the film itself as most of you thinking of buying this will be upgrading from the DVD or video release.
So onto the important stuff..:
First off is the Blu-ray picture, and I must say this is one of the best Blu-ray images I have seen in a long time. At times the definition is so sharp there is that "often-mentioned-but-all-too-rare" 3D effect, most noticeably in the exterior shots. Everything shines brightly in the heavily lit scenes with no grain evident and the darker scenes have good blacks and very low levels of artefacting or grain to annoy. If I have any complaints, the outstanding picture shows up the occasional naff bit of CGI. The tidal wave is now just a little underwhelming compared to the rest of the film. But this is a minor gripe and a massive improvement over the DVD releases as to be almost a completely different movie. (The information Amazon has on the ratio is incorrect; it is the proper 2.35:1 ratio). Picture: 5/5
The audio isn't such a big improvement over the DVD. While the sound space is filled reasonably well by the Dolby TrueHD track, oddly I had to put an audio delay of around 40msecs to ensure the sound synced with the image (I haven't had to do that before). The bass is a little meatier than the original DVD, but you really won't be using this disc as a demo for your audio equipment. Audio: 3/5
The extras are basic and have been taken from earlier discs. Only the trailers are in HD and serves to frustrate what could have been a good disc extras-wise. The trailers depict several scenes not shown in the actual movie (the car-park panic scene, the telescope in the garden bit) and Paramount could have dug a little deeper to deliver something more interesting for what is a flawed, but nonetheless compelling movie. As it stands, while the picture is a good reason to upgrade to the Blu-ray, the lack of new extras means you should wait until it dips below a tenner before buying. Extras: 3/5
Samsung LCD 40" Series 6 100mhz, 1080p
Sony STDR-850 5.1 surround sound amp)
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.
If you're after high octane smash bang action then look elsewhere. If you're after a movie that at least attempts to base itself a little more in a possible reality then this is the movie for you.
This movie isn't without its plot flaws or technical errors and some of the acting could be better. There is a mix of strong believable actors (Morgan Freeman, Robert Duval, Vanessa Redgrave, James Cromwell) and less convincing ones (Elijah Wood, Tea Leoni, Maximilian Schell, Leelee Sobieski)
Sadly the emotional component of the film and the part for me that it is supposed to create the greated sense of fear, resignation and connection with the characters focuses on the actors that to me were less convincing.
Tea Leoni is convincing as Jenny Learner, the upcoming reporter who stumbles across E.L.E and is thrust into the limelight much to the chagrin of her boss Beth (Laura Innes) but as a feeling human wrestling with the personal consequences and possibilities of the impending disaster I just couldn't connect with her. Likewise the start contrast between her Mum Robin (Vanessa Redgrave) and father Jason (Maximilian Schell) was palpable. Vanessa shows her classic acting talent conveying a mixture of emotions allowing me to believe she was real woman torn apart by Jason's remarriage and the impending doom. Yet Schell to me was stilted and devoid of emotion, however I will admit I'm not a fan of his.
In a similar way the other emotional theme of the film centering around Leo and Sarah fails to me due to their acting skills.
I feel that Elijah succeeds a little more due to that he seems to have a natural face that looks permanently worried when not smiling. However Leelee has a spectacular fail to convey the deep distress she is feeling as her parents save her by sending her off with her baby brother/sister with Leo to avoid the onrushing tsunami.
This is in complete opposition to the deep personal trauma that is etched across Morgan Freemans face as the president addressing the nation when the last attempts to avert cataclysm fail and how the amazing James Cromwell as former secretary of state Alan Rittenhouse conveys a deep sense of hopelessness and resignation in his brief but powerful interview with Jenny Lerner.
It may seem by now that I've torn the film apart but somehow as a whole the movie works well especially the tear jearking end where the brave crew of the Messiah bid fairwell to their loved ones as they make the ultimate sacrifice to save them and the planet.
Thankfully to me there is not so much of the chest puffing adoration seeking US patriotism as they selflessly wade in to save the world once more. Yes the USA is instrumental in the effort to save the world, but there is non of the cringe worthy dialogue and unnecessary shots of the rest of the world gratefully celebrating the USA's benevolence.
Instead there are shots of the US bearing its share of the devastation and recognition of how the rest of the planet has suffered in the heartwarming motivational speach by the President (Freeman).
And this is key difference between Deep Impact and Armageddon, this film has attempted to base itself in humility not chest beating bravado and to me that is where it beats its blockbuster brother hands down.
The transfer for the bluray is good but not one of the best of seen for a film of this age with some noticeable grain in the film that I can only assume are artifacts as I can see no reason why artistically they would be present.
Sound wise is where my disappointment is, while its Dolby TrueHD the centre vocals were strangely muffled and for a first on my system with either DTS HD or TrueHD I had to up the volume to make them clear.
Also I never really felt enveloped in the sound stage, it felt strangely flat and all at the front except for odd occasions such as the Messiah around the comet and the onrush of the tsunami.
However despite the niggles of the transfer, weaker actors and flat sound stage this is a film that I love watching time and time again.
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 3 January 2012
this was the "other" impact movie. It was more story-led, had better acting and better photography. It had to compete with the mega-hollywood Bruce Willis version but it won in as many areas as it lost. Great sous-terrain plot and casting. Superb Blu-ray transfer but not perfect. Acceptable audio. Could have been ruined in many places by over-egging the obvious but reigned in the egos and the result is a great film. has to be 5 stars for sheer scale of the story and deliverance.
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 25 October 2012
A Spielberg Inspired remake of "When Worlds Collide": Deep Impact is often unfavourably compared to Armageddon: but in many respects is the better movie. Mimi Leder directs an all star cast through an interwoven story line of four main strands: Young Love and the effects of "Fame", the strength of Family Ties, Political Intrigue and freedom of the Press, Reliance on Technology and the Resilience of the Human Spirit.
Each strand is well sculpted and weaves in and out of each other to allow the viewer to follow all together, with the overlaps packing out the plot into an eminently enjoyable film.
Morgan Freeman and Robert Duval are superbly believeable, as you would expect, as are Maximillian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave. Young Elijah Wood and LeeLee Sobieski are enjoyable and give good, grounded performances. The only fly in the (Cast) Ointment is Tea Leoni who plays her character (Jenny Lerner) with little emotion (almost "Dead Pan"); which is a shame as her story (the strand which ties the rest of the movie together) should have been an emotional roller-coaster! If this was a ploy on behalf of Mimi Leder not to detract from the parallel family stories of the Biedermans and the Hotchners, it may have backfired.
Not a "Gung-Ho" testesterone fuelled action movie, like Armageddon,Armageddon: Re-mastered Edition (2 Disc Set) [DVD]  but a well thought out, balanced look at an end-of-the-world scenario. The models (Messiah) used in the space scenes look like they've been made from left-overs from 1980's Sci-Fi films (which may be appropriate as the Orion nuclear propulsion system had been a serious proposal for manned Mars missions from NASA in the 1970's) but this doesn't detract from the story-line (which could have been destroyed by too much CGI)
If you enjoy this film you might also like some of Mimi Leder's other films like Peacemaker Peacemaker, The [DVD] , Pay It Forward Pay It Forward [DVD] , or Outbreak Outbreak [DVD] 
on 6 April 2012
(THE FILM)Fourteen-year-old Leo Beiderman (Elijah Wood) did not expect to make an earth-shattering discovery when he joined his high school astronomy club. He didn't expect to make any discoveries at all; he simply hoped that classmate Sarah Hotchner (Leelee Sobieski) would discover him. Yet a photograph he takes through his small telescope makes him co-discoverer of Comet Wolf-Beiderman...a comet that scientists determine is on a fatal collision course with the Earth.
What would you do if you knew that in a handful of days an enormous comet would collide with Earth and all humanity could be annihilated?
WHAT CAN I SAY?
this film focuses on a group of people who have to face the end of their world.I feel this film was much stronger with emotions and story than Armageddon which was out the same time in 1998 .
what I am saying?
is that Deep Impact has more heart,emotion,feel and less testosterone.
but where it counts, it's genuinely moving.
A Great performances all-round, just the right amount of special effects
From Elijah Wood's schoolboy who discovers the comet by accident, to the shuttle crew led by Robert Duvall sent out to try and minimise the damage to Morgan Freeman who played the president perfectly. there is a thoughtful and contemplative build up to the finale. And this film deliver in a big way when it comes, but it's all the more affecting thanks to the characters we've followed.
"Deep Impact" is extremely under rated film .
This one dares to avoid the seemingly standard clichés set by other films of the genre, which makes it a truly unique film to experience.
On the whole,'Deep Imact' is Still good after all this years and still is an outstanding experience to Watch!
on 31 December 2012
Of the two asteroid-headed for Earth films released in 1998 Deep Impact is by far the superior of the two. Where Armageddon is an over-testosteroned over-patriotic mess, Deep Impact takes a human appraoch. It focuses on normal people`s reactions to the fact that their society will soon end once a meteor strikes the Earth. It forces the viewer to think "what would I do if I learned I only had a few days left to live?". The characters are realistic and the screenplay keeps our interest without having to throw millions into the special effects at the screen to keep our attention span. The acting is great. Any film that pairs Robert Duvall and Morgan Freeman is worth seeing, and Tea Leoni shows a solid dramatic side, and the special effects are amazing (without spending millions!). This special edition has some great extras including a good audio commentary by the director. Enjoy.