Deep Impact (1998)
Mimi Leder (The Peacemaker) directed this science-fiction disaster drama about the possible extinction of human life after a comet is discovered headed toward Earth with the collision only one year away. Ambitious MSNBC reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) stumbles onto the story, prompting a White House press conference. United States President Beck (Morgan Freeman) announces the government's solution: a team of astronauts will travel to the comet and destroy it. The team leader aboard the spaceship Messiah is Spurgeon Tanner (Robert Duvall), who was once the last man to walk on the moon. However, the mission fails, splitting off a chunk of the comet, now due to land in the Atlantic with the impact sending a 350-foot tidal wave flooding 650 miles inland, destroying New York and other cities. The larger part of the comet, hitting in Canada, will trigger an E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event), not unlike a "nuclear winter" as dust clouds block out the sun and bring life to an end. President Beck reveals Plan B: a cavernous underground retreat constructed to hold one million Americans, with most to be selected through a national lottery. Since teenage amateur astronomer Leo Biederman (Elijah Wood) discovered the comet, his family gets a pass to enter the cave, but his girlfriend Sarah (Leelee Sobieski) and her parents will be left behind. Meanwhile, still in space, Spurgeon Tanner devises a plan for a kamikaze-styled operation that could possibly save the Earth. Special visual effects by Scott Farrar and Industrial Light & Magic. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi … More
- PG-13 (For intense disaster related elements and brief language)
- Drama , Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Directed By:
- Mimi Leder
- Written By:
- Bruce Joel Rubin , Michael Tolkin
- In Theaters:
- May 8, 1998 Wide
- On DVD:
- Dec 15, 1998
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Critic Reviews for Deep Impact
a little too melodramatic
Disaster movies are trim and exciting or they're nothing, and Deep Impact isn't trim or exciting.
The joy of any catastrophe flick is watching the world that annoys you so much get its due.
Unlike Armageddon, this film possesses a plot. Granted, it is the insipid plot of a made-for-TV miniseries, but at least it is an actual, tangible plot.
a crockful of hard-to-swallow melodrama... It would have been much more fun to drop in on the folks who elected to party like it's never gonna be 1999.
Parece que a diretora Mimi Leder realmente acreditou que seus personagens fossem interessantes, bem como a história. Não são.
A disaster film where some the lead characters practice kindness,courage and compassion in unique ways.
One could say Deep Impact is an above average action movie or an average drama...any movie with Morgan Freeman is president is OK by me.
Mimi Leder's end-of-the-world pic places intelligent human dramas -- how people really feel and react to life-threatening situations -- above predictable histrionics.
The characters they've chosen to focus on are so thin and uninteresting (and sometimes downright irritating), all you're left to root for is the comet's speedy arrival.
The direction and script is so confusing and so riddled with holes that you'll spend the hour after the movie discussing all of its problems with your date and friends.
For all the money ($80 million) spent on this early mid-year entry, all you, the viewer, get is Dull Impact.
The first of the '90s disaster films to successfully marry the advanced film technology with emotions that ring true.
Audience Reviews for Deep Impact
Back in 1998 we got the first of two movies revolving around the possible cataclysmic events of a gigantic comet hitting the Earth. This did happen a few times back in the 90's with the two volcano flicks...'Dante's Peak' and errr 'Volcano', 'Bug's Life' and 'Antz', 'Tombstone' and 'Wyatt Earp' etc... For some reason Hollywood bigwigs seemed to think we needed two virtually identical movies coming out in the same year.
Where as 'Armageddon' was a more bombastic explosion filled action adventure where characters had cool nicknames, this movie was a much deeper emotional rollercoaster with a sensible angle. I've always seen or compared these two films to videogames...this film being more like a realistic simulator and 'Armageddon' being more like a balls to the wall arcade cabinet game. Clearly there is no need to go over the plot in much detail as it speaks for itself, but both films required astronauts to drill deep into the vast looming comet and plant nukes to blow it up. In one film it works, in the other it doesn't.
What I liked about this film was the well portrayed characters and their development, although the casting wasn't all that good truth be told. We meet a rounded selection of average people, and of course Mr President and some officials, as the clock ticks down to judgement day. Each character has their own individual issues that intertwine with other characters throughout, its basically a slice of life for each person in the lead up to the disaster. In the mean time we also follow some astronauts and their mission to plant the nukes which naturally also includes more heart pounding problems to solve. On the whole every story line is very emotional as the tension builds...people die, people must make choices, sacrifices, redemption, reconciliation, love...its all here in buckets loads and what's more it works.
I will be quite honest here and say this movie gets me every time with the old waterworks, I can't help it. Leder uses all the tricks in the book to make you reach for the tissues, every predictable cliche is present and correct from making up with a loved one, giving up a life saving seat on a helicopter for a mother and child...to the astronauts making the ultimate sacrifice. There are some scenes which really wrench at your heartstrings (I think), when Leoni and Schell hold each other on the beach before being engulfed by the tsunami, the shuttle crew saying their goodbyes before blowing themselves up inside a comet fissure, when the newsroom team must draw straws for helicopter placings. That scene also annoyed me, a young mother and child draw the short straw and must stay behind and no one offers their place to them! surely a mother and baby would get a place regardless sheesh!
On the flip side the destruction porn, or disaster porn should I say is handled well with solid CGI. The ruination of poor old New York is well rendered and still holds up today, watching the megatsunami sweep through the city toppling skyscrapers is actually quite scary. The tsunami itself looks good against the city but elsewhere it does look a tad obvious, there are the odd shots that stick out a bit these days but that's expected. In general it all looks very good and with minimal use of big set pieces really, not until the finale that is, its mainly dialog and space sequences. The space sequences are quite impressive I might add, nicely done, realistic in appearance no nonsense...it all looked accurate to me, as though it could really happen. The comet sequences were probably the best in the film, it all looked like a set sure but very well created, cold and intimidating visually, great space suits for the astronauts and some slick looking machinery and gear which all looked like it would actually do the job for real.
It always amused me how the US decides to save one million people, 300,000 of which already have places, people like scientists teachers doctors...artists? No one over 50...bit of a bummer huh, oh unless you're the President or any of his aides that is. I've also always wondered about the US military in this film, did they get automatic places in the caves? seeing as they are serving their country, did their families get automatic places too? if not why would any soldier follow orders and do what they do...act like emotionless heartless robots.
I also found it hilarious that as Elijah Wood and his family are about to enter the caves his folks actually let him run off to find his little girlfriend! As if any parent would allow their child to do that in that situation, I'm pretty sure any normal parent would have dragged the child in with them no questions asked. The whole sub plot is ridiculous too seeing as Wood would have died for nothing, he didn't know the bigass comet would get destroyed and he never made it back to the caves, so both him and his girlfriend would have been killed ordinarily. When Wood does find his girlfriend her folks tell them to get to higher ground...but again why bother when they all knew the bigass comet would wipe everything out. Surely being together in the last few minutes would have been a better option for the kids. So technically Wood goes off on a suicide mission and his folks let him.
So even with a simple plot like this there are still (I think) some flaws that don't really reflect reality that well. I also thought the main casting was a bit all over the place with Leoni coming across kinda weak in my opinion. She just looks confused all the time and her newscaster sequences were terrible, even before she announces the bad news she's stuttering through it annoyingly. Schell adds some old fashioned class and sheen but the relationship/connection between him and Leoni never really feels right even though it isn't suppose to. Even at the very end I just didn't feel it between them which is a shame because they are one of the main focus points in the plot (still a sad moment).
On the other hand the drama kicking off in space is managed expertly by Duvall, him and his team really do come across as a proper group of astronauts. This was one aspect I've always like about the movie and that's the combination of the Earth based drama and space set drama, both of which are solid and gel perfectly. I was also impressed how the story is handled, it never crosses your mind that the space shuttle crew might not make it back, sure you know there's always gonna be redshirt character in there but you always assume they will be the heroes and get home. I guess this is what makes their sacrifice so powerful towards the finale, it surprises you, hits you hard, and in that brief moment you connect with the small team one human to another.
I'm sure there are probably some scientific bits that aren't overly accurate too but in general this movie feels very realistic, looks very realistic and manages to cover the stark reality of humanity having to face extinction exceptionally well in the countdown to the end of the world.
I'll never forget when the topic of conversation was "Which do you like better? Deep Impact or Armageddon?" Seems like "Armageddon" won....I'll take both, but between the two, I always preferred "Deep Impact."More
Released just two months before Armageddon, this film was made to make money. They took a common and popular idea and ran the cheesiest story possible but lacked any drama and empathy. A sham for Morgan Freeman.More
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