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Having seen such films as Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow, I really expected this film to be basically an effects demo reel. Most disaster films fit into this category: their plot is loosely tied together with some major event; humanity is threatened, a group of heroes is sent to try to save the world, and mankind prevails over nature. The rest of the film is essentially nifty visual effects that don't do much to enhance the plot.
So when I saw the first half of Deep Impact, I was amazed. Apart from a brief montage of special effects in the opening sequence (a car crash that simply screams "big budget"), the movie is one of the first disaster movies I've seen that actually focuses more on the human side of the drama rather than the awesome visual effects that computers can accomplish.
Many times during the film, especially during the latter half, I felt myself touched by the realism that the actors and actresses convey. There are moments when you realize how fragile and precious life is, and that's saying something for a film of this budget.
While the visual effects are indeed impressive, there are other features that make Deep Impact a necessary film to watch. James Horner's music is strikingly similar to his previous "Titanic" and "Apollo 13" scores, but it is still hauntingly beautiful and fits the tone of the movie perfectly. Tea Leoni does a good job of portraying a newscaster attempting to cover the events surrounding her while dealing with her own personal emotions, which is undoubtedly a hard act to pull off. Elijah Wood shows his skill years before "Lord of the Rings" hit theaters. The other actors and actresses are very realistic and emotional, and the movie flows smoothly with their presence.
All in all, this movie is not one to be missed. Keep an open mind while watching this movie: don't watch it with the misconception that it's just going to be another one of those big-budget dull blockbuster films that gets churned out every summer. 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.
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