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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No, it's not an awful movie by any means, but a lot of reviewers seemed
to believe that DI has something profound and moving to say about how
humans might react to an extinction level event (ELE). I simply don't
feel the same way. I found the script to be hackneyed and full of tired
clichés. (BTW, if a couple teens got married because they knew the ELE
was about to happen, don't you think that they would have resigned
themselves to leaving their parents and staying with each other,
regardless of the outcome? Apparently not.) When compared to
"Armaggedon," DI definitely comes off being more realistic in the sense
that the characters aren't cartoonish, but they're sure not the kind of
people I know and they don't bring anything to the story you can't get
from a Zane Grey novel. Some are absurdly noble and others just do the
irrational or unexpected.
Now, if you think you might want to see some more interesting (if not totally realistic) characterizations of people facing the end of the world, consider "On The Beach" (1959) or even "Last Night" (1998).
Ultimately, I find DI to be less noisy and bombastic than "Armaggedon," but no more realistic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You can always tell when someone's been touting a good idea round
Hollywood - you get two (or more) versions of the same story hitting
the multiplexes the following summer. Clearly, 1997 saw someone doing
the rounds with "Asteroid due to strike the Earth - mission sent into
space to destroy it - mission succeeds - only major mayhem on Earth,
not total destruction." Armageddon concentrated on the mission to
destroy the asteroid and how heroic they were (by gum, that Bruce
Willis, what a hero!). Deep Impact, on the other hand, concentrated on
the stories of the people remaining on Earth to face the worst. In that
respect, it became standard disaster movie soap material - who is going
to survive, who isn't, who is going to sacrifice themselves so that
someone else might survive, who has a damaged relationship which is
going to be repaired just in time...
I understand the principle - you need to identify with people so that the disastrous happenings carry some emotional weight. My main criticism with this movie is that there was a bit too much soapy stuff, and rather too little mayhem. When it came it was very well done, but there wasn't very much of it.
Oh well, roll on the next disaster (or Roland Emmerich's 2012 as I like to call it).
Although full of plot holes (not least of which is the idea of an MSNBC
reporter investigating a scandal in a Democrat administration) "Deep
Impact" is a fine film, much better than "Armageddon," another movie
about an Earth-threatening meteor which came out at about the same
The technical errors (see the "Goofs" section) do not detract from the enjoyment of this film because they are not the main focus. That's not to say that there is not some good sci-fi in there, or that the special effects are weak (they are quite good actually) just that "Deep Impact" has more on its mind. It is the interaction of the characters that is front and center, and for the most part those relationships ring true.
Tea Leoni plays the overwhelmed-by-events thing a bit too hard, but Morgan Freeman is quite convincing as the President, and Robert Duvall and the rest of the shuttle crew are also good. Leelee Sobiesky and Elijah Wood did well playing worried young lovers, forced by events to grow up a bit too fast.
This movie was not the self-proclaimed "blockbuster" that "Armageddon" was, but it does not seem to have intended to be one. It's a slightly more thoughtful look at the same subject, and profits in the comparison. If you're looking for a technical treatise on meteor-collision strategies, you'll be left wanting by either movie, but "Deep Impact" does satisfy on the dramatic level.
A good way to spend an evening.
Apocolyptic tales of malicious meteors blasting the Earth have been a
recurring story since some of them were tracked hitting Jupiter back in
the '90's. Deep Impact came out about the same time as a Bruce
Willis/Michael Bay vehicle about the same subject, and this is, by far,
the better of the two.
The discovery of the unwelcome rogue extraterrestial piece of space rock is done very well; with students and scientists happening upon the impending doom by accident; this is followed by intrigue and mystery involving an aspiring TV reporter (Tea Leoni) and involves many politicians, all the way up to the president himself (Morgan Freedman). I don't usually think Leoni is all that good, but her performance in this movie was dynamic and believable. Freedman is great, as always, and does the patriarchal chief executive role with all due sentiment and strength. Another strong actor, Robert Duvall provides a strong leadership role for the group of astronauts dispatched to demolish the incoming behemoth before it reaches its destination: us.
The film takes on too much of back stories of characters, and the stories being told about the people, unfortunately aren't all that interesting. The actors make the most of the script as written, but many of these back stories are just too sappy and contrived to identify with. The movie, it should be noted, does have its moments: the scene with the astronauts communicating with people on the ground is very touching.
Special effects are accomplished with precision, and accent the doomsday premise of the film very well. Throughout most of the movie, it endeavors to be faithful to known scientific facts about asteroids. However, the closing scene is just done so poorly that it's ridiculous. The scene with the teen astronomer Bederman and his young Helen Hunt-look-alike wife on a toy motor bike "running away from" the destruction is just woefully executed. Whoever directed this sequence should be launched into space and fed to the attacking meteors.
All in all, a good story. It has its weakness in the human element aspects of its script, but it's still a good watch.
My Take: One of the most convincing end-of-the-world movies in a long
Since the dawn of the CGI era, Hollywood has spun box-office gold after box-office gold, enough to make more box-office... well, you get it! Since it was popularized in James Cameron's nonstop thrill machine sequel TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY and Steven Spielberg's first-rate creature feature JURASSIC PARK, CGI has enabled Hollywood directors/special effects wizards to create images so realistic, it's nearly identical to the real thing. This followed many other big-budget so-called "event" pictures, one of which is the reworking of the long-considered forgotten sub-genre, the 1970's disaster genre.
Back in the 70's, only the AIRPORT series (the first three actually), THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and THE TOWERING INFERNO were the real box-office, or at least, commercial and critical successes, while notorious flops like AIRPORT '79 and WHEN TIME RAN OUT... would completely kill off the genre. But believe it or not, like it or not, the genre is back, and on a winning streak once more. While James Cameron's TITANIC became the most successful film of all time, thanks mainly for an involving love story that we all loved. Then here comes DEEP IMPACT, foretelling the biggest natural disaster: extinction by a giant comet. This isn't a new formula, even for the genre. This has been around since 1979, in the film called METEOR, as Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer's other meteor movie Armageddon which came out just the same year, but wasn't out 'till summer.
Of course no one really expected DEEP IMPACT to be any form of art, considering its roots. It may just be another 1970's disaster movie scenario, but, it is, this is one of the best 1970's disaster movie of the CGI era. While it ain't free from the disaster movie clichés like TITANIC was (elevating it from being another CGI 1970's disaster offering), DEEP IMPACT is more high-concept and better written. This one, unlike the rest, devotes itself mainly to the effects rather than the source, allowing us to better relate to the characters. The opening, of course, devotes to introduce characters and hint on the impending doom. The film opens with the introduction of one of the main characters, this is Leo Beiderman (Elijah Wood), the youngest character, who also one of the first top predict the ominous disaster while stargazing with his Astronomy Club. This is marred with, of course, a back story featuring his family as well as juvenile yet sweet and gentle relationship with the next door girl Sarah Hotchner (Leelee Sobieski).
One year later, we are introduced with another character, an eager reporter named Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni), currently having problems with her divorced parents (Maximillian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave), as well as getting caught into a discovery of an E.L.E, which she misinterprets as a presidential scandal. Turns out, its an Extinction Level Event. Hidden from the public for over a year, President Tom Beck (Morgan Freeman) has finally come up with a plan to save the earth. The largest space shuttle ever constructed called the Messiah, manned by veteran moon-walker Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner (Robert Duvall) and a crew of young yet experienced astronauts, will land on the comet, plant nuclear weapons in its base, and blow it out of space. Will they succeed? Of course, Hollywood won't deny us the big-budget, special effects laden destruction of earth, so no questions asked.
Still, with its clichés, DEEP IMPACT had me hooked, not by the expectations of special effects (which doesn't actually occur during later on), but of the surprise, unexpected focus on character and drama. Director Mimi Leder wants us to care about these characters, which are nicely written by Ms. Leder's crew of writers (Bruce Joel Rubin & Michael Tolkin). Even the supporting characters were given sufficient focus, except, maybe, the expendable ones. The performances were better than the usual affair, considering that others in the genre let the special effects do most of the acting. Of course, the special effects were impressive, but its not frequent that they are overshadowed by the real actors and those behind the camera. DEEP IMPACT still ain't close to the likes of TITANIC, but its still a great disaster film, considering that the talents don't get wasted under the shadow of special effects, big crowds and large budget.
Rating: ***** out of 5.
I've never been a huge fan of disaster films because like the horror
genre it's been done to death to the point where you've seen one,
you've seen all of them.
This movie is no "Dante's Peak." Nor is it "Volcano," "Earthquake" or "The Towering Inferno."
It came out the same year as the dumb, but fun "Armageddeon" and , yes, coming from me it's the superior of the two, but it's overall pointless to say which one is better seeming how many people here seem to enjoy both extremely equally.
Anyway, it's full of fascinating science thrills, intense outer-space shuttle trips, political debate which is headed supposedly by the first Black president ( Morgan Freeman ) and is heart warming and heartbreaking all at the same time!
ANyway, the rest of the cast become part of the drama and not one feels out of place ( not even a young Elijah Wood! ), it's executive-produced by Steven Spielberg ( a wise funder ) and was Mimi Ledar's second feature-length film with the first being her other under-rated action film, "The Peacemaker." She should really get bigger projects because she has good intentions.
Anyway, if you want Science Fiction that feels real, involves good questions about the universe or doesn't feel too out-dated, then hop on-board this winner!
Deep Impact is a film that works on many levels. With it's outstanding cast and beautifully skilled direction it presents many different aspects to the gargantuan tragedy that is expected to alter, if not end all life on earth. Robert Duvall embodies the calm everyday heroism of our NASA astronauts, while Morgan Freeman is the confident, fatherly figure that a president of the United States ought to be. Elijah Wood gives an excellent performance as the young man who first discovers the comet, and later rises above his age to save the life of his girlfriend. Tia Leone is the ambitious TV news reporter who is the first to discover what is going on, despite the several upheavals in her own life, and to round out this first line of star performers is Maxamillian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave. A good, solid, mature disaster film that works well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I first saw this movie when I was about ten. I didn't exactly follow it, I just wanted to see all the cool special effects. Then, just last week, I saw it again. To me, the movie was the real Armagedon. The film begins with a young astronomer noticing something out of place in the midnight sky. He sends the picture to an observatory, where the house astronomer makes a horrifying discovery...it's a comet on a collision course with Earth. In this film, the world governments have a year+ to come up with a plan to divert the comet. The plan is twofold, Land a large spacecraft on the comet, bury a couple of nukes 100m deep, blow the nukes and send the comet off course. If that fails, the government plans to move a couple hundred thousand people into NORAD (A nuke-proof fortress built into a mountain) and wait out the death, destruction, and mayhem. The film is focused on three people; a reporter, the young astronomer and his girlfriend, and the astronaut captain who leads the mission to save earth. Their paths never cross, yet their stories are woven together beautifully as they cope with a tidal wave of emotions that hit. This film is a bit sappy. Guys expect your girlfriend/wife to cry, you might even also. In the end, it's a story of sacrifice. True heroes, risking, giving up their lives for someone else. In the end, you'll find yourself depressed and uplifted at the same time.
Deep Impact is a sci fi film, of course. But it is also a story about
how relationships change, grow, and deteriorate in the face of
cataclysmic destruction and probable death. It is these mixed themes
that produce mixed reviews: is this a relationship film? An apocalyptic
sci fi blow up film?
Yes, to both questions. And doing both means the doing either better, than anything else out there, won't happen in the time allotted.
Still, it is satisfying in both themes. Great in either. No. But good enough. (Consider that people respond with commendable rationality in the face of certain death and the technology depicted is 10 years ahead of what we have at this writing).
Still, the film involves the viewer sufficiently to force one to consider how she or he would respond in the face of the events depicted. That level of personal involvement is rare in most current cinema and makes this a film worthy of return viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In many ways this is a frightening all-too-real movie. The acting is
superb but overdone, plus miscast here and there.
Robert Duvall is an excellent actor but totally out of character in this movie. He belongs on a horse driving cattle, or advising a mafioso, not with a bunch of much younger astronauts on an Earth saving mission.
And having the sub-plot of the two young love interests (Wood and Sobieski)near the end of the movie hauling that baby around was a bit much.
One other critique here... Just where did the Presidential Adviser and his daughter think they were going on that boat to avoid the impending world-wide disaster??
But the rest of the movie, including Morgan Freeman as The President carried the movie beyond a so-so rating to a pretty good one. Thumbs up and worth a watch. Mike Palmiter, Williams, IN.
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