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Deep Impact (1998) Poster

(1998)

Goofs

Continuity 

About 10 minutes in the movie when Jenny's mother, Robin, is being corrected by Jenny on Chloe's correct name, we first see Robin from her back just holding a cigarette with her right hand while the other hand is seen empty and disappearing away. The next shot facing Robin now shows her also holding and setting her watch with both hands. P.S.: Please feel free to correct my description in better and more concise terms as needed, french is my first language.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Tanner is talking with Monash after Monash was injured, Monash says "...and I see myself dreaming," but his lip movements are something different.
When Orrin is talking to Fish after he is stricken blind, the scene where Fish is preparing to read Orrin Moby Dick, Orrin's lips move an the visual is obviously delayed at one point.

Character error 

When the Messiah is approaching the comet to land on it and Jenny Lerner is reporting on the ship's progress, she mentions that the ship will be entering the comet's "tail, or coma" (implying that the tail and coma are the same thing). In fact, the coma of a comet, along with the nucleus, actually form the head of the comet. The coma and the tail are two completely different parts.
At the beginning of the movie Leo says the unknown object (which would later turn out as the comet) is "about 10 degrees south" of some stars he recognized. If it were 10 degrees away he wouldn't have seen it. What you can overlook with a telescope while looking at one place would be only a tiny fraction of a degree.

Continuity 

Stuart Caley takes off his glasses twice at the end of a budget meeting.
The roads in New York City are completely filled with cars, making it impossible to escape. Yet, when the Brooklyn Bridge comes up, the freeway in the background shows cars moving at a fast pace, barely escaping the wave.
When Leo Biederman picks up the motorcycle in the Hotchner's home at the end of the movie, the left-hand mirror is twisted the wrong way; however, when Leo takes off, the mirror is correctly set.
When Sarah and Leo are on the motorbike making their way away from the comet, the comet is shown moving perpendicular to the freeway they're on. Then, just after that it passes Sarah's parents going in a parallel direction.
When Jenny is calling a cab, talking to her father in the rain, she raises her left hand, but in the next shot her right hand is up.
The 1st comet is due to hit at 4:37pm in August on the Eastern Seaboard, yet when Jenny Lerner walks onto the beach to meet her father her shadow's length shows it much later in the day.
When Jenny gives up her seat on the helicopter, the shot pans out and shows 20 or more helicopters in the air. A few seconds later the camera does a 360 around Jenny, there are no helicopters in the air.
Although Jenny's car is hit twice in the rear by the FBI car, it remains remarkably undamaged. Both times her vehicle was hit, it was "bumper-to-bumper". Being made out of rubber and plastic, these parts are designed to "bounce back" when impacted.
On the newscast, they say that the warheads will be drilled 100 meters into the comet; however, while on the comet, the astronauts are working with measurements in feet, including the bomb being drilled 800 feet, which is actually over 290 meters, into the comet.
When Jenny is interviewing Rittenhouse on the dock, the position of the sun drastically changes several times in only three minutes.
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In the first shot of the orbiting Messiah ship, the angle of the shadows cast by the clouds doesn't match the angle of the sun. The shadows are almost directly underneath the clouds, as they would appear at or around noon. The sun's low angle should instead cast long early morning shadows.
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Near the end, Oren holds his right hand up to the monitor that is showing his wife and child, however, when the view pans to face Oren, he now has his left hand up.

Crew or equipment visible 

During the President's continuation of life broadcast, there is a shot in the NBC Studio wide shot where you see everyone watching the line of network TVs, in the bottom left corner of the frame you see a Film camera dollying forward. It would be an unnecessary angle for a Studio camera.
As Jenny records voice memos while driving, a bright white dot is reflected in her sunglasses. This is an obvious movie spotlight.

Errors in geography 

When Sarah's mom tells Leo she is up on the hill, the camera pans to a mountain top hill overlooking a huge valley. Richmond is a one hour drive from the nearest Mountain-like hills. Even then, the mountains in Virginia are completely covered with trees. It is obviously somewhere in Southern California.
There is no possible way that Jenny Lerner could make it from Washington, DC to the family house on Cape Cod in the 2 or so hours she had after she let the helicopter go. It's a 500 mile drive, and there are 4 or 5 major metropolitan areas between, first getting out of DC, then Baltimore and the Tunnel, Philadelphia, all of NJ and NY, then the CT, RI and MA stretch. She'd have had to drive 300 mph on totally empty roads in order to make it in time.
The Hotchner family (along with the Biederman family) lives in Richmond, Virginia, which is nowhere near the Virginia beaches (which are to the east and southeast of Richmond). For them to be passing a "Virginia Beaches - 6 miles" sign headed westbound implies that they lived at the beach, not in Richmond.
During the traffic scene, a highway information sign shows Interstate 66. I-66 is in Northern Virginia (where the scene was filmed). Interstate 64 is the highway that runs from Richmond to Virginia Beach.
The Ark is supposedly in Missouri, which is heavily forested and quite green. The hills around the ark are brown and covered in sage and rabbit brush - clearly in Southern California.

Factual errors 

In the interior shots of the spacecraft, there is a huge amount of space - it is unlikely a spacecraft would be built with that amount of open space, as it needs to supposedly carry food and water for 10 months. The spacecraft also has a lot of steel girders in its construction - far too heavy to be used.
A comet traveling 40 miles per second would take less than two seconds from the time it enters the atmosphere until it impacts Earth. In the film, the comet takes many seconds to travel above the jammed Interstate, at the apparent speed of an ailing B17. (David Levy in his book 'Comets', quoted in The New York Times: "By the time (Halley's Comet) passes the Earth, it is sprinting along at close to forty miles per second.")
The comets' tails are shown behind the heads of the comets as they moves away from the sun toward the Earth (as if they were trailing behind them like a wake). In fact, a comet's tail always points away from the sun and they should have been pointing directly at the Earth.
The professional astronomer is shown calculating the earth-crossing trajectory of the comet based on a single observation. This is no more possible than computing the flight of a home run based on a single snapshot.
The comet is depicted as nearly white when in reality comets are among the darkest objects in the Solar System, normally reflecting about 3% of the light that hits them (in comparison, Earth reflects about 39%). The movie producers were aware of this fact, but special effects technology of the time made it extremely difficult to depict a black object against black space.
At the star party where Leo first sees the comet, he and Sarah use a white-light flashlight to consult their charts. Red-filtered lights should have been used instead, to avoid wiping out the eyes' dark-adaptation.
When the President is addressing 'The Nation' on live TV from The White House, he steps away from the lectern and its 2 microphones, to illustrate the course of the comet on a TV monitor away to his left. At this distance, and without a lapel microphone (radio or wired), his voice would not have been picked up by the lectern microphones and would have faded away to a muted level.
Close to the end of the movie, Leo is watching cable network MSNBC at the back of a truck with about a dozen farm hands on a portable TV that only picks up signals over the air.
When the comets are seen just before the Biederman's arrive at the "cave," it is clearly daytime, as it should have been considering this comet had already made its loop around the sun (the sun would have been behind them). Two scenes later, Leo is riding in the back of the truck, listening to the radio talking about the launch of the Titan missiles. The camera pans up and you can see both comets in the night sky. It would be impossible for them, or any object coming towards the Earth from the direction of the sun, to be visible in the night sky
The activity on the surface of the comet raises almost instantaneously at local sunrise. This activity should increase gradually.
It takes approximately 130 days to reach Mars from Earth and it takes 20 minutes to get video transmission once on Mars back to Earth. Now in the movie the Messiah traveled 5 months aproximately 150 days away from Earth towards the comet and then it only takes a mere 20 seconds for their video transmission to reach Earth.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Jenny Lerner is reading out the National Lottery 'rules' she states that no-one over 50 years old will be entering the ark, but when the Beiderman family arrive there are people in the crowd who are clearly over 50 years old. That's probably because selected artists and intellectuals would enter the ark too, as Jenny Lerner also stated.
There should be no sunrise or sunset on the comet. The comet should have been either illuminated by the sun or not. If the comet were in the earth's shadow, the rotation of Earth below would have no effect upon the light reaching the comet. If the darkness of the comet were caused by the moon's shadow, there would be no periodic sunrise and sunset. In the film, the astronaut describes how the comet has a 14 hour rotational cycle. That means, the comet rotates just like the earth does. But instead of rotating every 24 hours, the comet rotates on its axis every 14.
When they are starting to let the moles drill into the comet, the Astronauts ask Spurgin Tanner how much time is left until the sun bridges the horizon and cooks them, to which he replies, "It's getting tight...1:36:30" A moment later they show the display in the ship which shows in the bottom corner "SUNRISE CLOCK 00:44:10" for a couple of seconds. Then a moment later it shows a zoomed in image of the corner of the display that shows "SUNRISE CLOCK 01:36:00" and is counting down. I watched both the DVD and Blu-ray versions and neither contained "Sunrise Clock 00:44:10". I even changed the aspect ratio to no avail.
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Plot holes 

Dr. Wolf can't connect to the server to warn about the comet, so he loads the information onto a floppy disc and races off to his accidental doom. He could have made a telephone call, or even waited for the connection to be restored, as the impact wouldn't be for another two years.
The President announces the wave reached the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, yet Leo and Sarah manage to avoid it by racing to the top of a hill just over 6 miles from Virginia Beach.
The Messiah's trajectory was not realistically (or intelligently) chosen. They could have easily flown up beside, or even to the front of, the comet's head, rather than insisting on landing on the night side (and flying upstream into a cloud of rocks).
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Revealing mistakes 

The strong wind that ripples Jenny Lerner's hair and clothes leaves nearby bushes unaffected.
Professor Wolf's jeep blows up before it impacts anything of significance, and what is more, the explosion comes from inside the passenger compartment and not the gas tank rupturing.
After a press conference, a copy of Newsweek magazine is shown with a glossy, shiny cover. Newsweek's cover is never glossy.
The top front of the astronauts' helmets contain two household 12 volt MR-16 halogen lamps. These are neither efficient enough for use in a space suit nor rugged enough for use in extreme conditions.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The cheering-crowd sounds in the final shot do not match the visual of the crowd, which is standing still and impassive.
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Continuity 

After the Biederman portion of the comet hits, there is a shot of the larger Wolf comet as it approaches the earth. The earth is seen with North and South America visible, and clouds throughout the atmosphere. The devastation of the clouds and even the "shifted" East Coast shore from the Biederman impact should be seen, but is not.

Continuity 

After Jenny makes her way out of the studio and collects her mothers jewelry she can be seen sitting on a street bench in the pouring rain. The camera (using a passing car to obstruct view) switches from two different angles of her sitting, and a car driving away from her appears that the viewers would have seen pass her in the previous camera angle.
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Errors in geography 

The impact off Cape Hatteras forms a tsunami that we are told washes inland as far as the Ohio River valley. Given what we are told about its height, it actually could reach no farther than the Appalachian Mountains. If any part of the tsunami reached the land north or south of the mountains, either by a direct route across land or by diffraction around the end of Florida and then moving north, it would be too attenuated by this to continue as far as the Ohio River.

Errors in geography 

The direction of the wave varies in several shots during the New York destruction sequence. Examples:
  • When the wave hits the Statue of Liberty it is observed coming from behind it, which in reality would have been coming from the Jersey City side. The problem is that that the wave would be coming from a northwesterly direction as it is shown. The wave was really supposed to be coming from the southeast. So the wave should have hit the front of the statue instead of the back.
  • When the wave reaches Washington Square Park. (The Washington Square arch is actually on the uptown side of the park, while the wave should be coming from farther downtown. But it makes for a nicer shot that way.)
  • In the overhead shot of the Chrysler Building the wave is shown impacting it directly from the east whereas it should have been coming from a more southernly direction.
  • The head of the Statue of Liberty and the debris is shown advancing underwater by the current in a southeasterly direction on Wall Street even though the wave came from that direction.

Errors in geography 

If the comet had hit the Atlantic Seaboard,then surely the wave would have swelled into the Gulf of Mexico. This would have caused Houston (where all the families were saying their goodbyes) to be inundated as well.

Factual errors 

It would not be possible for the helicopter to take a full load of people to higher ground and then to the Ark from Washington, D.C. without stopping for fuel.

Factual errors 

We are told that Wolf was blown "into a million pieces" and that the fragments entering the atmosphere "lit up the sky for over an hour". The effect of that much mass entering the atmosphere would have been far from harmless. While they may have been smaller, they would not be traveling any slower when they entered the atmosphere. Any pieces big enough to get any distance would create an ionization trail resulting in a 20,000-degree jet of flame shooting up the piece's trajectory. Most damaging, however, would have been heating caused by atmospheric friction as all those pieces descended into the atmosphere. This would have generated millions of kilowatts and heated thousands of cubic miles of the upper atmosphere to at least the temperature of a pizza oven, cooking any exposed ground below it.

Factual errors 

When the comet is shown roaring over the crowd's heads, its trajectory is roughly parallel to the Earth's surface. This "grazing" would produce far less damage than a square impact because the kinetic energy would be released over a larger area and a longer period of time. So the filmmakers "cheat" and show the comet diving more steeply when it strikes the Earth.

Factual errors 

When the tsunami is overtaking the World Trade Center towers, the camera pans down to the street, and 7WTC (3rd skyscraper to collapse on 9/11) should be seen as it stood directly in front of the towers based on this shot, but 7WTC is not there.

Factual errors 

Houston would be under water after the tsunami hit.

Factual errors 

Messiah leaves Earth orbit in the wrong direction. All NASA space launches ascend toward the east in order to take advantage of the Earth's 1000 mph rotation speed toward the east. Spacecraft therefore orbit the Earth in a generally west-to-east direction. But the land visible as Messiah leaves Earth orbit appears to be Queen Charlotte Sound on Canada's west coast, and its orientation indicates that the ship moved west to leave orbit. This would be in opposition to its orbital direction, and would waste an enormous amount of fuel.

Plot holes 

An object the size of the Messiah (larger than the ISS) being constructed in low earth orbit would reflect sufficient light to be a fast moving object visible to the naked eye. And also like the ISS, could be photographed with some detail using amateur telescopes.

Plot holes 

When the Titan missiles are launched in a last-ditch attempt to destroy the comet, we are told that the comet is 14 hours from impact, and that the Titans will detonate in 20 minutes. Since the comet is moving at 26 miles per second, that puts it over 1 million miles from the Earth, and there is no way that the missiles could reach it in that time.

Plot holes 

The time pressure on the Messiah crew was unrealistic. In a mission of that many months' duration, a few hours would not make a difference. They could easily have waited a mere seven hours for the return of darkness, so as to safely finish placing the last bomb.

Revealing mistakes 

When the Messiah crew are discussing their final action, a sheet of paper rests on top of Tanner's control console in what should be a zero gravity environment.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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