223 of 245 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2004
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Although "Deep Impact" invariably gets compared to "Armageddon", I think it's more appropriate to compare it against all other disaster movies. Viewed in that light, it not only surpasses "Armageddon", but every other film in the genre.
Unlike most disaster epics, "Deep Impact" is character driven. I think this is a direct effect of its having been directed by a woman rather than a man. While the special effects are there and are impressive, what drives this film are the emotions of the excellent ensemble cast. All of them ring true, from the occasional duplicitousness of the government bureaucrats, to the real tear jerking moments of those facing tough life and death decisions, to the small intimate moments. It's powerful enough stuff that I have to believe that a lot of the negative reaction the film elicited vis-a-vis "Armageddon" came from guys who don't like their action movies to move them to the verge of tears in public.
All disaster films depend on a hook to set them up. In this respect, most fall far short of realism and believability. Of ones that come immediately to mind, only the cosmic collision movies and "The Towering Inferno" had realistic setups.
All disaster films depend on the heros to come up with some way to save the day. Of the ones with a believable setup, many still fall short of believable and/or technically accurate resolutions. This is where "Armageddon" failed miserably. Mimi Leder had expert advice from NASA and it shows. "Armageddon" has some impressive training facilities shots from NASA, but ignored the actual technology. Very early in "Armageddon", when I saw the two shuttles docking with the space station by coming in from opposite directions, performing clearly aerodynamic banking maneuvers, I was ready to start pelting the screen with rotten tomatoes!
Giving the devil his due, both films glossed over the full impact of operations in the microgravity environment of the comet's surface.
Still, it's the raw emotions that elevate "Deep Impact" above its genre, not just the technical stuff. It's actually best in its quiet moments. Among the ones that clearly stand out:
The president (Morgan Freeman) tries to continue to maintain an upbeat message as each plan successively fails. His press conferences and the dialog around them rings true.
The dialog between the reporter (the usually annoying Tea Leoni) and her mother (Vanessa Redgrave) also rings with truth.
The ultimate reconciliation between the reporter and her father (Maximilian Schell) just before the end reflects the bitterness of choices each has made in getting to that point.
The reunion of the kid who helped discover the comet (Elijah Wood) and his girlfriend (Leelee Sobieski), oblivious for the moment to what was going on around them - again, this simply rings true.
The astronaut observing wryly, "Well, the good news is that we'll all have high schools named after us." No melodramatics, no macho heroism, just someone injecting a sense of humor into a shared fate she has accepted as necessary to save the people they love. My favorite line in the film.
From start to finish, this film is a class act. A realistic film that carries an emotional impact to be expected of its serious subject matter. Part of this impact is that you can't always guess in advance which characters will and will not survive. Of the ones who don't survive, not all face their fate gracefully, but all are believable.
This movie began my fandom of Mimi Leder, who I consider to be one of the best directors working today - not always commercial, but always excellent. This is on my short list of my top ten favorite movies of all time. Highly recommended!
82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2000
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Of all of the disaster epics I have seen in my life, Deep Impact was the most moving and original. I cried my eyes out, even when the sentimentality was over-the-top, as with the kid/romance subplot. I thought the emotional rendering of a core group of people you come to know as the world is about to end was wonderfully done, and so movingly told. Tea Leoni got a short shrift; her TV anchor was appropriately confounded, disturbed and knocked out by the juxtaposition of her own success/ambition coming about via the worst single disaster known to man. The astronaut sequences were well-done, and featured a small ensemble of strong acting, lead by the reliable Robert Duvall. It was refreshing to see Morgan Freeman as a President you wish was your own. James Horner's music moves the multi-layered plot with deep emotion and color. Though the movie surely delivers knockout special effects in its final reel, this movie is no Armageddon; expect a deep resonant response, one of the heart. It makes sense that this movie was directed by Mimi Leder; it has a woman's touch, which for me brought it a sensitivity and compelling beauty. There are so many moving moments in the final 20 minutes it will be difficult to remain calm, and dry-eyed.
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2002
First things first. If you want action, don't see this movie. Go rent Armageddon with it's static characters and predictable plot.
To tell the truth this is the most moving disastor movie I've ever seen. It seems every charachter gives a powerhouse performance. This was a relief after watching the charachters in Armageddon make jokes just when Earth was supposed to be destroyed. The cast includes the ever-great Morgan Freeman, superb Robert Duvall, newcomer Tea Leoni, and screen favorite Vanessa Redgrave. A lot of movies try too crowd too many good actors into a story line, with awful results. Somehow this one works. All the characters are believable. And you care about them. Morgan Freeman is painful to watch at times, he performs so well.
People die in this movie. But you feel though through their sacrifice, hope will prevail. It different from Armaggedon. I felt that they killed charachters off in that movie to either keep the plot going, or because they had already served their purpose. Deep Impact is more realistic though, I gurantee that by the time it's over, there won't be a dry eye in the house.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2004
I think that the blame should go on the advertising campaign that preceded the release of this film. Paramount tried to play it off as another "Armageddon", and so people looking for mindless, testosterone-laden entertainment were completely put off by the profound, philosophical nature of Deep Impact's story line. The title of the film itself seems to indicate that the film is a deep emotional analysis of how people react when they know they are about to die, as opposed to a film about blowing up a chunk of ice hurtling towards the Earth. Granted, there are liberties taken in the scientific accuracy department, but that doesn't detract from the story unless you are really uptight about such things. If you go to every movie hoping they will be completely scientifically accurate, then you will be disappointed all the time.
So, when you watch this film, don't look at it as being a high-adrenaline action film - look at it as a film about sacrifice, making peace before one dies, and the triumph of the human spirit.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
A few years ago, two movies were made that dealt with asteroids hitting the earth. One was "Armageddon", the other was this fine film, "Deep Impact". This movie stars Tea Leoni as Jenny Lerner, a reporter for CNBC who discovers news about an "E.L.E", Extinction Level Event. Apparently, a comet "the size of Mt. Everest", according to the film, is on a collision course with earth. Under orders from the President, played superbly by veteran actor Morgan Freeman, construction on a space vehicle has started. Built by the United States and Russia, the "Messiah" will deliver eight nuclear warheads, place them inside the rogue comet, and blow it off course. The Messiah is commanded by astronaut Spurgeon Tanner (Robert Duvall).
The comet has a rotation period of fourteen hours, and the crew of Messiah can only work during darkness due to the escaping compressed vapors and extremely high temperatures when the comet is in daylight.
After detonation of the warheads, the comet splits into two pieces, and both are still on a collision course with earth. Meanwhile, people are hoarded to Missouri's limestone hills to live underground until its safe to start over. The people have been randomly selected by a computer.
A plan is devised to fire missiles at the comet to see if they can alter its course, but this ultimately fails as well. Finally, the crew of Messiah decides to crash their ship and four remaining nukes into the large section of the comet, as its too late to stop the smaller piece from hitting the earth.
The special effects in this movie are awesome, especially the entry of the smaller comet into the atmosphere and the ensuing tidal wave that envelops New York City. Maximillian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, and Elijah Wood do excellent jobs in their roles as well.
I feel this movie had a more "human" side to it than "Armageddon". I enjoyed both movies, but Armageddon seemed to be a little more "on the edge" than Deep Impact. In this movie, you could really relate to the characters and the urgency and utter hopelessness of their situation. I didn't get that feeling with Armageddon.
Both of these movies are good in their own right. I recommend both, but Deep Impact focuses on the plight of the characters more. I think action movie fans would enjoy them, but perhaps for different reasons.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2000
Most people who want to see a movie like this are probably interested in the special effects. However allow yourself to get involved with the characters of this film, which are far more developed and real than all those macho men and their busty girlfriends in Armageddon. If you do this, the spectacle of the outstanding effects will make the movie that much more moving. Deep Impact also deals far better with the human emotions involved if such and event were indeed inevitable. When the big rock finally hits the earth, special effects wizards really show off here. The outcome is spectacular, and quite frankly, nothing less than terrifying.
Don't waste your time with that other meteor movie. Deep Impact is a much better film--anyway you look at it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Interesting that so many would call this a shallow movie. Based on a concept of Near Earth Objects, Deep Impact has a potential deep impact on the viewer.
There are a few interesting vignettes when it comes to relationships being effected by this rather large comet headed toward impact with earth. From the start with Beiderman, played by one of our heroes, Elijah Wood, responsible for discovering the Comet and Martin Smith (American Grafitti and the Untouchables) playing Wolf. The Comet is named Wolf-Beiderman after these two, Wolf dies and you wonder how long it would be before the comet is really discovered.
However, Tea Leoni, playing newscaster want-to-be/reporter, discovers a cover-up that leads to an interesting intrigue with President Tom Beck, played by Morgan Freeman.
The movie develops quickly after that and the plot is very interesting. You need to look at the relationships of Robert Duvall and his crew, Leoni, her family and friends, Wood and his loved ones. This is a key to the success of the movie.
The concept of the Comet is really the come-on to get people to really get into the characters. There are some interesting scenes with Earth being impacted and the final scene is very convincing. However, the most important part of the movie was the relationships, as life seemed to come to an ebb for most of the population of earth, what will people be like? Would there be sacrifice or selfishness.
Duvall plays a very interesting part. As an older pilot/astronaut, he leads a group of young brash space crew who grow up quickly on their mission.
The movie is exciting and engaging. The DVD extras add to the movie experience as well.
This DVD is worth having in your DVD library and worth a watch every now and then.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
After recently re-watching Deep Impact, I've come to the conclusion that it is a very overlooked filmed in terms of disaster movies. Given that it came out within twelve months of Michael Bay's Armageddon [Blu-ray], audiences chose to spend their dollars on Bay's bigger budget and fancier special effects. There has been a disturbing trend in disaster movies over the last decade, with each spending less time focusing on plot and realism and more on outdoing anything that has come before it. For proof of this, look no further than 2012 (Single Disc Version) [Blu-ray] or The Day After Tomorrow [Blu-ray]. Explosions and incredible scenes of destruction are to be expected with a film of this genre, but Deep Impact shows that it's still possible to include this without venturing too far out of the realm of possible and going simply for shock factor.
The film revolves around a teenage Leo Biederman (Elijah Wood) who discovers an anomaly in the night sky which ultimately turns out to be a seven mile wide comet. Biederman's discovery, which would be exciting enough to any amateur astronomer, becomes even more relevant when it is discovered that his comet is on a collision course with Earth. At this size, an impact anywhere on the planet would be enough to mirror the K-T Extinction and possibly cause the end of most life on the planet. The story focuses on the President's response to the comet, reporter Jenny Lerner's (Téa Leoni) scoop of the story and professional rise, the NASA team tasked with attempting to deflect its path, and Leo's relationship with his girlfriend (LeeLee Sobieski). While none of these stories really stand out and are all very weakly delivered (especially the relationship between Jenny and her father), they all play second billing to the real star - the Wolf-Biederman comet. The best thing about Deep Impact is the developing suspense of the comet's impact and attempts to stop it. With only some minor exceptions, I had very little difficulty believing everything in Deep Impact. No suspension of disbelief required (in stark contract to Armageddon). There are a few cringe-worthy moments, such as a couple waiting patiently for a tsunami to overtake them, as well as much of Leoni's acting, however for the most part, Deep Impact is a very plausible look at what an extinction-level scenario could be. The image of the comets in space and entering earth's atmosphere are amazing and even more so when these 14-year old effects are viewed against much of the images being put out in Hollywood today.
Although I do think the film could have been improved with some slight casting changes, eliminating the "I hate my father" story, and a more hardened look at what humans would do in the actuality of such a situation (ala more looting, violence, and self-preservation), I still think Deep Impact holds up over a decade later as one of the best disaster movies in the genre and a great popcorn flick.
ABOUT THE BLU-RAY RELEASE:
The blu-ray release has a decent 2.39:1 aspect ratio with acceptable video quality, although the colors don't "pop" as much as I would like and it could use a little more cleaning up. But overall, perfectly acceptable for a movie of this age and I was impressed with the clarity. The audio does a much better job, with a Dolby TrueHD audio codec that sounds great on my 5.1 system. The audio is well-adjusted and I never had to race for the volume button on my remote. It only contains a few featurettes which weren't very exciting and didn't add much to the release. I really would have liked to have seen some interviews with astrophysicists about the likelihood of an actual extinction level event or comet hitting Earth, as this is what everyone is going to be wondering after seeing this film. While the Blu_Ray release is fairly decent, it definitely could have used a 4 minute interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2009
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I have recently purchased the Blu-Ray version of Deep Impact and i just have to say that the transfer to Blu-Ray is very very good. Great! The picture is crystal clear and the special effects are even better. I had the dvd and decided to purchase it on Blu-Ray because its one of my favorite movies of all time. If you have not bought this movie on Blu-Ray or have thoughts about it regardless its quality, BUY IT! you will not regret it! This is what you call a Great transfer to Blu-Ray.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is inevitably compared with "Armageddon." In my opinion, the comparison ends with the subject matter and the strategies for destroying the comet. "Armageddon" is a Bruce Willis movie, and Bruce--whom I enjoy-- puts up a great fight with the big space object. It's entertaining, it's fun to watch, but it's not very different from a lot of John Wayne movies in its essential story line. "Deep Impact," on the other hand, deals with the emotional, social, and political effects of impending disaster. The portrayals of all the characters were thoughtful and finely wrought. (What a treat to see Vanessa Redgrave and Maximillian Schell in this movie!)
Tia Leoni plays a character who may seem "wooden"-- I know from many years of experience working with people that her reaction is totally believable, that many people shut down when faced with overwhelming panic. I also found her parents, and her relationship with them, to be very skillfully portrayed. As for Morgan Freeman, I'd vote for him anytime. This movie has quickly made its way into my list of all-time favorites (my husband and two teenagers agree with me on this one). It makes me think of "Testament" with Jane Alexander, which lacked spectacular special effects but resonated with human truth. The difference is that I can't bring myself to watch "Testament" again, but I can see myself watching "Deep Impact" again, and sharing it with friends.
By the way, "Deep Impact" has a very cool website with links to articles in astronomy journals that gave me new respect for all those big space objects out there.