Saturday, July 19, 2014

Deep Impact (1998)

Deep ImpactAlthough "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!

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.

Buy Deep Impact (1998) Now

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.

Read Best Reviews of Deep Impact (1998) Here

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.

Want Deep Impact (1998) Discount?

Of all of the disaster flicks out there, I'd have to rank "Deep Impact" in the top five. Why? Because it makes a good effort at making the viewer feel for the characters involved. So many of these films are driven by their special effects that the story is left behind in the cosmic dust. Why then, did I give it only three stars? For the simple fact that the film does seem to drag along too much for my tastes. Also, the relationship between Elijah Wood and Lelee Sobieskie isn't that believable. I understand why they got married, but I just don't "feel the love" between these two.

Rober Duvall turns in a good performance as the "old guy" sent off to destroy the comet of death with a bunch of hotshot astronauts. There is a comaraderie between all of the astronauts(and the one cosmonaut) that makes you hope that they pull through this ordeal. Back on Earth, Tea' Leoni's character is a dead-on representation of a nosey reporter who lets her imagination turn loose in an attempt to gain glory on the television. The rest of the cast is also very good.

If you're looking for a character-driven end-of-the-world flick, this film is for you. It doesn't have quite the action that a movie like "The Core" has, but it's science is a lot more believable. I recommend for an evening at home. It will pass the time just fine.

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