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on June 5, 2004
Many people tend to compare this movie to armageddon, as they are both about the idea of a celestial body (in this case a comet, in the case of armageddon an asteroid) on a collision course with the earth, and seeing as how they were released in very close proximatey to one another. I think this has a lot to do with some people's lack of love for Deep impact, but the reality is these were two very different movies.
While "Armageddon" was a great movie in it's own rate, it was more of an action-romance movie that was meant to apeal to a braoder audience and satisfy movie-goers' typical demands of a major release. But with Deep Impact a much different aproach was taken, following in the way of the traditional Disaster Movie Genre.
From the beginning we are introduced to one of the main Characters, an upstart reporter investigating your run of the mill political love affair scandal, but stumbles instead upon the biggest story of history, that there is a monstrous comet on a collision course with earth. And so unfold's the American government's plan to send an team of asteronauts to intercept the comet and plant enough nukes on it to deflect it off course. The movie handles the plot from a much more epic, and at the same time much more personal level than armageddon.
The romance angle of the story is provided by the young boy who unwittingly discovered the comet and his girl neighbor. As counter measures fail, and plan B, C and D are called into action the terrible reality that only so many can be saved, and that it has to be decided who lives and dies sets in. A national lottery determines who will get passage to a special fallout shelter-like cave complex that was built in secret to house 1 million people. The rest are left to fend for themselves.
I really found deep impact to be more emotional, though not as romantic as armageddon. Characters will die, babies will be deperated from parents, young people will be asked to carry burdens that they shouldnt have to deal with and cities are destroyed as part of the asteroid hits the atlantic and causes a massive tsunami. Watching all this really had a more realistic and more message-orientated feel to it than Armageddon. I liked that the movie seemed to follow closer to the science and horrow of what a comet impact could cause, and how that affected the characters and our society. This made the movie much more interesting to me in many ways, and much realer as well.
The special effects are well done enough for the time period, and actually the tidal-wave scene where you watch a city massive wall of water inundate the city, hills and forests was quite ae inspiring. This is well done and will make your jaw drop when you see it.
The only problems are some inconsistant acting, and the fact that this movie is a bit slow and might not appeal to some viewers as much as armageddon because it's not an action movie.
All in all this was a great disaster movie and I thought it did a better job than armageddon in many ways of dealing with the actual plot scenario, though I like that movie as well just for different reasons. But if you're looking for a good sci-fi based disaster movie that will touches on many deeper levels than similar movies than this is your best bet. You're better off renting Deep Impact than you are going to the theater to see "The Day After Tomorrow".
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on October 12, 2001
ARMAGEDDON may have gotten most of the glory at the box office, but for me DEEP IMPACT was the better "space-rock" disaster film of 1998. It had more humanity, a sense of awe and fear, a far more realistic plot, and better acting.
The space rock in this case is a seven mile-wide comet on a collision course with our planet. A joint US/Russian team, led by Robert Duvall, is given the unenviable task of drilling nuclear bombs into the comet to either destroy it or send it off course. Their attempt is only partly successful, and creates a new problem--two different pieces on the same course, one a mile and a half, the other five miles. Either one would strike with enough power to create an Extinction Level Event.
Director Mimi Leder, who made her feature film debut with THE PEACEMAKER in 1997 and directed numerous episodes for the TV series "E.R.", keeps the focus on human issues, which makes the final destruction scenes truly awesome. Morgan Freeman makes for one of the better film presidents of recent times, and James Horner's score is extremely well done. Duvall, of course, is as fine in his role as any he has ever done; he is one of those actors that can often be relied upon in virtually anything.
One of the best pure science fiction movies of the last ten years, DEEP IMPACT is more than a standard-issue disaster flick, and it is leaps and bounds ahead of ARMAGEDDON as a movie in general.
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on May 6, 2004
Okay if you have to do a comparison between these two movies which one had the more unbelievable story? A bunch of drunken oil refiners going into space to drill an asteroid to save the world or, actual astranauts going into space to blow one up? Come on people. Overall this movie has most of what is needed to make a great movie. Fanstatic actors (Morgan Freeman is great as the president), great effects of the east coast being destroyed again (what movie doesnt destroy the east coast of the US in one way or another), Great feelings of humanity which is so badly lacking in most disaster flicks. I mean who cares if the world blows up if there are no characters to sympathise with? (Aka Independance day, Armageddon, The Night of the Comet... so many to list here). Dont be so harsh on this movie until you see the rest of the trash that is out there. By comparison, this movie shines and I do highly recommend it.
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on December 16, 2013
Given the obvious similarity to the box-office hit "Armageddon", which was released during the same season, people cannot help but compare the two.

I loved BOTH of them, for different reasons. This one doesn't star Bruce Willis (one of my favorite actors) and it lacks the humor and fast paced thrills of "Armageddon". But given a choice between the two films, "Deep Impact" is the hands-down winner for a spot on my shelf...It is much more believable, and the story has so much more to offer than sending a bunch of misfits into space, to blow up a rock.

"Deep Impact"'s actors (with the exception of Tea Leoni's often unbelievably weak portrayal of a television news reporter) are very good and the special effects are well done and believable. Stories interweave as we follow several people's reactions to impending doom. We witness hope, survival and sacrifice in a portrayal of humanity, love and instincts which are at the very core of our existence. Veteran Morgan Freeman, as the President delivers an outstanding performance, as does Robert Duvall. Maximillian Schnell, and Vanessa Redgrave are excellent as expected. Elijah Wood shines as the central protagonist, while Leelee Sobieski proves worthy of the big screen. My favorite performance though, goes to Denise Crosby, for her unforgettable and deeply moving performance as an ordinary everyday Mother...I am seldom moved to tears by a film...this one still does...repeatedly.

I have worn out my VHS version of this film, as it remains on my favorite movies list, almost fifteen years after seeing it in the theater and buying it when it became available.
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on March 4, 2004
I have both Deep Impact and Armageddon. Deep Impact is far better of the two. Both are about doomsday-rocks heading for the planet Earth. Deep Impact gives us the human-side of the equation in very believeable subplots of families, friends, colleagues, even the US President. It has a top-notch cast of highly famous actors, as well as little- to well-known players. I found it very touching, exciting, scarey, everything. I saw a documentary about "Doomsday Rocks" (true title uncertain). It made many-a-mention of Deep Impact. How it finally gave the politicans a heads-up to finance various programmes to try to prevent rogue asteroids and/or comets from hitting Earth. Armageddon was tokenly acknowledged. This is how powerful such a movie as Deep Impact can make an impression (pun may be included). I found myself laughing, crying, bitting my nails - as it were. Deep Impact hits the heart, mind, and soul. I highly recommend it. The cast consists of Robert Duvall, Morgan Freedman, Tea Leone, Maximillian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, Elijah Wood, LeeLee Sobieski, Denise Crosby, etc.
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on January 27, 2004
The film opens with an astronomer receiving a message about a new star. The astronomer discovers this is a comet heading for earth! A reporter picks up a rumor about a Cabinet Official has resigned because of his involvement with "Ellie". She interviews this official, who is getting ready to depart on a long journey with his family. On her way back she is arrested by the black-suited Secret Police. The President asks he to hold off on her news. After this she discovers that E.L.E. stands for Extinction Level Event. Later the President holds a news conference to announce this threat, and the building of the "Messiah" that will save earth from this oncoming menace.
When the comet hits the water, it will create a tidal wave over one thousand feet high moving faster than the speed of sound. The special effects shows this hitting Manhattan, and elsewhere. The heroic crew of the Messiah survived to make a final attack on the comet. Was their sacrifice altruistic? If they didn't do it, there would be no home to return to. If they did it, they would not return home. Their sacrifice was the lesser evil. The film asks the lifeboat question: who will be saved, and how to decide? The clogged roads suggest the futility of Civil Defense evacuations. Can this be practical in today's world? At least they didn't suggest digging back yard graves as "fallout shelters".
The 1883 book "Ragnarok" by Ignatius Donnelly first suggested that a cataclysm from a passing comet was the source of the common legends of mankind. He explained the meanings behind the words. The heat from a comet vaporized the oceans, the clouds hid the sun, the coldness created glaciers from the condensing vapors. Fallout created The Drift of sand, clay, and gravel. This book will provide a new viewpoint to the old legends. Could a near miss have also affected the orbit of the earth, and caused the end of the Eocene era?
Any comet hitting the world would spread a layer of debris into the air (Krakatoa, "nuclear winter") that would exterminate most of the world's population. Mankind lived hand-to-mouth just until the 19th century; most food had to be grown and consumed locally. Will we ever see such a time again?
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on January 23, 2003
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.
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on August 23, 2002
As apocalyptic disaster movies go this is one of the better ones. It keeps the special effects to a minimum- focussing instead on the various human storylines that run through it. Deep Impact's strong cast includes Tea Leoni, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman, Elijah Wood and Maximilian Schell. The one criticism I would have of this movie is that it's myriad of individual storieslines when taken in conjunction fail to work. Courageously, perhaps, the film's directors have tried to balance incredible cinematic spectacle with personal stories of great emotional import. The only problem is that there are quite simply too many stories. As a result no individual plot line is developed sufficiently in the 117mins running time to garner the viewers sympathy. The film would have benifited greatly from the axeing of at least one of its subplots or possibly just having one narrative thread instead of several. There are inevitably several moments of beauty and pathos yet the sense of tradegy would have been so much greater if only this excellent cast had been given the scope within the film to develop their characters more. As regards the cast Morgan Freeman contributes his customary powerful performance as the US president. Tea Leoni is muted but engaging in what is probably the main role. Her performance tends to stagnate somewhat as the film progresses. Vanessa Redgrave contributes an excellent cameo as Leoni's mother but is only seen briefly. Max Schell lacks charisma and Elijah Wood's undoubted talents are utterly wasted as Leo Biederman. The film is, however, well paced and succeeds in building a great tension in the viewer as it approaches its climax. It raises intersting questions about democracy and the role of the State in the case of such a catastrophe. They are questions, unfortunately, which it does not choose to pursue to any great extent.
Deep Impact is a highly viewable film but in the end too ambitious for its own good. Its ultimate message of hope in the midst of disaster rings true and it contains many stories of courage and sacrifice. In the end though this is a film that sacrifices too much to its over-ambitious excess of plot lines for it to attain the level of true greatness.
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on July 3, 2002
As a kid I like watching movies with special effects and explosions I have watched Twister, Dantes Peak, Volcano, Asteroid and Armageddon and they have all impressed me. When I found out Deep Impact was in Video Stores I decided to rent it. Well I was in for a surprise. This movie was so unrealistic and there were hardly any special effects. When Leo and his girlfriend run away from a 3500 ft Tidal Wave they go on a hill and If a Tidal Wave could level the World Trade Centres which are about 108 stories high (although they no longer stand) I don't think even a hill of that hight would have survived a 3000 ft Tidal Wave . When the President announces that the Comet is going to hit earth I would think most people would be panic striken but they just stay there and moan like old granpa owls and take pictures Oh My!. When the reporter and her father are standing in front of the beach and they watch the Tsunami pull in it lokks like its only 200-300 ft high and when it is almost upon them they say a couple of words and the wave still hasn't washed over them and its traveling at the speed of sound Oh Dear! So if your looking for a movie with good special effects this ISN'T the movie for you.
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"Deep Impact" is the classic example of a movie that had everything going for it, and simply failed to gel. It has many excellent actors, good special effects, and a script that should have been better than it was. In its effort to give a more "human" approach to a worldwide disaster, it doesn't work.
Astronomy schoolboy Leo Bierdman (Elijah Wood) spots an unusual speck in the sky; out of curiosity, he sends the information to a scientist, who meets a needlessly theatrical demise moments after finding out the horrible news. A year or so later, reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) begins snooping out a potential sex scandal: strange calls about a woman called "Ellie" have been circulating from the president's office. She discovers the truth only days before the president (Morgan Freeman) tells the public: It's E.L.E., not "Ellie," and stands for Extinction Level Event. An enormous chunk of rock is hurtling toward Earth, and if it hits, it will destroy all life on the planet.
A spaceship called the Messiah is launched, in an effort to destroy the comet, with a mixed crew of minorities and non-Americans, lead by Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner (Robert Duvall). In case that doesn't work, a series of tunnels are being built in which selected humans, animals, plants and so forth will be sheltered if the comet were to hit. As the potential doomsday draws closer, Jenny tries to make peace with her fragmented family, Leo tries to save the people he cares about most, and the astronauts struggle to avert the diaster.
Handled correctly, this film might have been a triumph of moviemaking. But the director's handling of this is melodramatic, often illogical, unrealistically noble, and chock full of cliches. Among the cliches is an older, more experienced astronaut among younger ones who consider him a dinosaur; the lead character fussing about her father divorcing her mother for a pretty young thing; the teen boy who risks it all for the girl he loves, and so forth. The lack of logic kicks in quite often: Why does Leo see the comet when every conservatory on the planet managed to miss? Why doesn't anyone freak out until scant days before the comet hits? How could a pair of teenagers on a very slow motorcycle outrun a tidal wave? What kind of teens, when faced with impending death, would applaud silly sex jokes?
One of the biggest drawbacks in this movie is Tea Leoni, a sort of Katie Couric on tranquilizers, who expresses all the pain, angst, and turmoil of a breadboard. This woman simply cannot act. Over the course of the movie, Jenny mumbles in a soulless monotone, failing to display a single identifiable emotion, no matter what is going on around her. When Leoni does display some emotion, it resembles rambling drunkenness rather than mild hysteria. Morgan Freeman is excellent as the President of the United States; he manages dignity, poise, outward calm and inward unhappiness, and a sense of being larger than life.
Robert Duvall is similarly convincing as the grizzled veteran astronaut. Elijah Wood is clearly trying hard to make Leo Biederman halfway sympathetic (I'm told that the script was altered substantially after he was signed on). Wood also had to bear, on his narrow then-teenage shoulders, the burden of the worst proposal scene ever committed to celluloid, in which Leo displays both arrogance and insensitivity. LeeLee Sobieski, as Leo's girlfriend/wife Sarah, acts well at the beginning of the movie, but apparently stops trying about halfway through.
The scripting is on and off; sometimes it's dreadful, sometimes it's very good, especially when Leoni is a peripheral presence. Sometimes the camera shooting is a little too cheesy, such as the back-and-forth shots between Leo and Sarah's "young love" wedding, and the lonely primping of Jenny's divorced mom; on the other hand, I thought the scene where Duvall reads to a blind crewmate to be quite touching and sympathetic. The movie also raises some intriguing questions. How would humanity react if we faced extinction? Was it in the best interests of the people to keep it all a secret for a year? Who would be saved, and why? And is the "lottery" to choose the survivors a good idea, or a cold, soulless way of determining who deserves to live?
This movie has some deep flaws, but is worth watching if you have some empty time, or if you are a fan of some of the actors in it.
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